Publishing research data in a data repository

Published on
November 4, 2022

A data repository is an online and openly accessible infrastructure where you can deposit research data for long-term storage, sharing, and reuse. WUR Library recommends publishing research data in a data repository instead of in your article's Supplementary Information (SI).


There are several reasons why publishing research data in a data repository is strongly encouraged:

  • Finding the data you need: as the search function within SI is often fairly basic, finding the information you need can be difficult.
  • Sufficient documentation: the materials and methods section in the article may not be sufficient to fully understand the data. When research data is published in a repository, it is accompanied by documentation that fully describes the data (e.g. a read-me file).
  • Funder and institute policies: increasingly more research funders (e.g. NWO) and research institutes (e.g. WUR) require it.
  • Publisher guidelines and requirements: some publishers (e.g. Springer Nature, PLOS) strongly encourage data to be published in a repository and several journals in their collection require this. Other publishers no longer accept SI (e.g. F1000).
  • Copyright: often the copyright on articles, including the SI, is transferred to the publisher.

What’s in it for you?

Data deposited in a repository is considered a separate publication. As such, publishing data increases your research output. Additionally, when data is published in a repository, it receives a licence, metadata and the data becomes citable. This increases the data's findability, accessibility, and reusability. This can increase the number of citations and research impact. After data is depostited in a repository, the repository is responsible for its safe storage and accessibility. By licencing the data when depositing in a repository, you decide under what conditions the data may be reused.

Which repository should you choose?

WUR has no guidelines on which repository to use. However, please consider the following points when choosing a repository:

  • Disciplinary vs. multi-disciplinary repositories: where multidisciplinary repositories handle and curate many data types (e.g. 4TU.ResearchData), disciplinary repositories handle and curate specific data types (e.g. NCBI for biomedical and genomic data). They provide specific metadata standards. This improves interoperability and makes the data easier to find. If your data fits a disciplinary repository, this repository should be your first choice.
  • WUR supported data repositories: WUR Library supports the certified repositories DANS-EASY, 4TU.ResearchData and Zenodo. If you use these repositories WUR data librarians can support you. For more detailed information on this support, click here).
  • A data repository supported by a journal: many journals have an agreement with a data repository where you can deposit data during your article's publication process. Using that repository might be convenient, but it is not obligatory.

Registration in Pure (Research@WUR)

Remember that you have to register the data in Pure by sending the data's persistent identifier and accompanying publication(s) to the Data Desk. If you have not published, but archived the research data within WUR storage solutions, register that data by sending the storage location path and accompanying (journal or report) publications to the Data Desk. This registration makes the references - not the actual data - to your publication findable in Pure and in Research@WUR and follows the WUR data policy.


Do you want to publish data in a WUR supported repository or do you have questions about data repositories? Please contact the Data Desk or find more detailed information on the Research data management portal.