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Publish research data

Make your data findable, usable and citable
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Publishing your data is an opportunity to showcase and increase the visibility of your research. Making your data available enables others to reuse or validate your data while giving you credit. The Research Data Management Policy 2014 specifies that all finalised datasets should be made openly available and data publishing is mandated by some funders and publishers. When publishing data, the FAIR principles (data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) should be taken into account to ensure that data is published in a way that is usable to researchers not involved in the initial project.

Publishing your data for impact

These best practices tips below will help you comply with the FAIR principles and ensure that your data can be found, understood, re-used and cited.

  1. Describe your data: Publishing a thorough description of your data along with the dataset means that others will be able to understand and potentially re-use your data. Find out more information here.
  2. Use the best file format: Publish your data in an open or standard file format so that everyone will be able to open your dataset. If you have to publish your data in a file format that needs specific software, include this information as part of the dataset description. Find out more information here.
  3. License your data: A copyright license on your data will mean that your data is attributed to you if it’s re-used and will allow you to put some restrictions on how your data may be re-used, if needed. Find out more information here.
  4. Get a persistent identifier: Persistent identifiers, like a DOIs and ORCiDs, are the easiest way of linking items together, such as linking a dataset to a related publication. They also make citing data easier and increase the availability of citation metrics. Find out more here.
  5. Find the best place to publish: There are many places to publish data. It’s up to you to decide if you want to publish in a discipline specific repository that contains data similar to yours, the University’s institutional repository (Sydney eScholarship), or a general repository such as Figshare. Find the best publishing option for you using the information at the bottom of this page.

Please note that some publishers have specific requirements about how data relating to an article published in their journal is made available. Always check the journal policy to ensure you understand the requirements that apply to you and your data.

Publishing options

Sydney eScholarship repository
  • The Sydney eScholarship repository is the University's open access institutional repository. You should consider using the repository to archive and publish your research outputs if you have openly accessible datasets of less than 1.5GB, or if you wish to make pre or post-print copies of your publications available.

    More information is available on the Sydney eScholarship homepage.

Discipline specific and general repositories
  • Discipline-specific and general repositories are available to publish your data. Publishing in a discipline specific repository enhances the chance of your data being found and re-used by researchers in your field. Discipline-specific data repositories are also a great way for you to find existing datasets to use in your own research. The best way to find a discipline specific repository is to search online repository registries, such as the Open Access Directory (OAD) and the Registry of Research Data Repositories, or by talking to your colleagues, the Research Data team or your Academic Liaison Librarian to see what repositories they are aware of. When a discipline specific repository isn’t available, or if you want to reach a wider audience, you can publish in a general repository like Figshare or Mendeley Data.

Sydney Research Data Registry
  • The Sydney Research Data Registry is an online system for capturing information about research data collections created by researchers at the University of Sydney. The system can publish descriptive information about research data collections to the discovery service, Research Data Australia. To register your research data collection, contact the Research Data team.

Research Data Australia
  • You can improve the visibility of your data via Research Data Australia (RDA). RDA is a catalogue of Australian research data collections. Your data won’t be stored on RDA, but the site will provide a description of your dataset along with other relevant metadata and a link to where the data can be accessed. This makes RDA a good place to advertise your data for others to find and re-use.


Controlling access

When it comes to publishing your data, you have options when choosing the level of access you give to your data:

Open access: research data is open and freely available to be accessed and re-used

Controlled or mediated access: the metadata of your research data is openly available; access to your research data is granted upon request

Restricted access: the metadata of your research data is openly available; no access is given to the research data

Embargoes: a specific date that you can apply to a dataset record to specify when the data can be released as open or mediated access. The embargo date could, for example, make the research data restricted until an associated research paper is published.