How to disseminate your data well




The aim of the principle Findable is to facilitate the finding of data for humans and computer systems. This requires a systematic description and indexation of the data and their corresponding metadata.

The principle Accessible fosters the long-term storage of data and metadata. It facilitates access and/or downloading by setting conditions for access (open or restricted) and usage (licence).

The principle Interoperable can be described as follows – it should be simple to use data in different settings, they should be easy to understand, and it should be possible for humans and machines to combine them.

The principle Reusable emphasises properties that make data reusable for future research or other purposes (education, innovation, reproduction/transparency of science).

To select a suitable data repository, you should check

  • the repository’s conditions of use including licences,
  • the types and formats of acceptable data,
  • the options for depositing different versions of a dataset,
  • the gurantees offered with regard to archiving and long-term access.

Deposition in a data repository can carry costs or not, depending on the repository’s specific business model. In some cases, the running costs for a repository are borne by the institutions.

Zenodo: general repository for European research

You can also decide to publish your data in a data paper.

A data paper is a scholarly article dealing with documented datasets. These can be published in a data journal, which publishes such articles exclusively, or in a traditional journal. In both cases it will be peer-reviewed.

Publishing a data paper aims to make other researchers aware of the existence of a dataset that they can use in other scientific settings. Datasets from economics could also be interesting to sociologists or life scientists.

A data paper generally contains the following elements:

  • access to the dataset itself in the form of attached files or persistent identifiers to a data repository;
  • a detailed description (metadata) of the dataset (production context, authors, rights and licences, etc.).

Good luck with your research!

Date: March 2021
Questions, comments and notes are welcome at

to Open Science Magazine