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UCL Research Data Repository

UCL has created a new institutional Research Data Repository, supplied by Figshare. The repository enables UCL researchers to preserve research data of value long-term and make it available to others.

Repository Benefits
  • Secure long term data preservation and curation:10+ years
  • Storage: access and data sharing worldwide
  • Compliance: meets funders' requirements for FAIR data
  • Multiple formats: supports almost all file types
  • Increased citations: published research data has its own DOI
  • Discoverability: aids discovery and leads to new partnerships
  • Defines reuse: applies Creative Commons and other licences 
  • Embargo: research outputs can be embargoed where necessary
  • Team collaboration: data can be added to defined project spaces.

For more information, please see below and read the UCL Repository FAQs.

For support, please contact researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk or come to one of our regular drop-in sessions.

Important Information - Read before you begin

Who can use the repository

UCL research staff, and UCL students enrolled for PhD, Mphil or MRes degrees can use the Repository. Students enrolled on undergraduate or taught postgraduate programmes are not permitted to deposit in the Repository.

Legal Responsibilities

All authors are jointly responsible for ensuring that any data uploaded is compliant with RDR terms of use, data protection and copyright law. Data containing personally identifiable information cannot be uploaded at this point. We are working on enhancing the repository so as to be able to accept personal and sensitive data in the future. Please contact the RDM team for advice on what constitutes personal data and guidance on alternative repositories that can handle this kind of material. 

Authorship

The expectation is that all contributors to research data should be acknowledged, following a similar code of practice to authorship for an academic paper. Authorship of a dataset should normally mirror that of any related papers. Further information on UCL policy regarding authorship is available.  

File sizes and formats

An upload to the repository can be one or multiple files of any format. Uploading a file large than 5 GB will often fail using the browser. Please make use of the figshare uploader provided in the UCL software centre, or the desktop uploader tool if you are not using a UCL computer. It is not possible to upload a directory containing a folder structure directly but a set of folders can be combined into a single zip file and uploaded as a single file.

How data should be organised

There are several ways to organise items uploaded to the repository. Files can be uploaded individually with their own titles, descriptive text and DOI. Individual items can be grouped together in a collection if needed, where a single DOI can be used to link to all the items within that collection. Alternatively, a single upload can contain multiple files (e.g. all of the raw data used to generate the figures of a particular paper) with a single title, description and DOI being used for the entire dataset. 

Metadata

Some fields are mandatory to complete when depositing data, but we encourage you to be as thorough as possible when adding descriptive metadata. This will help us to process your submission quickly as well as help to make your data more useful for other researchers. If a mistake is noticed after publication, title and author fields can only be altered by repository staff. This process will create a new version of the record with a new DOI. Please double check this information carefully. Other fields can be modified if desired, which allows links to any publications that make use of the data to be added.

Linking data sets to journal publications

It is good practice to also provide a link from the repository to any publications related to the data, ideally with a DOI. There may not be a DOI issued for your paper until the final stage of the publication process, so you may not be able to add a link during the initial upload. If this is the case, you can add a link into the references or description field after your data are published in the repository as authors can always amend and update these fields. You can also link to any pre-print versions of an article.

Please visit our extended FAQ page if you need further guidance, or contact us if you have a question we haven’t covered.

Upload your data to the UCL Research Data Repository

What to deposit

Select your data

The decision over what to keep and share should be informed by a number of considerations: your funder’s data policy; UCL’s Research Data policy; legal and ethical requirements; and the potential usefulness of the data to others.

It might be tempting to keep and share all your data 'just in case'. You should try and make decisions on what to keep and share based on the likely potential value for others weighed against the time and costs of documenting, preparing and preserving this data for the long-term.

Data you should deposit in the Repository

1. Data underpinning publications

At a minimum you should share the research data underlying the conclusions of your published research. This helps facilitate research reproducibility and verification.

This includes publishing datasets which underpin charts, graphs and other visualisations in your papers.

If you only used part of a dataset then it is acceptable to publish only the parts of the dataset which underpin your published findings. If this data is available somewhere else then you should cite the data in your paper. Advice on data citation is available.

2. Wider datasets which may be useful in the future

You should consider depositing your wider datasets (i.e. not just data underpinning publications). These are datasets which have been processed, cleaned and/or curated and may have value for you or others in the future.

This data may:

  • Allow researchers to carry out other types of analysis from your data which could confirm your research conclusions and/or contribute to new research.
  • Help explain a novel, high quality or other valuable method/approach to carrying out research in your discipline.
  • Give access to data which would otherwise be very difficult, expensive, time consuming or impossible to reproduce.
Data you must NOT deposit in the repository

Please do not deposit the following categories:

  • Data for which you (or UCL) do not hold the copyright or other intellectual property rights, and/or for which you have not obtained permission to share the data.
  • Data containing personal information. You cannot upload personal data or special category personal data in this repository.
  • There are data sharing agreements in place that restrict access to the data to particular individuals or groups (this may be the case where there are commercial agreements in place with industrial partners, for instance).

The UCL Research Data Repository is not intended for administrative data relating to human resources, finance and other operational matters. For support in managing this data see the UCL Records Office’s advice.

Other cases

1. You are already using a discipline-specific or funder-specific repository

If there is a discipline, subject, or funder-specific repository available to you then you should normally submit your data to that. You should however consider whether the repository has a clear sustainability model and meets your funder's requirements

If you submit data to a non-UCL repository you should also create a metadata-only record for that data in the UCL repository, with a reference to where the actual data can be found. This ensures that all of your research outputs are recorded and can be referenced, for instance, in REF submissions. We hope to harvest records from other popular repositories automatically in the future.

2. You are not using new/original data

Your research may be based entirely on existing data (i.e. neither new nor original) and you haven’t made significant changes or enhancements to that data. In that case, you should reference the data in your publications but don’t need to submit the data to the UCL Research Data Repository.

3. You want to deposit code

If it is practical to recreate data entirely from code without an undue amount of work then it is acceptable to share the code instead of the outputted data from the code.
Research software and code play an increasingly important role in research across all disciplines. It is often beneficial to share code and software alongside your data. You can find guidance for sharing and preserving code.

4. You have very large (more than 5 GB) files/zipped folders or multiple files/folder directories 

If you need to upload a dataset that is greater than 5 GB in size, please use the Figshare Desktop Uploader tool.

The only way to upload folder directories (a folder containing subfolder) as a single item in Figshare is to zip the folder. The folder structure (with folder names) will be displayed in the published item.

To upload multiple files we suggest that you zip the files in to a folder to save uploading each file individually. 

5. Commercial use of research data

If you have data which you believe has strong potential for commercial exploitation, please contact UCL Business.

How to deposit

Prepare your data

Our Research Data Management how-to guides will help you prepare your data before your deposit it; the guides include information to organise your data, name your files, choose your file formats, anonymise personal data, and more.

Repository brief user guide with step by step instructions

Getting started, uploading data and creating projects

The RDR brief user guide contains information to:

  • log in and log out,
  • complete the metadata fields, 
  • upload your files,
  • create a metadata-only record.

There is also a guide on how to create projects.

Using embargoes

There may be times when you want to delay the point at which people can access the data you upload. It is possible to apply a temporary embargo to your dataset.

Please remember that you shouldn’t use the embargo feature to share personal data. Personal data should not be deposited in this repository.

In this PDF document you will find information to:

  • decide what type of embargo to choose,
  • understand in what context you can use an embargo.

Asking for more storage space

The default storage allocation for UCL Researchers using Figshare is 50GB for individuals and 100GB for research groups. This allocation is assigned on first login.

If you ever need more storage space, please contact us at researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk, explaining the following:

  • how much space you would require, and
  • why you require more space.
Review process once you have deposited your data

After you have finished uploading your 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. The Repository administrators endeavor to review uploads within a week.

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 above which helps you decide what to share. You can also contact researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk for advice.

Once your upload has been approved it will be made publicly available via the Repository unless an embargo has been applied.

Using a discipline or funder-specific repository

1. Funder-recommended repositories

Your funder may have some expectations about where your data is stored, how open it should be and the timescale in which it should be made available. Please refer to the guidance information on funders' policies.

Some funders such as NERC or ESRC have set up data centres to preserve and disseminate data created as part of their funded projects. Researchers funded by these bodies are expected to deposit in their data centres.

2. Subject-specific repositories

If a repository exists specifically for your research domain, usually this will be the 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.

We have prepared a guide where you will find discipline-specific repositories.

3. Other responsible repositories

It is also possible to deposit your data with a "responsible digital repository", i.e. that "takes responsibility for data assets according to the FAIR data principles: findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable" and provides you with "adequate and persistent information" (i.e. metadata and a DOI) for your data.

A list of external repositories and their characteristics can be found in the international registry Re3data.org.

Creating a metadata-only record

If you choose to deposit your research data in a non-UCL repository please indicate that deposit in the UCL Research Data Repository by creating a metadata-only record.  

What to do with personal research data

Storing personal data

Our how-to guide on data storage explains the options available at UCL to store personal data, including information about UCL Data Safe Haven.

Managing personal data

In our how-to-guide you will find information about ethical approval and registration; anonymisation; protection for NHS data; your legal requirements and discipline-specific ethics codes.

Understanding Data Protection legislation (including GDPR)

UCL Data Protection Office offers key advice and guidance for researchers to protect their personal research data.

Repository FAQs & further help

Please read our Repository FAQs page.

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.

How to find and use data deposited in the Repository

To find and re-use data deposited by UCL researchers you can perform basic and advanced searches. Guidance is available to search the Repository.

Research data deposited in the UCL Research Data Repository should be used in accordance with the licence chosen by the depositors. Guidance is available to understand these licences.

Our how-to guide on data re-use will help you understand how to cite research data; how to handle copyright and Intellectual Property rights issues; and how to analyse data.

Takedown process

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

Privacy Notice

Please read the Repository Privacy Notice.

Terms & Conditions

Please read the Terms & Conditions.