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Research Data Management

Data access statements

Writing a data access statement

All research papers should tell the reader how the underlying data can be accessed, either in a "data access statement" in the acknowledgements or with a simple citation. This is mandatory if you have funding from bodies such as RCUK councils or the EC. You must include a statement even if your data isn’t publicly accessible or you didn’t create new data. (Wondering why statements are needed? We discuss the reasoning in our blog post on data statements.) 

The simplest way to comply

  1. Put your data file(s) on CORD, our institutional data repository (see Using CORD for guidance) – you can reserve a DOI for your dataset without making it public, saving your record as a draft. 

  2. Use this DOI in a data access statement saying: "Data underlying this study can be accessed through the Cranfield University repository at https://doi.org/10.17862..." appending the URL with the DOI you have reserved for your record). Or, you can just cite this record in your references.

Don’t forget to publish your dataset when your article is published! While your data on CORD is draft, the URL in the data statement won’t take people to the data, but if the peer reviewers ask to see it, it can be shared using the ‘private link’ option. 

Watch our "5 steps to compliance with RCUK research data policy" summary video (2min43):

More data statement examples

  • When you didn't create data: "No new data were collected in the course of this research."
  • When your data can't be made openly accessible, the reason must be given and justified (as covered by your data management plan). The descriptive record may still be published and linked to, but the files would only be released under certain conditions. The statement may then say:
    • "Due to confidentiality agreements with research collaborators, supporting data can only be made available to [bona fide researchers subject to a non-disclosure agreement / upon reasonable request and with permission of the collaborator]. Details of the data and how to request access are available at https://doi.org/10.... ."
    • "Due to the (commercially, politically, ethically) sensitive nature of the research, no interviewees consented to their data being retained or shared."
    • "The data used in this article is described in CORD at https://doi.org/10...; it is subject to an embargo, and will [be available from/be reviewed on] 1 March 2019".
  • When you reanalysed data: "This study was a re-analysis of existing data that are publicly available from [organisation] at [URL]."
  • When your data is in an external repository: "All data supporting this study are openly available from the [funder/subject] repository at https://doi.org/10.... ."
  • When all your data is in the article: "All data are provided in full in the results section of this paper." / "All data supporting this study are provided as supplementary information accompanying this paper." NB. This is rare. Especially if your data is tables/graphs/images, they still also need depositing to CORD - see our discussion of supplementary information.

Please note that if you do need to restrict access, a CORD record is usually still required to describe the data and restriction. Contact the Research Data Manager to discuss your needs and with any questions on data deposits or data statements.