When you publish links to your data online, you want to make sure that information will always be correct. If you publish your data in a place that's not going to be accessible in the future, others may discover that their efforts to find, view, and reuse your data are futile.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that you share your data using a trusted digital repository, instead of sharing data via personal or research group websites.
The case study below is a perfect example of this.
In 2009, former Stanford researcher Malin Pinsky published an article in the journal Conservation Biology. The article linked to his personal web space at Stanford, from which an additional list of sources and a database with citations could be downloaded.
When Malin left Stanford, his web space at Stanford was permanently disabled. The links in the Conservation Biology article no longer directed researchers to the data they were looking for. Instead, they saw only the message above that the page was not found. Contacting the site administrator or HelpSU as suggested would not have gotten anyone the data, because it was no longer there.
Malin's data files were some of the first research deposited in the Stanford Digital Repository. The files are now available on their own persistent URL (PURL) page, so Malin's data will be accessible for a long time to come, no matter where he heads to next. (We even got the published link redirected to the PURL!)
If you have data that you would like to make easily accessible to others now and in the future, contact us about using the Stanford Digital Repository.
* Article reference: Pinsky, M. L., Springmeyer, D. B., Goslin, M. N. and Augerot, X. (2009), Range-Wide Selection of Catchments for Pacific Salmon Conservation. Conservation Biology, 23: 680–691. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01156.x. Available at https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01156.x