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
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! 1
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
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:
Publishing a research elements article
These brief, peer-reviewed articles complement full research papers and are an easy way to receive proper credit and recognition for the work you have done. Research elements are research outputs that have come about as a result of following the research cycle – this includes things like data, methods and protocols, software, hardware and more.
You can publish research elements articles in several different Elsevier journals, including our suite of dedicated Research Elements journals. They are easy to submit, are subject to a peer review process, receive a DOI and are fully citable. They also make your work more sharable, discoverable, comprehensible, reusable and reproducible.
The accompanying raw data can still be placed in a repository of your choice (see below).
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(opens in new tab/window) (just select the Research Data link in the left-hand bar or scroll down the page).
What if I can’t submit my research 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(opens in new tab/window) (just select the Research Data link in the left-hand bar or scroll down the page).
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 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.
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.
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 matching paper title and abstract of your manuscript in Elsevier's JournalFinder(opens in new tab/window)
Already published? Just view the options for sharing your research data above.
1 Several studies have now shown that making data available for an article increases article citations.