Open Data

Open Data – How do I make data publicly available?

The starting points to consider are your: need / want / how

Need: Do I need to provide my data to comply with my funders requirements? This is funder specific but an overview can be found here. In general the idea is to ensure you’re compliant with the funders requirements. This may help you to decide if raw data or post-processed data is more appropriate. The rest is your choice and project specific.

Want: Do I want to make my data publicly available? Yes should be the answer unless you have good reasons not too (eg commercial value or sensitive data).

How: What do I do in order to create publicly available data? It is not that hard but there are a few stages involved which will be the focus of this blog.

Is there a policy for this? Yes. Open Access Research and Research Data Management Policy

Here is a general plan of attack for making open data

  1. Write a data management plan (DMP). This may have already been done for the grant your funded on. An excellent resource for this is the DMP online system. This can be used to write your data plan for a grant for or use it to make own.
  2. Do your research. Write documentation and update your DMP as you generate the data. Plan your meta data.
  3. Submit your paper. In the paper, include a data access statement in your acknowledgement. Wait for the author accepted manuscript or copyright process to begin.
  4. Deposit your data: external repository. Where do we find them? Use this database to search your funder and find the right repositories. For example, if you search NERC in the database or via their website that list the data centres.
  5. If you can’t find a suitable external repository? Then use the internal repository ORE. It can be a little tricky. For your first attempt it is recommended you contact our Research Data Officer Chris ( to discuss your needs and how to do this effectively. If you use ORE, submit the data first and then the journal article (two separate entries). This will help link the two items. The deposit location is here and FAQ
  6. License your data. This will be a creative commons license but with different levels of use. Here is a blog what discusses some on the nuance of the CC licenses.
  7. Get a DOI. This may be through the journal or via the University of Exeter. Once a DOI is issued you can no longer change your data. So do this when your confident the data won’t change for the publication in question. You can get a second one issued if you need but this should be avoided if possible.
  8. When the page editing is occurring, add the DOI to your acknowledgements.


All NERC funding applications must include an outline DMP, and if funding is successful, the outline DMP will then be used by the relevant NERC data centre, in collaboration with the PI, to prepare a full DMP within three months of the start of the grant. At this point, it will be clear as to which datasets will be deposited to the NERC data centre, and if there are any additional datasets that will need to be deposited elsewhere e.g., ORE. If you are currently working on a NERC funded grant, it would be worth looking at the DMP to determine where the data should be deposited. Alternatively, you can always contact the NERC data management coordinator ( to confirm the most appropriate location for your data. If, for whatever reason, the NERC data centre will not accept your data, we would be happy for you to deposit it in ORE.