A good route to finding data is via a publication.  When research findings are published in a paper, report or book, underlying data should be cited and a data access/availability statement used to give the location of the data and advice on how it can be accessed.

 

How do I cite my data?

Data deposited in a repository is assigned a persistent and unique identifier such as a digital object identifier (DOI).  This directs the reader to information about the data and any conditions for access.  For more information on depositing data in a repository follow the link below:

Time to deposit your data?

For examples of data access statements scroll down to the end of this page.

 

Do I always have to provide a data access statement?

Some* funders and many scientific journals stipulate that underlying data must be made available at the time of publication unless there are justifiable reasons that prevent this such as legal or ethical restrictions.  A data access statement should record this information in very brief terms.

 

What if I have no data or no data that I can share?

Where there are no data, or data are available subject to access restrictions, this must be described in the data access statement.

 

How do I write a data access statement?

  • You will need to provide the reader with the location of the data.

The easiest way to do this is via a unique identifier which is a clickable link.  Most data are assigned a DOI by the hosting repository.  Following the link will bring the reader to the metadata which describes the data.

  • Where there are restrictions on access describe these briefly.

Further details can be given at the DOI landing page hosted by the repository.  This will outline access conditions, embargo periods, sensitivity of data and so on.  Where data is available as controlled access readers will be required to evidence their credentials as a bonafide researcher before getting access to data.

  • Indicate if there are any licences that apply to the data either applied by you, the creator or a third party.

If you have re-used data this may be subject to existing licences.  Funders and journals may impose licensing restrictions on shared data.  These are likely to be licences that encourage the open sharing of data - such as creative commons.

More information on creative commons.

Consult the guidelines provided by your research funder and journal for details on the citation format to use.

Where there are no underling data you must state clearly that no data was created during the course of the study.

Example data access statements can be found at the following links;

Royal Sociey Proceedings B

Data accessibility statement reads:  'Raw and categorized behavioural data can be found in the Dryad Digital Repository'

PLoS Computational Biology

Data Availability statement reads:  'All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.  In addition, the source code of SAMoS package'

At the landing page for the data the description reads

'Due to ethical concerns, not all supporting data can be made openly available.  A minimal dataset that is comprised of a transcript of a focus group is held in the repository and further information about the restrictions on data access are available from the University of Dundee Institutional Repository - email discovery@dundee.ac.uk

The study protocol is available under a CC-BY licence.'

The University of Bristol have extensive advice on the preparation of data access statements available at their web pages.

Some useful examples adapted for University of Dundee researchers are below;

 

For Open data

'All data created during this research are openly available from the [Name of repository e.g. University of Dundee Institutional Repository, Discovery]

at [give DOI e.g. https://doi.org/10.15132/10000xxx.]'

 

Secondary data

'Data used for this paper will be made available on request to the [details of repository where data was initially accessed].'

Commercially restricted data

'Supporting data will be available from [name of repository] after a [x] month embargo from the data of publication to allow for commercialisation of research.'

Data included within a paper

'No data were created during this study.'

It should be noted for many journals data access or availability statements now appear as a distinct article section that is freely and universally accessible.  Data availability statements are equivalently accessible to other article information elements such as abstracts, full reference lists, supplementary information, and acknowledgements.

*Cancer Research UK
National Institute of Health
Wellcome Trust
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation