Data Sharing & Publishing

Sharing Data

Data sharing has become a mandatory requirement by a number of funding agencies and journals. The benefits of data sharing to individual researchers and the research community are highlighted below.

  • Promotes new discoveries
  • Increases research impact and citation rates
  • Supports validation and replication
  • Enhances collaboration
  • Increases returns from public investment
  • Reduces redundant research

Researchers should consider the legal and ethical issues involved in sharing (e.g. do they have consent to share participant data?). These issues are dealt with extensively under Research Ethics Policies of the University

Researchers should also consider the potential for reusability of their data, as well as whether outsiders will be able to understand the data.

Why Share and Who Benefits?

  • Why Share?
  • Public investment
  • Required by publishers/funders
  • Inform new research
  • Maximize transparency
  • Increase impact
  • Reduce duplication effort
  • Provide credit to researcher.

Who Benefits?

  • Researcher and team
  • Scientific communities
  • Students
  • Public
  • Funding agencies

Ways to Share and When to Share

Ways to Share;

  • Informal
  • Supplemental
  • Repository - for example, the UWC Repositories for Research Data

When to Share?

  • During a project
  • Immediately after a project
  • Given time after a project

Preparing Data for Sharing

Data may need to be formatted, described, cleaned, and de-identified to ensure that other researchers find it useful and understandable and in order to protect, if applicable, the privacy of human subjects.

The UK Data Archive offers guidance on "Preparing data for deposit" that is a good starting point for researchers who are sharing their data with other researchers and who are publishing their data through deposit in a data repository. Researchers should follow any instructions provided by journal publishers and repositories for making data ready for deposit.

What to Share

  • Raw Data
  • Processed data
  • Software/scripts used
  • Documentation

Research Data Alliance

The Research Data Alliance's (RDA) mission is to build the social and technical bridges to enable open sharing and re-use of data.

The RDA vision is for researchers and innovators to openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.

For more information access

How to Share

Researchers can share datasets beyond their own research teams using a number of ways.

  • Depositing data in a disciplinary repository
  • Depositing data on Zenodo- UWC Research Data Repository-
  • Publishing in a data journal - see the Integrated SCM & Project Management Trac List of Data Journals
  • Submitting data with a journal article as a supplemental file or repository that the journal publisher requires/recommends
  • Using a personal or research group website, wiki, blog, or other web-based tool (note that these tools may be effective in the short term but should not be viewed as solutions for long-term sharing and preservation)

Early in a project, researchers should determine whether there are any institutional, funder, or legal restrictions that would prevent or place conditions on the sharing of their data.

See examples of Data Use Agreements (DUA) should you need more information on this possible requirement.


1. Unisa’s Research Data Management guide page was a useful resource in developing this list of options for sharing.