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Research Data: Sharing and Publishing


Publishing data sets enables data re-use, validation, and attribution. Data sharing is one of the topics covered in Data Management Plans.

Publishing data sets

Published research data can be used to validate the research results, can contribute to new research, and can earn attribution and citations.

High profile data sets that are able to support a large body of research can be published in specific data journals. Peer review will be done on the data level in this case.

Most data sets do not undergo peer review before publications, but are made available via data repositories. They are published to underpin research results presented in peer-reviewed journals, as an increasing number of journals require the availability of data.

Before publishing datasets, do make sure that personal identifiable information is removed and data is properly anonymized (if applicable). Repositories are suitable for long-term preservation and sharing of research results, but not for data management in ongoing projects (please see Storage and Backup). Storing your data in a repository (after your research project is concluded) is also the recommended way to comply with archiving requirements set by funders and in UL's Records Classification and Retention Schedule.

It is recommended that you associate your published data set with your ORCID in the same way as other publications so that it becomes part of your recognised research output (Learn more about ORCID).

The UL Research Community on Zenodo

Zenodo is a multi-disciplinary repository funded by the EU that can be used to publish all sorts of research results. Zenodo accepts data sets as well as publications, presentations, posters, multimedia, software, or educational resources.

Upload on Zenodo is not restricted and any object deposited will get a DOI as a persistent and unique identifier (Learn about identifiers). With the DOI, you and others can cite the data set in a publication. Some journals require the availability of the underlying data before accepting articles for publication. Uploading data on Zenodo would meet this requirement.

The University of Limerick has a research community on Zenodo. If you upload material into Zenodo, please do link to this community (this is an option during upload):


Other repositories for data publication

The Registry of Research Data Repositories is a global registry that can be used to find data repositories. It covers repositories from different academic disciplines and can be browsed by country or by content type. It presents repositories for the permanent storage and access of data sets to researchers, funding bodies, publishers, and scholarly institutions.

Choosing File Formats

The ideal file formats for data publications are:

  • open and non-proprietary,
  • well-documented,
  • widely used and
  • as simple as possible.

If a particular software or specific code is needed to open or understand data this should be explained in the documentation. Links to software and code (for example published on Github) should be provided if they are not widely known. Data can also be published in multiple formats to have for example a version with specific features in a proprietary format alongside an open format for preservation and ease of use in the future.

Recommendations on suitable formats are provided by the Library of Congress

File Formats and Transformation

Data Sharing, Preservation and Licensing