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How to publish data

In this section:

  1. Data repositories and centres
    1. What to consider when choosing a repository
    2. Discipline specific repositories
    3. Data centres
    4. Institutional repositories
    5. General-purpose data repositories
  2. Data Journals

Data repositories and centres

What to consider when choosing a repository

Recognised data repositories or data centres are the best route for publishing and preserving your data at the end of the project. They help making your data discoverable, provide a permanent point of reference and provide structured information about your data, which is essential for data sharing and preserving.

If there is a recognised data centre or data repository for your subject or discipline, or a repository is specified by your funder, this should be your first port of call for long-term archiving.

If there is no suitable external repository available, then you should deposit your digital outputs in Pure, the University's research information system, or a general-purpose data repository. In addition, the basic metadata for externally deposited data should also be recorded in Pure.

When choosing a repository, consider:

  • The repository should provide a permanent digital object identifier (DOI) for your data.
  • The repository should allow you to use your ORCID iD. The use of your ORCID iD ensures that your dataset is linked to your scholarly record, is easy to distinguish from those of others with similar names and that information about it can seamlessly be shared with other systems.
  • Its terms should be aligned with your funder's and the University's research data policies for open data.
  • It should comply with any requirements on data archiving mentioned in any collaborative agreements you might have signed with research partners.
  • You should be able to choose appropriate licences, such as CC-BY, for your data.
  • You should know where the data is stored.
  • It should be used by others in your field of work.
  • You can fund any charges that might apply for data deposit.

Remember that data repositories and centres are also suitable for the publication of metadata about outputs where raw data files can only be shared after an embargo period or through controlled access, as well as physical samples that might have been created during a research project. If a significant output from your research has been the generation of a project website, then it is possible to archive the underlying code and data or the whole web experience for future reference. Please contact the RDM team if you would like to discuss these options.

Discipline specific repositories

A growing number of digital repositories are available for varying content types (e.g. articles, data sets, images, etc.) and disciplinary focus. Most of these can be found in one of the following registries:

Other repositories are not funder-specific or have a wider focus (this again may be specified by the funder), for example:

Data Centres

A number of funders specify designated data centres where researchers are required to deposit their funded research data or provide a list of repositories that they regard as suitable for the field of research, for example:

  • BBSRC (Biological and Life Sciences): Sharing via an appropriate, established repository is expected in research areas where such repositories exist. BBSRC is currently developing a number of such repositories as part of the Bioinformatics and Biological Resources fund.
  • ESRC (Social Sciences): ReShare (UK Data Service)

Institutional repositories

The University of St Andrews uses PURE as its institutional data repository and catalogue. You can deposit your research data in Pure and obtain a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) to enable your data to be cited with a persistent reference.

If you have archived your data in a funder- or subject-specific repository, you still need to add a record to Pure with a reference to the archived data (e.g. the DOI) and link this to the appropriate funded project(s) and publication(s) in Pure. The University is required by funders, such as UKRI, to maintain a catalogue of archived research data. In addition, recording your research data in Pure ensures that your dataset will be associated with your research profile.

Instructions on how to deposit data in Pure are available on our PURE pages. Please Contact the RDM team if you would like additional guidance.

General-purpose data repositories

General purpose data repositories accept data from any discipline and present an alternative to our institutional data repository, PURE. They can provide a DOI, allow users to choose an appropriate licence and might offer the possibility of controlling access to the data. Please note that some of these repositories might charge for data deposit. Popular general purpose repositories include:

Data Journals

In addition to sharing and preserving a dataset in a data repository or data centre, the dataset can be described in detail and its uses highlighted by publishing an accompanying article in a designated data journal. This may facilitate reproducibility and re-use, enhance its visibility and increase the number of citations for the associated data and other research articles.

Most major publishers now host designated data journals for specific subject areas and methodologies.

Like journals for the publication of traditional research articles, a suitable data journal may be identified by literature search, identifying data journals hosted by a preferred publisher, search in data repositories as well as by using one of the many journal ranking search engines. These include (amongst others):


Please don't hesitate to contact the RDM team for further information and advice.