Promoting and sharing your datasets or ongoing collections is an opportunity to promote your research profile and can lead to:
- higher citation of your papers
- future research projects
- opportunities to collect even more data.
In some disciplines open access to research data is becoming increasingly important and may be a necessary for complying with funder or publisher requirements. In other disciplines it may not be possible to make data available but it may still be promoted, cited or announced to the wider community.
You should familiarise yourself with discipline specific or well-recognised repositories such as Research Data Australia, the Australian Data Archive, VU Special Collections, or discipline repositories listed with re3data.org.
Research Data Australia (RDA)
Research Data Australia (RDA) is a federally funded service under the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). Victoria University (VU) was granted funding from ANDS to register initial datasets in RDA and establish ANDS at VU.
RDA allows researchers to promote their research collections and datasets in a national registry. You can also create a citable reference for your datasets to include in communications or publications, wherever you like.
RDA is used to promote both digital and physical data and collections.
How RDA works
RDA does not need access to your data, just information about the data for their public registry. This helps other researchers to find you and the data you've collected.
To use the service, RDA requires some information about you and your collaborators, the activity or project that established the data, related publications, and some details about the dataset itself.
There is an online form that you can complete. Please contact Julie Gardner at the Library via email email@example.com.
Optionally, RDA can generate an ID that you and others can use to reference or cite your data. The ID works much like a "digital object identifier" (DOI) for papers. DOIs are used in some journals and disciplines (for example, doi:10.5284/1000164).
You will need to outline how others might use the data. For example:
- Should they contact you first?
- Can they download it from somewhere but acknowledge/cite you?
- Do you have other requirements?
Data sharing methods
We provide a number of methods at VU to assist you with sharing your research data.
R: drive (research data storage)
If your data is on the University’s R: drive you can arrange for project collaborators, including those colleagues outside Victoria University, to have access to the same area of R: drive where your data is stored.
Cloud hosting and file transfer
If R: drive is not suitable then you may be able to access some free cloud services available to Australian researchers. Cloud services may let you transfer files to and from collaborators at Australian and international institutions. These services can allow you to share very large files.
For more information see the cloud hosting and file transfer page.
Using email to send data to others is possible, but it is not recommended for a couple of reasons. Firstly, emails have size limitations that often hinder data sharing. Secondly, and more importantly, email has security risks. This is especially important to consider if your data has confidential or commercially sensitive information attached.
Figshare is a commercial website that anyone can store data on and then nominate people to have access to the files. However, there are limits on how much private space you will be allowed for free.
For more information about using Figshare for your data contact the Research Librarian or your College Librarian. For contact details see the Library research support page.
Archiving data in a repository
Depositing your data in a repository (archiving) is a common way to publicly share data. Most archives serve the dual purpose of data preservation and dissemination.
To discuss using the VU research repository to archive your research data contact Julie Gardner at the Library via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Metadata – making data findable
Metadata refers to the information used to describe an item's attributes in a standardised format. For example, the title of the dataset, who created it, when it was created, and the subject of the data.
Creating sufficient structured documentation (metadata) results in data that is well-organised and documented. The data is then easy to find, interpret and re-use in the future by yourself or others.
The metadata that best describes your data depends on the nature of the material. There are some standards that have been developed for use within specific research disciplines. The UK’s Digital Curation Centre has a disciplinary metadata page that links to many of these disciplinary metadata standards.
There are also some common and descriptive metadata standards that can be used for many different types of content. Dublin Core is one of these general standards. It is widely used and has basic elements such as title, creator, subject, date and type.
There are a range of online resources to help you understand metadata concepts, and how to best manage and use metadata.
- An Introduction to Metadata (JISC Digital Media, 2016) – Introduces key themes and issues relating to metadata
- Controlling your Language (JISC Digital Media, 2016) – A directory containing 70+ vocabulary sources
- Metadata – basics (ANDS, 2016) – General introduction to metadata
- Metadata – working level (ANDS, 2016) – Provides information on working with metadata
- Vocabularies and Research Data (ANDS, 2016) – Explains what vocabularies are and how they are useful
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) uniquely identifies a resource such as a journal article or a data set. It makes it is easier for future researchers to find, share and cite your data, working papers and technical reports.
Scholarly material such as journal articles and books get DOIs as part of the publishing process, and data and grey literature can obtain a DOI via the Victoria University Library. The resource must be available for others to access and should be of scholarly interest.
The Australian National Data Service has further information about DOIs.
Obtaining a DOI
The Victoria University Library is able to mint, or create, DOIs for research data sets and grey literature. Grey literature includes material such as technical reports, working papers, and research reports. The library does not mint DOIs for journal articles, books, conference papers etc. because this is done by publishers.
VU research staff can apply for a DOI online.
For more information on how to promote and share your research data contact the Research Librarian, Digital Repositories Coordinator or your College Librarian. For contact details see the Library research support page.