Sharing your Data

Sharing Requirements

Funding Bodies

Research funding bodies may require data to be shared. Of the Tri-Agencies, only the CIHR currently requires certain types of data to be shared:

"CIHR will now require grant recipients to deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database, as already required by most journals, immediately upon publication of research results". The public database/archive requirements are as follows:


Some journals will ask you to share the underlying research data for your article as a condition of publication, and they may specify where they wish this data to be shared. Check in the "instructions for authors" section of a journal's website to determine if there are data sharing requirements or recommendations for a particular title.  


Preparing to Share your Data


Metadata is used to describe data so that other researchers can find it and use it appropriately. There are many metadata standards available for specific research disciplines or types of data. Since the universe of research data is so diverse, it is impossible to create one standard set of metadata that will be relevant to all datasets. Consider if someone were to present you with a dataset you had never seen before, what questions would you have? Instrumentation used, sampling methodologies, geographical or temporal extent are all potential pieces of information that a data repository might wish you to include in the metadata, to help provide context for future generations of researchers. Your chosen repository should be able to assist with determining what metadata to record. With your metadata you will also include any data documentation you have created while you built your dataset.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are inherent in any work created or invented with the intellectual effort of an individual, and can include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. IP can cover the ownership and retention of data.

Find U of T intellectual property information through the Intellectual Property Policies and Procedures.


Publishing Data

Data Repositories

Looking for a place to share your research data?  New repositories are popping up all the time, and several registries have emerged to track them. See for extensive lists of research data repositories.

University of Toronto Libraries offers a data repository known as Dataverse, which is a self-serve repository where you can create an account and share your data. Our Preserving your data page describes some other University of Toronto Libraries resources for the long-term preservation of research data.


Data Papers

Datasets can also be showcased in a journal as a data paper.  A data paper is a short description of a particular dataset, often including sections that detail the context, methods, and reuse potential. This differs from a traditional journal article, as a data paper does not form an argument or draw a conclusion about the interpretation of the data.  Data papers can be peer-reviewed and are included in article search results, meaning your data may be discovered and cited as an additional product of your research. 


Citing Data

Citing data in your publications helps researchers find your data.  Data citation enables reuse and facilitates a recognition of the impact of data.  Most citation styles have a recommended format for citing datasets. In addition, DataCite recommends the following minimum format for data citation:

  • Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier

The DataCite website is a source for more information and examples of data citations.