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Research Data Management & Sharing: Storing & Sharing Data

This guide provides resources on research data management and sharing.

Why is Storing and Sharing Data Important?

It is important to store your data with security in mind in order to ensure your data can be used in the future, and to guarantee data privacy and confidentiality. Sharing data allows one's data to be findable, reusable, and citable, and is a requirement for some academic journals and funders.

Storing Data at the University of Rochester

  • Research Data Storage by Research Services: This guide explains the different data storage options University of Rochester faculty and staff can choose from. 
  • Data Management Guide by Information Security: This guide explains how to safely and securely store data, with guidance on how to backup files, and how to securely destroy files.
  • Data Security Classification Policy by University IT: The purpose of this policy is to define the classifications of data, introduce some appropriate handling measures, and present the required security controls associated with the data classification to establish consistency across the organization, including the University of Rochester, including but not limited to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Policies and Guidelines at the University of Rochester

  • Guidance on Creating Research Data Management Plans: Created by ORPA, this resource provides guidance on developing research data sharing plans
  • Intellectual Property Policies: Various policies relating to Intellectual Property by the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA).
  • Proposal Development Guidelines: A list of compliance links collected by ORPA, including Federal Regulations and Guidelines, Federal Public Access, NIH Specific Documents, DSF Specific Documents, Policies for Current/Pending Support, Electronic Signature Guidelines Related to NIH Requirements, Clinical Trials, FISMA, Responsible Conduct of Research, Financial Conflict of Interest, and Export Controls.
  • Proposal Development Resources: Resources collected by ORPA to assist with proposal development.

Confidentiality and Ethical Concerns with Sharing Data

It is important for researchers to consider confidentiality requirements before archiving and publishing data. The DMPTool recommends researchers consider: 

  • Evaluate the anonymity of your data. Consider to what extent your data contains direct or indirect identifiers that could be combined with other public information to identify research participants.
  • Obtain a confidentiality review. A benefit of depositing your data with ICPSR is that their staff offers a Disclosure review service to check your data for confidential information.
  • Comply with regulations for health research set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

To ethically share confidential data, you may be able to:

  • Gain informed consent for data sharing (e.g. deposit in a repository or archive)
  • Anonymize the data by removing identifying information. Be aware, however, that any dataset that contains enough information to be useful will always present some risk.
  • Restrict the use of your data. ICPSR provides a sample Restricted Data Use Contract and Restricted-Use Data Management Guidance.

It may be necessary to de-identify your data. This article by Kelsey Finch at the Future of Privacy Forum is a good resource on de-identifying your data. 

Licensing Data

The Open Data Commons, the home of a set of legal tools and licenses to help researchers publish, provide and use open data, has created three standards licenses: 

The Open Data Commons also has a Licenses Service, which has data on more than 100 open source, open data and open content licenses in JSON and API friendly form.


The Creative Commons also has a library of standardized licenses, with some of them pertaining to research data management and sharing. The two related most to research data management and sharing are the following: 

If you are not interested in CC0, you can learn more about other CC licenses by going to Data and CC Licenses

ORCID

ORCID

  • ORCID is a persistent digital identifier which distinguishes you from other researchers. It is the only persistent digital identifier which meets the requirements stipulated in NSPM-33 Guidelines. 
  • Use the River Campus Libraries' Guide on ORCID to ensure you have automatic updates on your scholarship activity. 

Search for Data Repositories

  • Registry of Research Data Repositories (Re3data): Re3data is a global registry of research data repositories that covers research data repositories from different academic disciplines. It includes repositories that enable permanent storage of and access to data sets to researchers, funding bodies, publishers, and scholarly institutions.
  • List of NIH-Approved Repositories: List of subject-specific and generalist repositories the NIH approved as being suitable places to share data.  
  • OpenDOAR: OpenDOAR is the quality-assured, global Directory of Open Access Repositories. They host repositories that provide free, open access to academic outputs and resources
  • Open Access List of Data Repositories: This is a list of open data repositories, separated by subject. These subjects are: Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Energy, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Geosciences and Geospatial Data, Linguistics, Marine Sciences, Medicine, Multidisciplinary Repositories, Physics, and Social Sciences. 
  • FAIRsharing: A curated, informative and educational resource on data and metadata standards, inter-related to databases and data policies. It has a searchable list of data repositories. 
  • DataOne: DataONE is a community driven program providing access to data across multiple member repositories, supporting enhanced search and discovery of Earth and environmental data.

Generalist Repositories

  • FigShare: Repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.
  • Dryad: Dryad is a nonprofit membership organization that is committed to making data available for research and educational reuse now and into the future. Modest Data Publishing Charges helps ensure their sustainability.
  • OSF: OSF is a free and open source project management tool that supports researchers throughout their entire lifecycle.
  • Zenodo: Zenodo is a general-purpose open repository developed under the European OpenAIRE program and operated by CERN. It allows researchers to deposit research papers, data sets, research software, reports, and any other research related digital artefacts.
  • GitHub: GitHub is a development platform where you can host and review code, manage projects, and build software in collaboration with other developers. 
  • Harvard Dataverse: The Harvard Dataverse Repository is a free data repository open to all researchers from any discipline, both inside and outside of the Harvard community, where you can share, archive, cite, access, and explore research data. Each individual Dataverse collection is a customizable collection of datasets (or a virtual repository) for organizing, managing, and showcasing datasets.
  • OpenAIRE: OpenAIRE’s mission is to provide unlimited, barrier free, open access to research outputs financed by public funding in Europe.