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Research Data Management Toolkit: Publish

Best practices in Research Data Management promote research integrity and collaborative opportunities. A Research Data Management Plan ensures data security, accessibility and validation of results.

Data publishing

Publishing your data and making it available to others can improve the impact of your research significantly. It contributes to the body of knowledge in your discipline and reduces duplication of effort. Publishing your data also makes your research more reliable with increased reproducibility, and articles with published datasets are more highly cited. The FAIR principles provide guidance to ensure that your data is not only published but is reusable.

Some research funders require that datasets generated from their funding be published. Some funder requirements are detailed on the Funder requirements tab.

No matter if or how you choose to publish your data, it is important to carefully consider the permissions on your data. The best way to do this is by assigning a Creative Commons licence. Note that the UWA Research Integrity Policy recommends using the CC-BY licence where possible.

In order for others to cite your data, it is good practice to assign a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), which is a persistent online address. If you deposit your data in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository a DOI will be automatically assigned to your dataset; providing that DOI to journal editors where you are required to publish data along with your articles will meet those requirements. These instructions explain how to add your dataset to the UWA Profiles and Research Repository, the sizes and formats that can be submitted and access restrictions, including mediated access and embargoes.

If your data is sensitive, you might need to de-identify or anonymise the data prior to publication - only data classified as Public should be fully open. By removing identifying elements, a researcher can still benefit from publishing the data while still respecting the privacy of the research subjects and not disclosing sensitive information. The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Identifiable data webpage collates a selection of Australian and international practice guidelines and resources on how to de-identify datasets. 

Data publishing options

Open Access and Open Data

Like Open Access for journal articles, Open Data does not have any access restrictions and is publicly available. Anyone can read, copy, download or link to the data free of charge. For more information, see the Open Access Toolkit

Not all data can be open due to sensitivity or licencing restrictions. The UWA Profiles and Research Repository, which is indexed by Google, allows researchers to deposit their research data, along with other research outputs, and to specify how 'open' that dataset will be. It is a good option for publishing your data because it allows you to control access through:

  • Setting an embargo period
  • Assigning the appropriate Creative Commons licence
  • Naming a contact person for those wanting to access your dataset

In addition, the UWA Repository:

  • creates a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for your dataset to facilitate data citation
  • enables you to add metadata, describing your dataset
  • facilitates harvesting of your dataset record by Research Data Australia
  • links data to related datasets, research outputs and some equipment

These features all contribute to making datasets published in the Repository FAIR.

The Repository Libguide explain how to add your data to the Repository.

Open data repositories exist in many disciplines. has indexed over 2,000 data repositories which can all be accessed and searched via the website. 

Mediated access

Researcher-mediated access allows access to the data after approval from the researchers. This ensures the data is used correctly through the provision of further context. The UWA Profiles and Research Repository can provide mediated access to your data.

Restricted access

Access to your data can be restricted by using password-controlled access to the dataset, while still making the metadata discoverable. Restricted access should apply to:

  • Research data with commercial potential
  • Medical research containing confidential patient data
  • Research data containing culturally sensitive information and
  • Third party data which have contractual agreements

For more information on how to determine what restrictions should apply to your data refer to the sensitive data decision tree and the UWA data classification for researchers

Licensing your data

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Research Data Rights Management Guide addresses copyright and IP rights in data; data rights management for data you own or create; and considerations for data you use. 

If you want to share your data with others you must apply a licence to it. In Australia, no licence equals "all rights reserved", which means that while it may be accessible, the copyright holder has not permitted any reuse of their data. Creative Commons licences are recommended to specify how your data can be reused. See Copyright at UWA for more information on the licences. The ARDC Research Data Rights Management Guide also describes how these licences may be applied to research data.

Metadata sharing

Even if you are unable to publish your dataset, you might still be able to share metadata about it, which still increases discoverability especially when it is housed in a major service such as Research Data Australia (RDA). All research data metadata in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository is harvested into Research Data Australia on a weekly basis. In turn, both the Repository and RDA are indexed by Google, further increasing discoverability of your work. 

Data journals

Data journals are publications whose primary purpose is to expose datasets. Publication in these journals may be of interest to researchers and data producers for whom data is a primary research output. Like many conventional journals, data journals are peer-reviewed and are indexed in major databases.


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.