Open research data: which data repositories can be used?

To support researchers in their search for suitable platforms, the SNSF has published a list of data repositories that meet the ORD policy criteria.

FAIR is a set of guiding principles to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. Finding the "perfect" repository providing all necessary features to host FAIR data can be challenging. Moreover, there is currently no official FAIR certification to facilitate the selection of trustworthy data repositories that comply with the FAIR data principles.

To make the transition towards FAIR research data easier, the SNSF decided to define a set of minimum criteria that repositories have to fulfil to conform with its ORD policy. In particular, these criteria require that a persistent and unique identifier (PID) such as a DOI or an ARK be assigned to the dataset and that the data repository allow structured and machine-readable metadata to be uploaded. Metadata must always be publicly accessible (even for data with restricted access, e.g. sensitive data) and the conditions for data reuse (i.e. licences) must be clearly defined. Ideally the data repository should have a long-term data preservation plan.

Based on the SNSF monitoring report on Open Research Data, which was published in February 2020 and analysed the data management plans (DMPs) of over 1,500 funded applications, the SNSF has listed on its ORD webpage the data repositories most frequently used by the Swiss research community that also fulfil the SNSF’s ORD criteria. The list is intended as guidance to researchers in Switzerland, indicating where their peers share their data. Other data repositories may also be used, provided that they comply with the FAIR data principles.

A landscape still in development

The list provided by the SNSF is indicative, consisting of the data repositories most frequently mentioned in the DMPs submitted since implementation of the ORD policy. In the meantime, many initiatives have emerged and a national open research data strategy has been commissioned by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The SNSF will follow these developments closely and adapt its recommendations accordingly.