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Publish, archive and preserve

Archiving, preservation and publication are important stages of the research data lifecycle. Even though they are closely related, they all mean something different:

Archiving: Long-term storage of the final version of a dataset. The intended length of the term may be defined by policy and legal considerations and/or by the value of the data. A useful resource to inform the decision on what to keep is Whyte, A. & Wilson, A. (2010). "How to Appraise and Select Research Data for Curation". DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online:

Preservation: Ongoing actions to ensure the long-term usability of data. This might include, for example, creating copies of data in more sustainable file formats, backing up data in several locations, recording contextual information to help future users of data and recording licensing information.

The University is one of thirteen UK pilot institutions taking part in the Jisc Research Data Shared Service, a £1m project which seeks to develop a service infrastructure to allow institutions to deposit, curate and preserve research data. Our participation in the project is aimed at implementing a digital preservation process at the University of St Andrews so that we can offer a complete service to our researchers.

Publication (sharing): research data can be made public to allow access by others. This can be achieved through publication in a data journal or sharing via a data repository that will archive the content for the long term and provide a permanent identifier (DOI) for the dataset. Some repositories might have preservation processes in place to ensure that content is accessible as technology advances. Some might also offer different access permissions in order to place restrictions on data access.


Why publish and preserve data

What are the benefits of publishing (sharing) and preserving your data?

How to publish data 

Data can be shared through designated repositories or through data journals. Find out how.


Place a copyright license on data to ensure attribution and control what others can do with your data.

Data citation and access statements

Correctly acknowledge published datasets and point to data underpinning your publication.

Deposit in Pure

Deposit and publish research data with a DOI in Pure alongside your publication or separately.

Discipline specific guidance

Find out about good practice for research data management in your field of research.