Publishing research data

Data collected as part of your research may have applications beyond your current project, and publishing that data can help increase the impact of your work. It can also improve the reliability of your research, as others can verify your findings, possibly leading to higher citations. 

Understand the policy

Many major journal publishers and funders now require that you share your research data when you publish your research. You may also be asked to share your data to reviewers as part of the peer review process.

Publishing data ethically

Publishing or sharing research data must be done ethically, especially where the research has involved human participants, has the potential to cause harm, or contains culturally sensitive information. A good rule of thumb when publishing such data is to make it as “open as possible and as closed as necessary”.

You must consider your ethical obligations when:

  • creating highly protected data
  • dealing with potentially harmful data
  • sourcing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural data
  • sourcing data from a third-party
  • producing a large or complex dataset.

There may be some cases where you will be unable to share your research data. In these instances, consider making the record of the dataset publicly discoverable and provide context as to why the dataset itself cannot be accessed. Alternatively, you can share your data through mediated access.

If you have questions about managing your researd data, contact the research data consulting team.

Data with Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)

If your research contains Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP), you have extra considerations when publishing your data. Work with your research participants to determine if sharing data more broadly is beneficial or if this data should be limited to participants or the community you are working with. 

When working with Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property, or any data relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, you should consider using the CARE Principles. CARE is a framework that builds on the FAIR data principles and is people and purpose-oriented, reflecting the crucial role of data in advancing Indigenous innovation and self-determination.  

FAIR data publishing

FAIR refers to making your data:

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable 
  • Reusable 

When your research data is FAIR, it is more likely to be reused and cited.

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) have a helpful page on FAIR data and have developed a self-assessment tool to evaluate if your data is FAIR.

Find the right repository for your data

When publishing your data, it is best to pick a repository that specialises in your area of research. If one isn’t available, then consider depositing your data in the Sydney eScholarship repository or a general-purpose repository like Figshare or Zenodo. 

Your journal publisher or funder may also have recommendations on where to archive your data. For example, the scientific journal Nature provides data repository guidance.

Some journals or funders may mandate specific repositories. Check the policies of your journal publisher and funder to understand your obligations.

Criteria for selecting a data repository:


Check if the repository is reputable by consulting a registry or database, such as re3data,  Research Data Australia, or FAIRSharing. You can also check if your selected repository is endorsed by your publisher, funder or professional societies or groups, such as the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).


Check whether the repository is supported by an institution, community, or funder committed to the long-term storage, and accessibility of your research. Information about a repository’s preservation and contingency plans should be displayed on their website. If not, you should ask to see their plans before depositing.  

Policies and specifications

Repositories generally have a preferred format and a limit on how much data can be uploaded. In the case of discipline-specific repositories, the nature of your data is also relevant. Make sure to check the submissions policy for your selected repository before you make a submission.   

Fees and other charges

Some repositories may charge you a fee to deposit your research data. For example, Dryad charges a data submission fee and an additional fee for large datasets. 

Check the repository website for submission fees to ensure you have factored in these costs to your research budget.  

Restricted or mediated data access

If there are concerns that releasing your data openly could cause harm or have negative consequences, then you should apply restrictions on how people can access your data.

Some repositories allow you to restrict access to your data, either with an embargo or ongoing restricted access (where users contact your or your project lead to access data). It is important to check with the repository if they offer this service and how it functions.  

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Get a DOI for your dataset to make it more findable and citable and to help you track where it has been used or discussed.

DOIs for research datasets are normally created by the repository holding your research data.  If you’re considering publishing your data in the University’s institutional repository, check out the Sydney eScholarship repository guidelines to find out the criteria for getting a DOI for your dataset.

Publishing your data in the Sydney eScholarship repository

Sydney eScholarship repository is the University of Sydney’s institutional repository. You can archive your research data and other research outputs in the repository if they are less than 5GB and can be made openly available.