Choose a Repository


Choose a Repository

How to choose a repository?

There exists a lot of data repositories. Some are repositories are specific to certain disciplines or location, other are more general.

[upcoming: list of disciplinary/thematic data repositories]

In choosing your data repository, we first suggest you to look at the criteria set by your fundraiser. But other criteria are important to take into account. Here is a list of criteria that should hold your attention.

  • Does it provide a persistent identifier?

This is a crucial point: when you’ll get a persistent identifier (PI), like DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for your data, people will be able to find it and access to it easily, two main points of the FAIR data principles, encouraged by the scientific community. Moreover, people reading or using your data will cite you, just like they cite your papers. This will get you credit for your data work and your research career.

  • Is long-term preservation guaranteed or not?
    Some repositories will guarantee the legibility of the data, even if the hardware and software become obsolete. Also consider the period of time that you want your data to be persevered. For example, your fundraiser or the Journal in which you published an article may have guidelines on the amount of time required. This time period may also depend on your discipline: some data became obsolete quicker than others. Some data are, on the contrary, worthy to be stored for the long run.
  • What are the costs per dataset or gigabyte?
    Repositories differ in their cost model, some allow free deposits up to a certain amount of storage. Note that some fundraisers allow you to take this amount of money into account in your project’s budget.
  • What is the physical storage location of data?
    The location of your data determines under which data protection law it falls. Some repositories store data in the US and others in the EU. For now, there are no generic Belgian data repository.
  • What is the default license?
    Some repositories allow for open or restricted access, or you can specify which license for use you want for your data. Please check the condition of the repository you consider. If you may choose the type of license of your data, we advise you to take one of the Creative Common license that are summarized below


  • Is the repository certificed?
    Repositories with a Data Seal of Approval or CoreTrustSeal are recognised in the community as a trustworthy source of data. Check this information in looking at the repositories you consider.


The general steps for finding a data repository are:

  1. Use a disciplinary repository if there is one; you may use the portal to find out. As we recommend to use certificated repositories, you may filter on “Certificate” and look for the red icon. also give you information of the provision of a persistent identifier.
  2. Use the catch-all repository Zenodo, maintained by CERN;

(sources: Utrecht University checklist)