Where should you share your research data?

Multiple repositories are available to host your research data once your project is complete. Let’s look at some of the options with Guillaume Pasquier, our research data specialist.

What is an open data repository?

You might remember from previous blog posts that to be considered open, research data must respect the F.A.I.R. principles set by the FORCE11 working group. Your data must be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. This means that beyond preparing and documenting your data (which we will talk about in forthcoming blog posts), you need to choose an appropriate platform to host it.

First things first : putting your data as a .zip file on your website is not enough. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but you’ll miss out on many of the excellent possibilities offered by the specialised infrastructure generally called open data repositories. Your data will be less durable, findable and usable than it would on the appropriate platform.

As the Registry of research data repositories (RE3data.org) can tell you, there is a very large number of open repositories you could choose to share your data. Some are dedicated to a specific field and others general. Some are located in Switzerland, some are of a commercial nature, and the licences you can use on each one are different.

The Graduate Institute, much like other Swiss universities, has not decided to create its own repository at this time. This doesn’t mean that we can’t help you choose one for your project. To help you, here’s a very short selection of repositories we can heartily recommend.


Owner: an initiative created by CERN in Geneva and stored in its data center. If you want your data to be shared through a Swiss-European non-commercial platform with a large user base, this might be it.

Price: Free (donations welcome)

Volume: 50 GB per dataset, multiple datasets allowed. Higher-size datasets possible upon request.

Access parameters: Open, Embargoed, Restricted, Closed.

Licence parameters: Creative Commons 4.0 (CC By, CC By-SA, CC By-ND, CC By-NC, CC By-NC-ND), or custom licence if you choose “restricted access”.

Services: DOI, Versioning, OrcID, GitHub synchronization, OpenAIRE indexation, Grant referencing (SNSF not included yet).

Durability: CERN guarantees 20 years of data conservation. In the event of closure, they will migrate the data to another suitable repository.

Harvard Dataverse

Owner: Harvard University. This repository is run on the Dataverse software created by Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Science (IQSS). This software is also used by other institutions around the world.

Price: Free

Volume: 2.5 GB per dataset.

Access parameters: Open, Restricted (access request)

Licence parameters: CC0 “public domain dedication”, or custom licence parameters.

Services: DOI, API, Versioning, OrcID, Dataverse (ie: set of datasets).

Durability: Unknown but probably long-term.


Owner: Private company supported by Digital Science (Holtzbrinck, also majority shareholder of Springer Nature).

Price: Free. Please note that this could be considered a commercial repository by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), meaning that an SNSF project might not be allowed to use funds to cover open data preparation costs for this platform.

Volume: Unlimited public data, 20 GB private data. Max filesize 5 GB.

Access parameters: Open, Private.

Licence parameters: CC By 4.0, CC0 public domain, GPL, MIT, Apache 2.0.

Services: DOI, API, Versioning, OrcID.

Durability: Unknown.


Owner: Non-profit repository built by Oxford University and other stakeholders.

Price: 120 $ publishing charges per dataset. Please note that this is not considered a commercial repository by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), meaning that an SNSF project could use project funds to cover this platform’s cost.

Volume: 20 GB per dataset. Additional costs of 50 $ per additional 10 GB.

Access parameters: Open, Embargoed (1 year after publication).

Licence parameters: CC0 public domain.

Services: DOI, APIs, Versioning, OrcID.

Durability: Unknown.

Is that it?

The SwissUniversities DLCM project also intends to propose a national repository before the end of the year 2018, offering 20 GB of free storage, a DOI and 10+ years of guaranteed conservation, but other parameters are unknown at this time. The project is still waiting on funding confirmation this summer.

Existing Swiss repositories include FORSbase, the repository of the Swiss national centre of expertise in the social sciences, located at the University of Lausanne and funded by the SNSF. The Swiss Data and Service Center for humanities (DaSCH) offers an equivalent for the humanities, but costs are non-negligible. They can of course be covered by SNSF grants.

There are many other repositories you can use, especially discipline-specific repositories. You can find most of them on RE3data.org. As long as they offer good metadata management and a DOI, they’re usually acceptable options.

If you have any favourite disciplinary repository we should know about, please comment below or send us an e-mail to researchdata@graduateinstitute.ch. Feel free to also contact us if you need any additional information on repositories in general.

Original illustration by Ainsley Seago (cropped), in “Troubleshooting Public Data Archiving: Suggestions to Increase Participation”, shared under creative commons licence CC BY 4.0.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.