Where to share?

The preservation and sharing of research data requires the use of dedicated solutions: Data Repositories. These platforms allow data sets to be stored, shared and archived. They also assign a DOI or a permanent address to the uploaded data, which can then be cited in several publications.

Typology of data repositories

There are 3 main families of data repositories:

Generic or multidisciplinary

Generic data repositories are open to all fields, disciplines and researchers, regardless of their academic affiliation.

The advantage of these platforms is that your datasets can be discovered by researchers from other disciplines and may prove interesting for transdisciplinary projects.

Disciplinary

Disciplinary data repositories, as the name suggests, are devoted to a specific discipline or field of research.

The benefit of this type of platform is that their settings will be adapted to the needs of the discipline and its data. Moreover, the data will be stored within a set of data sets of similar nature. Your data will thus have a better chance of being discovered by other researchers from your field.

Institutional

Institutional data repositories are managed by an institution and reserved to its members. Their main advantage is that they comply with institutional policies and laws.

For example, since spring 2019, the University of Geneva and the higher education institutions have their own institutional data repository: Yareta. Developed within the framework of the national DLCM project and the Geneva bill PL12146, it complies with the FAIR principles and allows open access sharing and correct citation of the dataset thanks to the attribution of a DOI.

A selection of some FAIR repositories

Nom

Type

Facturation

Localisation des serveurs

Yareta

generic and insitutional

free up to 50 GB

in Switzerland (UNIGE)

ZENODO 

generic

free

in Switzerland (CERN)

Dryad 

generic

fees apply

 

FORS

SWISSUBase

social and political sciences

free

in Switzerland (UNIL)

OSF – Open Science Framework

generic

free

in the USA,

possibility to opt for storage in Germany

 

For a more complete list, sorted by repository type, see the list compiled by the FNS.

Find and choose your data repository

The choice of a repository for the preservation of one's research data is always made on a case by case basis. To select a repository, four steps should be considered:

1) Check if your funder or the journal you plan to submit to requires or recommends a particular data repository or any features it should have

In some cases, an institution, funder, or journal may impose guidelines on their beneficiaries to guide their choice of data repository. For example:

It is therefore crucial to find out in advance and to make sure that the chosen repository is aligned with the imposed criteria.

2) Consult your colleagues and follow the habits of your discipline

When it comes to choosing a data repository, the first step is to find out if a solution is commonly used in your field. If this is the case, it is strongly recommended to follow the lead and opt for the most common solution. It is indeed there that your colleagues will have the reflex to go and look for data.

3) Explore re3data

If there is no default choice for your domain, you are free to explore the different repository options available to you. To do so, you can consult the re3data platform, a registry of data repositories. It allows you to search for repositories using a multitude of criteria:

  • name,
  • type of data,
  • discipline or subject
  • country where the servers are located,
  • etc.

re3data has another advantage: each repository registered on the platform is presented in the form of a synthetic identity sheet composed of icons that allow to know at a glance its characteristics. Thus, it is possible to know quickly if it meets the FAIR principles required by the UNIGE or the FNS. Other information and technical characteristics are available under the different tabs of the selected deposit.

4) Ask members of the Library's Research Data Unit for advice

If you are not sure which repository to choose or if you want to validate your choice, you can contact your librarians to receive some advice on the matter.

Criteria to consider when choosing a data repository

Here are some general questions to consider when selecting a data repository:

Is there a preferable type of repository?

Depending on the needs or the nature of the data to be preserved, a disciplinary repository might for example be more appropriate than a generic repository. A financial aspect could also play in favor of an institutional repository where the costs might be more advantageous.

Does the data include personal and/or sensitive data?

If so, the data must legally be kept at all times on Swiss territory, and therefore, in the case of data in digital format, on servers based in Switzerland.

Does the data repository provide unique and persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI) to identify the datasets?

These identifiers help ensure compliance with the FAIR principles. They are also a way to add value to the data and to allow linking an article to the data underlying its conclusions.

Does the data repository allow for licensing of the (datasets)?

Licenses contribute to compliance with the FAIR principles by clearly stipulating how data can be reused.

Does it comply with the FAIR principles?

This information is critical because data from research conducted at the University and/or sponsored by a funder must be preserved and disseminated according to the FAIR principles.

Is it run by a non-commercial organization?

This information is important if the project is funded by the SNSF, as additional funds may be requested for data preparation, validation and upload.