Data Repositories

Sharing your research data via a data repository can support discovery of your data on the web, increase citations and reuse of your data, and help you meet requirements of funding organizations. There are many options available for sharing your data via data repositories.  Learn more about:

Dryad Digital Repository

The NC State University Libraries is an Institutional Member of the Dryad Digital Repository, a platform that makes research data discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. Dryad provides a general-purpose home for a wide diversity of data types. It also integrates with Zenodo, a general use repository hosted at CERN that has been paving the way in software citation and publishing. This means you can deposit your dataset into the Dryad Digital Repository along with associated code, scripts, and software packages, which will be sent directly to Zenodo. Our institutional membership means that you can deposit datasets and associated code, scripts, and software packages in any discipline into Dryad and Zenodo at no cost.

Key features of Dryad:

  • Flexible about data format, while encouraging the use and further development of research community standards.

  • Fits into the manuscript submission workflow of its partner journals, making data submission easy.

  • Assigns Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to data so that researchers can gain professional credit through data citation.

  • Promotes data visibility through usage and download metrics and by allowing content to be indexed, searched and retrieved.

  • Promotes data quality by employing professional curators to ensure the validity of the files and descriptive information.

  • Seamlessly connects software publishing (through its integration with Zenodo) and data curation in ways that are both easy to use and also beneficial to researchers re-using and building on scientific discoveries.

  • Contents are free to download and re-use under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

  • Contents are preserved for the long term to guarantee access to contents indefinitely.

  • Open source, standards-compliant technology.

Please contact us at library_datamanagement@ncsu.edu with any questions about Dryad.

Other general data repositories

Below are some examples of additional data repositories that accept data from all disciplines. Be sure to read the repository FAQs and submission instructions to ensure that it is an appropriate match for your research data, to understand the repository’s long-term preservation strategy, and to learn about data deposit fees.

Disciplinary repositories

While general data repositories can be a great choice, we recommend that researchers explore disciplinary repository options to ensure that they choose a repository that will yield the highest impact for their work. It is important to note that some funders and publishers require the use of certain data repositories. Please see the Funding Agency Guidelines for Public Access page for more information about funder mandates and check with any publishers that you may publish with about their requirements.

Re3Data is a tool that can help you find disciplinary data repositories across hundreds of research areas. This vetted source helps answer questions such as who can deposit data and if there are any specific requirements for depositing data.

Below are some examples of well-known discipline-specific repositories. Be sure to read the repository FAQs and submission instructions to ensure that it is an appropriate match for your research data.

Life Sciences

Physical Sciences

Social Sciences

  • openICPSR and ICPSR (NC State is a member institution)

    • Data deposited to openICPSR is freely available to anyone and therefore meets sharing mandates that journals or funders may require. openICPSR offers a free Self-Deposit Package and a for-fee Professional Curation Package (plans and pricing).

    • ICPSR offers complete data curation. However, data is only freely available to ICPSR members and therefore may not meet certain sharing mandates. 

      • NC State researchers can have their data professionally curated by ICPSR at no charge, but the data will only be available to other ICPSR members.

      • However, if you choose to pay for ICPSR curation (i.e. with grant funding), your data would be available to both member and non-member institutions. Contact ICPSR (icpsr-help@umich.edu) for a curation estimate, which you can use in your grant application.

For additional questions about depositing data with ICPSR, please contact library_datamanagement@ncsu.edu

General code repositories

Simulation software and other types of code are considered research data. Below are some repositories for this data type.

Questions to consider before you commit to any repository:

  • Would your researcher community normally use this repository to find research data?
    • It’s ideal to add your data to a repository that is already used and valued by your research community.  For example, the ICPSR data repository is a well-known data repository for the social sciences. If your research community doesn’t have a designated data repository or if your funder doesn’t specify a data repository for the data derived from your research proposal, then a general data repository may be a good option.
    • When choosing a general data repository, look for one that supports the discovery of your dataset by other researchers. Look to see if the repository is indexed by the Thomson-Reuters Data Citation Index, Scopus, and Google Dataset Search. The Libraries has a membership to Dryad, a general data repository, for the NC State University research community.  Learn more about Dryad here.
  • Can your data be uploaded to a repository in a format useful to others in your discipline (and other disciplines)?
    • We recommend using non-proprietary file formats wherever possible to support future-proofing your data.  Non-proprietary file formats can be opened in multiple applications and are easier to preserve in the long-term. However, it’s also a good idea to share your data in a data repository in a way that conforms to the file formats and disciplinary norms.  Sometimes the best solution is to save data in multiple formats to facilitate broader use.
  • Will you be able to restrict access to your data if needed (e.g., your data has personal identifiers or is proprietary)?
    • If your data is sensitive (e.g., has personal identifiers or is proprietary in nature) or if it needs to be embargoed until a related article is published, you should make sure that the repository you use to share your data has appropriate access restrictions in place.  For example, if you need to embargo data until your related article is published, you can upload your data to a repository such as the Dryad data repository and indicate during the upload process that it needs to be embargoed until a specified date.  If you have sensitive data, you need to check the access policies for the data repository you use for sharing your data; ICPSR, for example, is a data repository where you can impose access restrictions for sensitive data.
  • Can the data be cited and found in a unique and persistent way (e.g., with a data citation and a digital object identifier (DOI)?
    • In order for you to get credit for your data, make sure that the data repository you use to share your data is able to give your data a unique identifier (such as a Digital Object Identifier, or DOI) which is persistent and can always be used to link back to your dataset.  
  • Are preservation actions being taken by the repository to maintain the integrity of your research data (e.g., steps to maintain file integrity, keeping multiple copies, etc.)?
    • Look for repositories that outline how data files will be replicated at multiple server sites and on what schedule. This will ensure that if files on one server site are unavailable or lost, the additional server sites can act as temporary or permanent replacements. Look for a repository that uses file content audit procedures to identify when files have become corrupted and replaces them with uncorrupted copies from another server.
  • How long will your data be retained in the repository? What will occur at the end of that data retention period?
    • Be sure to check the retention policy of the repository to make sure that your data will be retained for the duration you require. Most data repositories will have a guide or a set of policies that describe data retention as well as what happens at the end of the data retention period. Be sure that the data retention period that a repository commits to complies with any specific requirements from your research funder, if applicable. 
  • Does the repository apply a license for others to access and use your data?  If so, do the terms of that license fit your expectations? 
    • Some data repositories apply a default license to all uploaded datasets (e.g., Dryad applies the CC0 licence) whereas other repositories give you an option to choose which license you would like to apply to your datasets.  Be sure to choose a license that complies with any specific requirements from your research funder, if applicable.  Learn more about licenses for data here.
  • What will it cost you to have your data deposited in this repository?
    • Some data repositories have costs associated with them, particularly for large datasets. NC State is a member institution of the repository Dryad, meaning that the normal $120 data publishing charge (DPC) is waived for campus community members.  Others, such as Zenodo, do not have any associated fees. 

Please contact us at library_datamanagement@ncsu.edu for assistance identifying an appropriate repository for your data to aid in sharing, discoverability, and reuse.