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Data Management for Research

This guide presents information on the effective management of data created through research — including creating a data management plan for grant or project proposals, preserving data after project completion and sharing data with other researchers.


Publishing Data

Your research is important, and so is the data that it is based on. Making your data available to the scholarly community allows other to build upon your work. Additionally, your work will become more visible and typically be cited more frequently.

How to Publish Data

Here are the four most common ways to publish your data including their advantages and disadvantages.

  • An Institutional Repository: the mission of an institutional repository is to permanently preserve the scholarly output of the institution.  Here at the University of Missouri-St. Louis our institutional repository is know as the Institutional Repository Library IRL@UMSL. IRL@UMSL serves this function, and preserves text, audio, video, data and more.  IRL is designed to meet the needs of scholars in all disciplines, and operates according to widely accepted standards for preservation and access.
  • A Disciplinary Repository: Disciplinary repositories offer high visibility within a particular field. See the list on the left of this page for a list on disciplinary repositories. Not all repositories are committed to long-term preservation of data, and their mission and focus may change over time.  Some, are only available to subscribers. 
  • Journals: Some journals publish data associated with their published articles.  This will provide good visibility, but is often tied to a journal subscription, limiting access.  Compliance with documentation standards and long-term preservation vary considerably from journal to journal.
  • Data Journals: The "data journal" is an emerging alternative.  In data journals the data is the focus and the article is descriptive of the data set.  This enables the data to be cited in a very familiar form. 
  • Self-publishing: Self-publishing occur through individual, institutional, or third-party websites.  The researcher assumes the  responsibility for vetting their own data for quality and documentation, as well as preserving an accessible version of the data as file formats change in the future.  Tools are emerging which focus on the broad sharing of data, while allowing individual researchers or research centers to manage their own data on a remote server.  The long-term implications are uncertain at this point.

It is not necessary to choose only one of these options. In fact, there are advantages to using multiple publishing options. Most of these options do not require an exclusive granting of rights, making it possible to deposit data in multiple locations, which both maximizes current visibility and long-term preservation simultaneously.

How to Cite Data

Citing data is highly recommended to to provide reliable access to specific datasets and to provide credit to the producers of useful Data citation standards are just beginning the emerging in many disciplines. In the absence of a specific standards , a data citation should include the following:

  • Author or Responsible Party(such as: study PI, sample collector, government agency)
  • Name of the Data Element used (e.g., a specific Table/Map/dataset with any applicable unique IDs)
  • Name of the Database
  • Name of the Publication ( if applicable)
  • Name of the Repository (if applicable) 
  • Version identifier (Study number, edition, year, version, etc.)
  • Date accessed
  • URL used

If specific steps were required to subset, analyze, or access the data, the citation should also include:

  • parameters selected 
  • software used

Additional information on citing data can be found at:

Where to Publish Data

IRL@UMSL is the institutional repository for the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Disciplinary Repositories

Not all repositories necessarily take researcher-produced datasets where you can share your data. Moreover, not all repositories listed can ensure long-term preservation of your data; contact each one for more details.

Data Journals