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Research Data Management: Top tips for sharing data

Guidance and support to staff, researchers and students at the University of Southampton

Top Tips on Managing Access

To manage access to your data you need to:

  • Create a record in the datasets module in PURE, this will then feed into eprints Soton, the University of Southampton data repository
  • Choose a managed storage location for the data, and link the location to the record
  • Consider conditions (regulatory, funding, contractual) that apply to the type of data created, e.g. sensitive, and designate the appropriate level of access
  • Consult the University policy 
  • Check funder policy (see Digital Curation Centre Funders' data policies)

For all data, care should be taken that access can be maintained in line with University and Funder requirements, whether stored locally or externally including any private storage locations.

By following these actions you will have complied with the policy requirements, have convenient access to your data and be able to control access by others, and you will be ready to get the benefits of data sharing.

README files

It is good practice to have a README file to accompany your dataset.  A README file should be a txt file and should contain the following information as a minimum:

  • Name/institution/address/email information for Research Group or Principal investigator or person responsible for collecting the data
  • Date of data collection (can be a single date, or a range)
  • Information about geographic location of data collection (if applicable)
  • Licenses or restrictions placed on the data
  • Links to publications that cite or use the data
  • Method description, links or references to publications or other documentation containing experimental design or protocols used in data collection (if applicable)
  • Any relationships between the data files
  • For each filename, a short description of what data it contains
  • For tabular data, definitions of column headings and row labels, data codes (including missing data) and measurement units (or embed those in the tabular file)
  • Definitions for codes or symbols used to record missing data
  • Specialized formats or abbreviations used

These records have examples of ReadMe files:

We would recommend the following guides to writing README files:

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