Why and where to publish your data set

Data publishing is public disclosure of the research data you have collected. It is about making your research data retraceable for others for verification purposes and for making them reusable for future research and researchers.

The WUR research data policy requires that all research data underlying a scientific publication must be available for reuse and verification for at least 10 years. If you publish your data in a repository, this requirement is fulfilled. Additionally, many funders and publishers now encourage - and sometimes require -  you to publish the research data on which your research papers are based.

What options do you have to publish your research data?

  • In a data repository supported by WUR Library
    Data sets and related metadata can be deposited in a public data repository. The Data Desk can publish your data set(s) for you at DANS-EASY, 4TU.ResearchData or Zenodo. Though Open Access is encouraged in these repositories, restricted access is also possible.
  • In a data repository supported by a journal
    Many journals have an agreement with a data repository, i.e. Dryad or Figshare, where you can deposit your data during the publication process of your article. Usually only Open Access is possible.
  • On a project website
    This is suitable when you want to publish a database that is still evolving. If you wish to publish a paper about this database, you can publish a version of the database in a data repository. Also remember to deposit the final version of the database in a data repository when the website ceases to exist.
  • On a shared WUR server
    When data should remain closed or when restricted access options follow from the data sharing guidelines you may archive your data on a shared WUR server (W:-drive). Make sure that only people with the appropriate rights can access the shared folder. If you need help, ask the Data Desk.
  • As supplementary information to your research paper Supplementary information files may be uploaded with the manuscript to the publisher's website. Supplementary information may contain tables and figures that are too large to incorporate in the article itself, or extra information on methods or materials. It is not recommended to upload your research data as supplementary information. Small data sets are also welcome in a data. Check whether you aren't transferring copyrights to the publisher when you upload supplementary information files.
  • As a data paper (i.e. a description of your data) in a data journal
    Larger data sets that may be used for another purpose than their original purpose may be suitable for a data paper. A data paper is a peer reviewed article describing openly accessible data sets for future reuse. Most well-known publishers publish a data journal. Wageningen Environmental Research and WUR Library publish a data journal for the agricultural sciences: ODJAR 'Open Data Journal for Agricultural Research'.

Advantages of publishing your data in a repository

Publishing your data in a data repository has several advantages:

  • Your data are kept for the long-term in accessible data formats, (see ‘File Formats’).
  • A data licence is applied, acknowledging data rights (see ‘Data Licences’).
  • A data repository assigns a persistent identifier (e.g. Digital Object Identifier (DOI), accession number) to your data set, ensuring your data can be properly (and separately) cited and linked to your publication(s). See for more information the website from the Digital Curation Centre: How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications.
    Please note that when you upload data to your own server or as supplementary material to your research paper, your data will not easily be citable as an independent object.
  • Your data are promoted to other users.

Sometimes, the nature of your data set doesn't allow Open Access data publishing. The data may be confidential, or there may be privacy issues or funder constraints. If publishing your data Open Access is not ethical or legal, you still have to make your data available on request for verification purposes. You could also consider publishing your data anonymised, in restricted access or allow the data to be found by describing the data set and how it may be accessed.

Most data repositories allow you to place a - temporary - embargo on your data: during the embargo period the description of the data set is published, but the data themselves are not available for reuse by others.