Library Services


UCL Research Data Repository FAQs

Information on UCL's Research Data Repository. If you require further help or your question is not covered here, please email researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk

Conditions to use this service

Should I use this service or a subject specific repository?

If a subject specific repository for your research subject area 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 your data is more visible to the relevant research community. See the section on 'Sharing Data: when & where?' on our guide to Sharing data to find the appropriate repository for your data.

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, you can upload data in the same way as UCL researchers. It's recommended to upload your data before the end of your PhD as you will lose access to our systems, but there is a six month grace period after that where you can contact the Research Data Management team to get your data uploaded. Your PhD supervisor is also able to upload it on your behalf and credit you accordingly.

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 or collaborators use this service?

The repository only accepts 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.

What data can be uploaded

Can I share personal data in this repository?

No, personal data can't be deposited and shared in this Repository. For alternative repositories, please see our guidance 'What to do with personal research data'.

Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable person (i.e. that information in combination with other information makes the person identifiable). More information about personal data and data protection is available on the UCL Data Protection website.

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

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

How to upload and describe data (or code)


I have a very large dataset, how do I upload it? Is there an API?

Uploading files bigger than 5GB will often fail when using the browser. To upload larger files, you can use the Figshare FTP uploader. There is also Figshare guidance on using the API.

Full information for the variety of options to upload is available in the Repository User Guide. The default storage offered to UCL researchers is 50GB for individuals and 100GB for groups. If you need more space, please contact researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk.

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 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 how my data is accessed?

We are looking at ways to adapt the service to provide more granular access controls as to who accesses your data but this isn't possible at present.

If necessary, you can embargo your data (either a single file or a whole collection) so that the data won’t be publicly visible until the date you have chosen. You will have to explain why this is necessary when you upload your data. More information about embargoes and instructions on how to add one is available in our Repository User Guide.

Generally speaking UCL recommends that data is published as openly as possible.

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. For information about the licences listed in the metadata fields, please read the guidance on how to choose the most appropriate licence

What is a private link?

This link provides direct access to your data regardless of its current state i.e. in draft or subject to an embargo. Users should only generate a private link when a journal publisher has requested access to the data for peer review purposes. You should not include a private link in your papers but instead use a DOI. The private link is not in any way secure and can be accessed by anyone who has the link, so is otherwise not recommended to be used.


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 webpages. 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 my research project, department or research centre set up a space in the repository?

Yes. You can set up a project area following the instructions on the Projects section of the User Guide.  


How long will my data be stored for?

The repository is a long-term solution to sharing and preserving UCL research outputs to support good practice and meet funder requirements and complies with funder requirements for storage durations.

What happens after I upload my data? 

What will happen when I upload my data?

A Repository administrator from UCL will review the metadata for completeness and accuracy. They may contact you with suggestions for making improvements to the metadata record. Researchers are responsible ensuring their data 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 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.
    Once your data has been approved it will be made publicly available unless an embargo has been applied. We usually approve items within a week and it may be quicker, depending the number of records the repository is receiving and whether any changes are required for your project.
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?

Not currently, but this is part of planned future developments. 

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

UCL Research Data Storage Service (RDSS) is a centrally managed, resilient facility for the safe storage of small and large volumes of active research data that ensures compliance with both UCL's and funders' policies. Up to 1TB 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.

UCL Data Safe Haven is a highly secured environment which should be used to store personal research data during your research project.

The UCL Research Data Repository (RDR) is for archiving and preserving research data that you want to openly share online. Please see our guidance to using 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.

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

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.