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Preserving research data

When you have spent a great deal of time and effort in collecting your research data it is natural for you to want to ensure that is preserved and stored securely for as long as necessary. There are a range of activities associated with data preservation that you will need to undertake to prepare any data for deposit.

Preserving and sharing

Research data is a valuable resource and in many cases can have multiple uses after the end of the original project. Sharing data after a project completes can:

  • encourage further research branching from the original project
  • can lead to new collaborations
  • encourages the transparency and the improvement of research practice
  • can reduce the cost of further data collection
  • can increase your profile as a research output in its own right

Research funders now have requirements on how long research data should be stored after the end of the project and many explicitly require data arising from their funding to be shared openly, where possible.

When not to share

  • Your data has financial value or is the basis for potentially valuable patents that could be exploited by the University, it may be unwise to share it
  • The data contains sensitive, personal information about human subjects, it may violate the Data Protection Act, ethics codes, or your own written consent forms to share it, even with other researchers. However, there might be ways of anonymising the data to make it sharable

Please note that if you think you cannot share your data some funders may require statements justifying why data should be restricted as part of their application process. All research data you share needs to conform to the University’s Research Code of Practice, guidelines and support on ethics can be found from Research and Impact Services and the UK Data Service has a very useful guide on data anonymisation.

Retention of your data

Many funders have requirements on when you need to deposit your data once a project has finished as well as for how long the data needs to be retained for. The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has provided a summary of the requirements in this area by the major funders. If your funder is not on this list please use the Sherpa Juliet service to check if your funder has any requirements for research data.

The University of Warwick’s Research Data Policy is designed to allow all Warwick researchers to be compliant with all known funder requirements by default and states:

“9. Data must be retained intact in an appropriate format and storage facility, normally for a period of at least 10 years from the date of any publication which is based upon it. Where specific regulations with regard to data retention apply, e.g., from funders, these regulations should prevail, particularly where the required retention period is longer than the University requires.”

Contact us by email: researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk if you need any further advice.

Selecting data for long term curation

When preserving data for the long term there is the temptation to want to store everything! However not all research data is suitable for long term preservation. As a general guideline you should only store the data that underpins research publications.

The DCC has created a comprehensive guide to appraising and selecting data for preservation which outlines the key issues in this area. The DCC’s guide can be supplemented by the:

  • NERC’s Data Value Checklist, a handy checklist for identifying the value of your research data
  • ARDC’ Publishing and sharing sensitive data flowchart

Choosing a data archive for your data

Once you’ve decided what data you need to keep in the long term you will need to choose where to deposit this data to make it available. It may be that you have an idea from looking at sources of additional data during your data management planning stage or use the flowchart below to help you decide.

I have appraised and selected the data I need to preserve/share that underpins my publications or is valuable in its own right.

Is there a suitable service/centre provided either nationally, by your subject or by your journal?


Deposit your data with your chosen data/service centre or journal and email researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk to have the dataset added to the University's catalogue


Contact researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk to discuss your options

Not sure

Contact researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk to discuss your options

Licensing your research data

Licensing allows you to specify what people can and cannot do with your data and allows both you and the users of your data to be clear on what the rights situation is in relation to your data.

It is best to have an idea which license you plan to use before you start collecting the data. This will allow you to clarify the legal position and ownership of the data early on and can help in planning consent requests from research participants. If you are subject to funder requirements or collaborating with other researchers discuss your plans with them early on as well.

Available licenses

There are a number of different licensing schemes that you can use for research data depending on what the data is and how it is formatted. Please note: some data services/centres have specific recommended licenses for data you deposit with them that you must use.

  • Creative Commons licenses  are a range of open licenses allowing you to mix and match the level of rights you are retaining and are commonly used for research publications and other research outputs
  • Open Data Commons offer two licenses that are often used for research data
  • Open Government License is used for public sector databases and data. You may be using data subject to this license and so should be aware of it
  • GNU General Public License 3.0 (GPLv3) is the license most often recommended for open source software releases

The DCC has published a best practice guide on how to license research data. Please see “How to License Research Data” guidance published by DCC.

Data access statements

These statements are a requirement for many publishers and research funders. From 01 April 2022, “UKRI requires in-scope research articles to include a Data Access Statement, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible”.

The aim of the data statement is to promote the discoverability of research data that has been created in the life of a project – BUT the data itself does not have to be publicly accessible. If you have any concerns over whether you should publish you data openly or not please contact us via email: researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk.

What to include

These general principles apply when providing a data access statement. Examples are provided further down the page:

  • if data are held in a data repository, the name of the data repository they are stored in should be provided, as well as any unique persistent identifier (e.g., the DOI) or accession number for the dataset;
  • if there are legal, ethical or commercial reasons why some or all data cannot be made openly available, any restrictions should be specified in the data access statement;
  • if data have been provided in full in the article or as supplementary information, this should be stated;
  • a direction to contact the author for access to data would not normally be considered an acceptable data access statement

Writing a data access statement for your publication is straightforward process. Depending on the level of access to your data one of the following options will usually apply. In these examples a dummy DOI is used which will not resolve.

Openly available data

Under normal circumstances, where a dataset is being made openly available at the end of a publication separately to the publication, the following suffices as a statement:

The data that supports the findings of this study are openly available in [repository name] at [URL].

For example:

  • The data that supports the findings of this study are openly available in WRAP at
  • All data supporting this study are provided as supplementary information accompanying this paper
  • All data are provided in full in the results section of this paper

Secondary analysis of existing data

  • This study was a re-analysis of data that are publicly available from the British Atmospheric Data Centre at [DOI]. Data derived through the re-analysis undertaken in this study are available from WRAP at

Ethical restrictions

  • Interview transcripts from participants who consented to data sharing, plus other supporting information, are available from the UK Data Service, subject to registration, at [DOI]
  • In order to protect participant confidentiality, supporting data cannot be made openly available. Further information about the data and conditions for access are available from WRAP at
  • Because of the sensitive nature of the research, interviewees did not consent to the retention or sharing of their data. Further information about the data is available from WRAP at

Commercial restrictions

  • Supporting data will be available from WRAP at after a 6 month embargo from the date of publication to allow for commercialisation of research findings.
  • Because of confidentiality agreements with research collaborators, supporting data can only be made available to bona fide researchers subject to a non-disclosure agreement. Details of the data and how to request access are available in WRAP at

Non-digital data

  • Non-digital data supporting this study are stored by the corresponding author at the University of Warwick. Details of how to request access to these data are available from WRAP at

No new data created

  • No new data were created in this study

Standard data citation (include in reference list)

  • The standard citation format for a dataset in the University's Research Data Archive is:

Creator(s) (Publication Year): Title. Publisher. Resource Type. Identifier

For example:

Lockey, Christine, Young, Hannah, Brown, Jessica and Dixon, Ann M. (2022) Data for Characterization of interactions within the Igα/Igβ transmembrane domains of the human B-cell receptor provides insights into receptor assembly. [Dataset]

  • This is the citation format recommended by DataCite, the organisation that assigns a permanent Digital Object Identifier to the dataset record
  • When you create the metadata record in WRAP it will automatically generate a citation for you in this format that can be copied and pasted into your list of references. The citation can be easily reformatted in accordance with a particular citation style

Where to include

There are some journals which provide a separate section in papers for the data access statement or data availability statement. If there is no such section specified in paper, you can provide the data access statement in the acknowledgement section.