Sharing research data

As a researcher, you are increasingly encouraged, or even mandated, to make your research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable.

Sharing research data is something we are passionate about too, so we’ve created this short video and written guide to help you get started.

What is research data?

While the definition often differs per field, generally, research data refers to the results of observations or experiments that validate your research findings. These span a range of useful materials associated with your research project, including:

  • Raw or processed data files
  • Software
  • Code
  • Models
  • Algorithms
  • Protocols
  • Methods

Research data does not include text in manuscript or final published article form, or data or other materials submitted and published as part of a journal article.

Why should I share my research data?

There are so many good reasons. We’ve listed just a few:

How you benefit

  • You get credit for the work you've done

  • Leads to more citations! *

  • Can boost your number of publications

  • Increases your exposure and may lead to new collaborations

What it means for the research community

  • It's easy to reuse and reinterpret your data

  • Duplication of experiments can be avoided

  • New insights can be gained, sparking new lines of inquiry

  • Empowers replication

And society at large…

  • Greater transparency boosts public faith in research

  • Can play a role in guiding government policy

  • Improves access to research for those outside health and academia

  • Benefits the public purse as funding of repeat work is reduced

How do I share my research data?

The good news is it’s easy.

Yet to submit your research article? There are a number of options available. These may vary depending on the journal you have chosen, so be sure to read the Research Data section in its Guide for Authors before you begin.

Already published your research article? No problem – it’s never too late to share the research data associated with it.

Two of the most popular data sharing routes are:

Publish Data

Publishing a data article

These brief, peer-reviewed publications complement full research papers and are an easy way to receive proper credit and recognition for the work you have done. This is particularly true for replication data, negative datasets or data from intermediate experiments, which often go unpublished.

Data articles are easy to submit via a simple, templated form and are subject to a quick and transparent peer review process. The data can be placed in a repository of your choice. Because each data article is given a DOI, citations link the data to all subsequent research that applies it, making it even easier to find, reuse and reproduce results.

Several journals support co-submission of a data article alongside your manuscript. In each case, the data article is  transferred to the open access journal Data in Brief for publication. You can also submit directly to Data in Brief – submissions are welcome from all research areas.

Find out more about publishing a data article

Store Data

Uploading your data to a repository like Mendeley Data

Mendeley Data is a certified, free-to-use repository that hosts open data from all disciplines, whatever its format (e.g. raw and processed data, tables, codes and software). With many Elsevier journals, it’s possible to upload and store your data to Mendeley Data during the manuscript submission process. You can also upload your data directly to the repository. In each case, your data will receive a DOI, making it independently citable and it can be linked to any associated article on ScienceDirect, making it easy for readers to find and reuse. View an article featuring Mendeley data (just select the Research Data link in the left-hand bar or scroll down the page).

Find out more about Mendeley Data

What if I can’t submit my research data?

Declare Data

Data statements offer transparency

We understand that there are times when the data is simply not available to post or there are good reasons why it shouldn’t be shared.  A number of Elsevier journals encourage authors to submit a data statement alongside their manuscript. This statement allows you to clearly explain the data you’ve used in the article and the reasons why it might not be available.  The statement will appear with the article on ScienceDirect. View a sample data statement (just select the Research Data link in the left-hand bar or scroll down the page).

Find out more about data statements

Showcasing your research data on ScienceDirect

We have 3 top tips to help you maximize the impact of your data in your article on ScienceDirect.

Link data

Link with data repositories

You can create bidirectional links between any data repositories you’ve used to store your data and your online article. If you’ve published a data article, you can link to that too.

Find out more about linking data

Interactive Data Visualizations

Enrich with interactive data visualizations

The days of being confined to static visuals are over. Our in-article interactive viewers let readers delve into the data with helpful functions such as zoom, configurable display options and full screen mode.

Find out more about data visualizations

Cite your research data

Get credit for your work by citing your research data in your article and adding a data reference to the reference list. This ensures you are recognized for the data you shared and/or used in your research. Read the References section in your chosen journal’s Guide for Authors for more information.

Ready to get started?

If you have yet to publish your research paper, the first step is to find the right journal for your submission and read the Guide for Authors.

Find a journal by paper title and abstract

Elsevier® Journal Finder

Match your manuscript

Find by journal title

Already published? Just view the options for sharing your research data above.

* Several studies have now shown that making data available for an article increases article citations.