Data Repository Options

For some programs and types of data, the NIH may require the use of particular data repositories. If NIH does not specify a repository, researchers are encouraged to select a repository appropriate for their discipline by searching the Registry of Research Data Repositories.

If no appropriate field-specific repository is available, researchers may consider a general or institutional data repository. The following links offer more information about a multitude of repositories. We strongly encourage investigators to contact Rutgers University Libraries for assistance with choosing a repository and/or collecting and preparing data for submission to a repository.

Accordion Content

  • For most projects, the NIH recommends researchers submit their data to an appropriate field-specific repository. Field-specific repositories store data from a specific discipline or field, are operated by a professional organization or research consortium, and use specialized metadata and vocabularies for describing and organizing research data. The following resources are helpful for identifying an appropriate field-specific repository for your data.

    NIH-supported Scientific Data Repositories
    List of NIH-supported repositories for data sharing. Note that this list is not exhaustive. Select the link provided in the “Data Submission Policy” column to find data submission instructions for each repository.

    Registry of Research Data Repositories
    Global registry of research data repositories covering a wide range of disciplines from around the world. Allows researchers to search for repositories by field of study and identify relevant polices and terms of use.
    Searchable database of three interlinked registries: standards (a registry of data terminology, standards, and schemas), databases (a registry of data repositories and knowledgebases) and policies (a registry of funder and publisher data management and sharing policies).

    Global directory of open access repositories that provide free, open access to academic outputs and resources. All entries are reviewed by an editorial team for quality assurance. Use advanced search to filter by discipline, repository type, or content type.

    Open Access Directory
    List of open access data repositories by discipline maintained by Simmons College.

  • If no appropriate field-specific repository is available, researchers can submit their data to a general repository. General repositories accept data regardless of data type, format, content, or disciplinary focus. For more information, see the Generalist Repository Comparison Chart.

    Free data repository hosted by Harvard for sharing, archiving, and exploring research data. Open to all researchers from any discipline. 

    Open-source, community-led data curation, publishing, and preservation platform for publicly available research data. 

    Free, open access data repository where researchers can preserve and share their research outputs, including figures, datasets, images, and videos.

    Mendeley Data
    Free and secure cloud-based communal repository where researchers can store and share their data. 

    Open Science Framework
    Free, open access repository and project management platform that enables collaboration and supports the entire research lifecycle: planning, execution, reporting, archiving, and discovery. Features include automated versioning, logging of all actions, collaboration support, free and unlimited file storage, registrations, and connections to other tools/services.

    Global data repository dedicated to the sharing, analysis, and reuse of clinical research data. 

    General-purpose open repository operated by CERN that allows researchers to deposit research papers, datasets, software, reports, and related outputs.

  • If no field-specific or general repository is available, researchers can submit their data to their local institutional repository. Institutional repositories are repositories that collect, preserve, and disseminate the research output of a particular institution.

    SOAR: Scholarly Open Access at Rutgers
    Institutional repository dedicated to collecting and providing free public access to Rutgers research and scholarship. Works submitted by researchers are made available through the SOAR research portal and indexed by Google and other search engines where they can be discovered and read by researchers worldwide. Because SOAR only accepts files up to 5 GB, it is typically only used to store small supplementary datasets that support deposited publications.

  • When choosing a data repository, researchers should consider the following characteristics:

    • Unique persistent identifiers
      Assigns a citable unique identifier (such as a DOI) to support data discovery and reporting.
    • Long-term sustainability
      Long-term plan for managing data integrity, authenticity, and availability backed by a stable technical infrastructure and funding.
    • Metadata
      Ensures datasets are accompanied by sufficient metadata to enable discovery, reuse, and citation.
    • Curation & quality assurance
      Provides expertise to improve the accuracy and integrity of datasets and metadata.
    • Free and easy access
      Provides broad, equitable, and open access to datasets and their metadata free of charge and consistent with legal and ethical limits, Tribal sovereignty, and protection of other sensitive data.
    • Broad and measured reuse
      Makes datasets and their metadata available with broadest possible terms of reuse, and provides the ability to measure attribution, citation, and reuse of data.
    • Clear use guidance
      Provides accompanying documentation describing terms of dataset access and use.
    • Secure
      Has documented measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to, modification of, or release of data, with levels of security commensurate with the sensitivity of data.
    • Confidentiality
      Has documented capabilities for ensuring that administrative, technical, and physical safeguards are employed to comply with applicable confidentiality, risk management, and continuous monitoring requirements for sensitive data.
    • Common format
      Access to data and metadata from the repository is formatted in widely used, non-proprietary formats.
    • Provenance
      Records the origin, chain of custody, and any modifications to submitted datasets and metadata.
    • Retention policy
      Provides documentation on policies for data retention within the repository.