What to consider when choosing a platform for sharing data

Published: 2022-09-30

The SND Network met to discuss platforms for sharing research data, which sparked a great deal of interest. It’s difficult to get an overall picture of every alternative for data sharing, but SND’s Head of IT, Johan Fihn Marberg, presented some general things to consider when you choose a sharing platform.

The research data support units at the HEIs get many questions from researchers who wonder which platforms or repositories they should choose when they want to share research data. As an individual employee it's difficult to be aware of every possible solution. There are, for instance, general repositories (which often accept data from all disciplines) and subject-specific, or disciplinary, repositories (which are associated with a certain scientific discipline). SND recommends that researchers choose subject-specific platforms/repositories if they can. SND can harvest metadata from other repositories and make them visible in the SND research data catalogue.

General recommendations from SND

Several participants in the digital network meeting wondered if SND or any of the HEIs have lists of recommended platforms.

“At SND, we will of course recommend ourselves and our DORIS solution, but other than that we don’t promote any specific repositories. Instead, we’ve got some general recommendations for what to think about when you choose a platform”, said Johan Fihn Marberg.

In his presentation, he addressed several important issues to consider, for example:

  • What is the target audience for the repository/platform?
  • Where are the data stored?
  • Does the repository/platform issue so-called persistent identifiers?
  • Does the repository/platform have a long-term plan and funding?
  • Can the data/metadata be extracted to an archive?
  • How big data can the repository/platform handle?
  • Are there any costs involved in using the repository/platform?
  • How is the findability?
  • Are the data described with rich metadata?
  • Does the repository/platform use controlled vocabularies and structured filters?
  • What are the license agreements and terms of use?

The HEIs don't have lists of recommendations

The HEIs don’t have lists over which platforms researchers should choose when they want to publish and share data. But several participants gave examples of which general requirements that their HEIs have.

“At Örebro University, we’ve said that the repository should be certified and that data should be given a PID. We prefer that they don’t use a publication repository, as we don’t want to risk getting the same restricted rights as for scientific articles”, said Mattias Persson.

KTH and Chalmers both recommend SND and Zenodo as general repositories. In terms of subject-specific repositories, they and several other HEIs usually recommend that researchers use re3data to find suitable, qualitative platforms.

Link to Johan Fihn Marberg’s presentation in the network meeting (in Swedish only).