The guidelines for good shareable data are simple: make the data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) (1). Data are findable when they are identified through unique identifiers and clearly cited. Data are accessible when they are publicly available, for example, in a repository. Data are interoperable when they are in actionable, non-proprietary formats, for instance CSV rather than PDF or Excel. Data are reusable when they are properly documented.


  1. Wilkinson, M. D. et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci. Data 3:160018 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.18 (2016).

The best place to share your data depends on your discipline. If there is a national or subject-level repository that you use yourself, that would be your first choice. To determine if such repositories exist, you can also search the registry of repositories re3data. It is also possible that your funding agency or your state has a repository you can you. In the absence of these, there are a number of general subject repositories which can take your data. Below is a table with some choices available to you. Contact us if you need further assistance with selecting the right repository or with data deposit to ensure your data are FAIR.

Repository Subject
National Center for Biotechnology Information Genetics, gene expression, genomics, proteomics, assays
Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Political and social surveys, including public health studies; allows variable-level searches
The Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity Environmental and ecological datasets
Dash/Merritt General subject repository hosted by California Digital Library
Harvard Dataverse Network General subject repository hosted at Harvard
Dryad General subject repository hosting data associated with publications
figshare General subject repository

Repositories can offer two types of preservation–bit-level and long-term preservation for re-use. Bit-level preservation means that the repository will provide access to the file as it was deposited. Long-term preservation for re-use usually includes additional curation, such as assessment of metadata quality when data are deposited and file format migrations so that the data can be accessed by current software and media. Even if the repository you use provides only bit-level curation, you can improve the re-usability of your data by including thorough documentation of methods and analysis along with your data and by using non-proprietary formats for your data files.

In addition, both your data, and you, the author, should have unique identifiers to ensure provenance and also to receive credit. See the section below on identifiers.

We recommend licensing your data under Creative Commons 0 license, to encourage data re-use, and requesting a citation when the dataset is re-used. We recommend using the DataCite format for data citations in publications:

Creator (PublicationYear). Title. Version. Publisher. ResourceType. Identifier


Baldwin, Bruce G. et al. (2017), A subset of Californian vascular plant species recognized by Baldwin et al. (2017), corresponding to to the “large and intermediate-sized genera” studied by Stebbins & Major (1965), v3, Dataset,


UC Davis offers several platforms to meet researchers’ needs to store and share data while working on them. For a full list of tools, refer to the Information and Education Technology website. Note that storage is not preservation.

Tool Purpose
Box for UC Davis Cloud file storage and collaboration
Google Drive for UC Davis Cloud file storage and collaboration
Office365 for UC Davis Cloud file storage and collaboration
Server hosting Campus storage and hosting
GitHub for UC Davis Cloud code versioning platform
REDCap Secure web application for building and managing online databases for research, avaibale through CTSC
Open Science Framework Free open source project management system, integrated with Box, Google Drive and other platforms. Allows file storage
Crashplan for UC Davis Backup service

DOI : To share and preserve your data, you need to be able to refer to your files unambiguously. Choose a repository that will provide your dataset with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which is a link to a permanent URL. A dataset with a doi can be discovered by following the link or through searching DataCite. We can assist you with minting or assigning DOIs for your project outputs.

ORCID : In addition to identifying your data, you would want to identify yourself. An ORCID iD allows you to distinguish yourself from researchers with the same or similar name. In addition, ORCID iDs are now required by a number of funders and publishers. One of the best benefits of of using your ORCID iD is that you can configure your ORCID profile to automatically update when you publish a paper or a dataset.