After your project
Once a research project has been finalized, a data storage environment must usually meet more stringent requirements, as data must remain available for the long term and data integrity must be guaranteed. Creation of a data archive must then be considered. Long-term data archiving however does require some planning. The following points should be taken into account:
- How large is my budget for long-term data storage/archiving?
- What conditions do universities and research funders set for data archiving?
- How long do I at least wish to preserve my data?
- How do I ensure that data and/or data formats will still be readable in 10, 15 or 20 years time?
- What criteria do I apply for preserving or deleting data?
- Is there any reason for not publishing data in open access?
- What type of access control will be necessary for data in general, and more specifically for sensitive data (e.g. patient data or data that are to be registered as intellectual property)? Can I make my data available on request only?
- Are there any alternatives for a data archive (personal website, project website or platform) and do these meet funding conditions and TU/e policy?
Many different types of long-term data archives are available – partly subject-specialized, partly general archives covering all scientific disciplines. Listed below are some important data archives and data registers:
- 4TU.Centre for Research Data (formerly 3TU.Datacentrum): 4TU.Centre for Research Data is the Dutch data archive for sharing and safely keeping scientific research data. Researchers may contact 4TU.ResearchData at any stage of their projects for data management advice and support. 4TU.ResearchData was initiated by the three Dutch technological universities (Delft, Eindhoven, Twente) but offers its services to researchers from other institutions as well. 4TU.ResearchData received the Data Seal of Approval in early 2013. This certification and the guidelines belonging to it form a guarantee to researchers that data will remain available for the long term.
- DANS – EASY (Dutch Archiving and Network Services): sets itself the mission to facilitate sustainable access to digital research data and to stimulate sustainable data archiving and reuse. DANS-EASY is a data archive intended for all fields of research but was originally conceived for social sciences and humanities. DANS-EASY and 4TU.Research Data are therefore two thematically complimentary data archives for scholars working in the Netherlands.
- Zenodo: is a European project initiated by OpenAire and CERN, and provides a data repository for research data from all fields. Furthermore, Zenodo is integrated into the reporting infrastructure for research funded by the European Commission via OpenAire. Zenodo may be connected to GitHub, enabling code citation from GitHub. Data may be uploaded to the Zenodo platform from Dropbox.
- Dryad: is an American non-profit organization which provides an international discipline-oriented repository where researchers may offer research data to their peers. Dryad is focused mainly on data from the life sciences. Only data serving as basis for journal articles are accepted. Dryad is used as data repository by various publishers, like the Nature Publishing Group and PLOS. Click here for an overview of the main characteristics of Dryad.
Data repository registers
Data repository registers are useful aids, e.g. when searching for subject-specialized data repositories:
- Re3data.org: possibly the most extensive overview of research data repositories including a handy search engine.
- ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories):: world-wide overview of open access repositories. This register does not only list repositories, but also features a filter for searching repositories by specialization.
- OAD (Open Access Directory): web page with short descriptions of open access data repositories and databases, listed by discipline.
- MERIL (Mapping of the European Research Infrastructure Landscape): extensive overview of European research infrastructure initiatives. Options for searching specific data repositories via Categories in menu, and via filters.
- NARCIS: NARCIS is a national portal offering access to scientific information resources like (open access) publications in repositories of all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and various other scientific institutions, datasets from a number of data archives, outlines of research projects, researchers and research institutions.
As most research data are nowadays available in digital form, data may be shared effectively by upload into data repositories, preferably assigned with a DOI or other persistent identifier in order to ensure traceability and citeability. However, datasets may also be published in data journals. For a brief overview of (better known) data journals go to this website.