Library Services


UCL Research Data Repository FAQs

Conditions to use this service

Should I use this service or a domain specific repository?

If a repository specific to your research domain exists, this will usually be a better option for you as it is likely to have additional features that support your types of data, and it will mean your data is more visible to the relevant research community. However, we ask you to create a metadata-only record in RPS and in UCL Research Data Repository; please see our step-by-instructions in our Repository guidance.

Will I have to pay to upload or access the repository?

No, using this repository is free of charge for UCL researchers.

Can UCL PhD students use this service?

Yes, they can upload data in the same way as UCL researchers.

Can undergraduate or Masters students use this service?

No; undergraduate and Masters students are encouraged to ask their tutors if they could deposit their work in UCL Open Education Repository. Alternatively, please contact us for advice.

Can external users use this service?

Initially the repository will only accept uploads from UCL researchers. It is possible to upload data generated jointly with external collaborators, but UCL researchers must be involved and complete the upload.

Can external collaborators use this service?

Not directly. If you are working as part of a collaborative project someone from UCL will have to deposit data. It will be possible to cite external collaborators in the metadata.

I am already using figshare.com, should I transfer my data to the UCL Research Data Repository?

It is up to you to decide whether to transfer your data to the UCL Repository. If needed, we can help you do so; just contact us at researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk.
Here are some of the benefits of using the UCL Research Data Repository:

  • You can request more storage
  • You can upload bigger files
  • You can create groups
  • You can generate statistics for groups
  • Your data deposits will appear in your research publications profiles (once the Repository links to RPS later this year).

These options are only available in the “Figshare for Institutions” (in our case “UCL Research Data Repository”), not in figshare.com.

What data can be uploaded

Can I share personal data in this repository?

No, personal data cannot be deposited and shared via this Repository. For alternative repositories, please see our guidance "What to do with personal research data".

Personal data only includes information relating to natural persons who are identifiable directly from the information in question; or who can be indirectly identified from that information in combination with other information. More information about personal data and data protection is available on the UCL Data Protection website.

Are there any restrictions on what kind of data I can share?

Please see our data selection guidance.

Can I upload research papers or book chapters to the repository?

No, you should upload them in UCL Discovery via RPS.

What do you mean by 'research data'?

Research data are the original sources or material that you have created or collated to conduct your research project. They can be digital or non-digital. The response to your research question is based on the analysis of these research data.

The following definition can be read in the UCL Research Data Policy: “Data are facts, observations or experiences on which an argument or theory is constructed or tested. Data may be numerical, descriptive, aural or visual. Data may be raw, abstracted or analysed, experimental or observational. Data include but are not limited to: laboratory notebooks; field notebooks; questionnaires; audiotapes;photographs; films; test responses [...].”

Your research funder may have its own definition of research data, check in our up-to-date list of funders.

How to upload and describe data (or code)


What is the maximum file size I can upload?

Uploading files bigger than 5GB will often fail when using the browser. To upload larger files, UCL-managed-desktop users should use the Figshare uploader, available on UCL desktops.  Non-UCL-computers will require the desktop uploader.

The default storage offered to UCL researchers on sign-up is 50GB for individuals and 100GB for groups.

I have a very large dataset, how do I upload it?

Please see guidance on using the upload tool above. Please note if you want to share more than 50GB you will need to request additional storage. Please see further guidance.

Can I use the API to upload data?

Yes, please see Figshare guidance on using this API.

Can you add custom metadata for my discipline?

Currently the repository uses a simplified version of the Datacite metadata scheme. You can add custom keywords to aid with discovery. Please contact email researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk with other metadata requirements, or if you want to us add additional fields or vocabularies in a future version.

Can I control who accesses my data?

At present, no.  We are looking at ways in which we can adapt the service to provide more granular access controls.  UCL recommends that data is published as openly as possible. 

Can I control when someone can access my data?

This Repository is not intended to be used to control access to your data.

If necessary, you can embargo your data (either a single file or a whole collections); this means that the data won’t be publicly visible until the date you have chosen. Please note that you will have to explain why this is necessary when you upload the data into the Repository.

More information about embargoes is available in our Repository guidance.

Can I choose a different licence than the one listed in the metadata fields?

If you require a licence which is not already listed, please contact us at researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk. We will then pass on the message to Figshare (the system supplier).
For information about the licences listed in the metadata fields, please read the “Guidance on how to choose the most appropriate licence”. 

Can I make my data confidential?

It is possible technically, however, strongly not recommended. Figshare has created this option to upload sensitive data which cannot be released to the public. The risk here is that the confidentiality could be removed with publication of a new version of your item. At the moment, UCL Research Data Repository does not accept any personal or ‘special category’ personal data. If your data includes identifiable data, NHS patient data or commercially sensitive data, you should not upload the files but create a metadata-only record instead.

The following information is available in our Repository Guidance:

  • Creating metadata-only record
  • Archiving and sharing personal data.
What is a private link?

It is a sharing link to your unpublished or published item and data. The private link was initially developed by Figshare as an opportunity to send an item for double-blind peer review, so it removes author information and institutional affiliation. However, private links are not a safe way of sharing data for the following reasons: they can be sent via email; the recipient can access the shared data without logging in; recipients don’t need to have a Figshare account or be a UCL researcher. By default the link also remains active after publication of your item, unless you have disabled it. Using this feature is therefore not recommended.


How do I connect GitHub to the repository?

Figshare offers an integration with GitHub which can be used to preserve your research software and create a DOI to cite your software. Instructions are available.

Can I upload code to the repository?

If your code supports your research, you can upload it to the repository. GitHub users can find guidance on linking Figshare and GitHub. The repository will not automatically pick up the licence attached to your code in GitHub, so be sure to select this manually in the Figshare metadata record. Some permissible code licences are not included in the Figshare list of applicable licences by default. If this is the case for your code, please get in touch with the UCL Research Data Repository team at researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk

You can find further guidance on software preservation in our Research Data Management pages.
Please note that we will provide feedback on the metadata for software uploads but NOT check any of the code itself. For support with software development, please contact the UCL Research Software Development group.

How to create groups and projects

Can a research project set up a space in the repository?

Yes. To do this the Principal Investigator (PI) for the project will need to contact the repository administrators to request for a project space to be set up. Once this has been done the PI will be able to allocate other team members to the project space. The PI will remain responsible for adding and removing new members of the group and reviewing uploads to this project.

Can I set up a space for my discipline to use?

Yes. Please follow the instructions detailed in the FAQ above.


How long will my data be stored for?

The repository aims to provide a long-term solution to disseminating UCL research outputs and meeting funder requirements. At a minimum the repository will comply with these funded requirements for storage durations.  

What happens after I have uploaded my data

What will happen when I upload my data?

When you upload data a Repository administrator from UCL will check your upload for accuracy and completeness of metadata. They may provide suggestions for additions or improvements to your metadata via email. Once your upload has been approved it will be made publicly available via Figshare unless an embargo has been applied.

Will someone check the data I have uploaded?

A Repository administrator from UCL will review the uploaded metadata for completeness and accuracy. They may contact you with suggestions for making improvements to the metadata record.

Researchers are responsible for the data they upload so they should ensure that it doesn’t contain any of the following:

  • personal data (i.e. information relating to an identified or identifiable person) or
  • special category personal data (i.e information relating to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, health, or a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation).

Guidance on uploads is available which helps you decide what to share.  You can also contact lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk for advice.

How quickly will my upload be approved?

This depends on the number of records the repository is receiving and whether any changes are required for your project. The Repository administrators endeavor to review uploads within a week.

How do I request that something is removed from the repository?

Please see our Takedown Notice.

I have seen something on the repository which should not be there, how do I make a complaint?

Please see our Takedown Notice.

What will happen to my data if I leave UCL?

The data will continue to be available via the UCL Research Data Repository. It will no longer be possible to upload new data to the repository, since you need to be based at UCL to use this service.

Can I remove data at a later stage?

You will not usually be able to remove data which has already been published. If you believe your data violates the upload policy of the repository, please see our Takedown Notice for further guidance.

Can I change the file in the already published record?

You can upload new files. These will be shown alongside existing files as a new ‘version’.

Related UCL services

Will my records be harvested by RPS?

Yes, this feature is being developed as part of the repository service for UCL.

What is the relationship between this service and the UCL Data Storage Service and the UCL Data Safe Haven?

UCL Data Storage Service is a centrally managed, resilient facility for the safe storage of small and large volumes of research data that ensures compliance with both UCL's and funders' policies. Up to 5TB of storage is available free of charge to any project registered by a UCL member of staff. If you are about to start or are currently working on your data you should use this infrastructure. Guidance is available.

UCL Data Safe Haven is a highly secured environment which should be used to store personal research data as part of your research project. Guidance is available.

The UCL Research Data Repository is for research data you want to openly share online. Please see our guidance to use the Data Repository.

Is this service replacing UCL Discovery?

No, UCL Discovery is UCL’s repository for publications (such as articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, etc.) and should still be used for REF compliance.

UCL Research Data Repository is UCL’s repository for research data.

Reporting and usage statistics

What personal data does Figshare collect about me?

Please see Figshare Privacy Notice


I have published something by mistake, what do I do?

If you believe you have a legitimate reason to request the removal of an item in the UCL Research Data Repository (relating, for instance, to issues with intellectual property, copyright, data protection or other legal issues), please read our Takedown Notice.

I have seen something on the repository which should not be there. How do I make a complaint?

Please see our Takedown Notice.

For further help with the Research Data Repository please email researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk

For help with other data management issues, including funders’ policies and Data Management Plans please email lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk.