There are hundreds of interdisciplinary and discipline-specific repositories that accept data. Researchers unsure of the best repository for their data should consult one of the directories below.
Researchers may preserve and share their data by depositing some or all of it in a data repository. In addition to making data available to other researchers, utilizing a data repository allows the researcher to rely on the data management expertise of those who maintain the repository.
When selecting a repository, researchers should ask themselves:
Data that is made public should not contain any information that can identify participants. Funding agencies and institutional review boards often have strict policies about safeguarding the personal information of study participants.
For a discussion of privacy and confidentiality issues, visit the ICPSR's Confidentiality page.
Many scholars are reluctant to share their data. Some want to ensure that they can benefit from their research before making their data available to other researchers. Other scholars want to limit who can use their data and for what purpose.
Data embargoes are policies that allow researchers to submit their data to repositories but not release it for public use until a later date.
Restricted access policies limit who can access and use data based on factors such as the user's institutional affiliation or the intent of the use of the data (scholarly as opposed to commercial). A restricted access policy may also be necessary if some human subject data cannot be anonymized or if a non-disclosure agreement with funders or other interested parties is in place.
Copyright is a bundle of rights regarding the use, reproduction, and public performance of materials.
Just about everything is copyrighted as soon as it is in fixed form, including images, videos, photographs, and audiorecordings.
An exception in the copyright law relates to data. Uninterpreted data is not copyright protected. However, expression of the data in a chart, table, or other form, is copyright protected.
The intellectual property issues surrounding data include much more than copyright. Nancy Sims, Copyright Lawyer and Librarian at the University of Minnesota, made "Making Decisions About Your Research," a brief video where she discusses legal ownership, legal and other formal agreements, and personal relationships that affect scholars' rights regarding their data.