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Data sharing

Learn the what, when, where, and how of data sharing.

Visual guide to choosing a repository

The graphic below will guide you through choosing a data repository. All information in the graphic along with further details are available further down this page.

Graphic workflow describing how to choose a repository. The details of this graphic are provided in text form elsewhere on this page.

Funder- or publisher-required repository

Some funding agencies or publishers will require you to use a specific repository for your research data. Some of these repositories are integrated with publisher workflows, are supported by the funding agencies themselves, or are simply the preferred repository for research in your domain.


How do you know if there is a repository you are required to use? 

  • For publishers, check the submission guidelines for your journal or publisher.
  • For funders, check the requirements for your funding agency. SPARC is a good place to check policies from US federal funding agencies.


The FAIRSharing website allows you to search for policies from international funding agencies, regulators, journals, and other organizations. 


Domain-specific repository

If your publisher or funder does not require you to use a specific repository, the next option is to look for a repository that is tailored to the type of data that you have.

Look for repositories that are:

  • preferred by your research community,
  • specific to the subject area of your research: e.g. aeronautics, biomedical, ecology,
  • specific to the format of your data: e.g. RNA-seq, fMRI, geospatial,
  • specific to the species of your data: e.g. S. cerevisiae, Xenopus laevis, human,
  • specific to some other characteristic of your data, or
  • places where someone interested in the type of data you have will be likely to look for it.


Search, a global registry of research data repositories, to find a domain-specific repository suitable for your needs.

Stanford Digital Repository: Stanford's institutional repository

The Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), Stanford's institutional repository or IR, is an excellent choice for Stanford researchers who are not required to use another repository and for whom there is no appropriate domain-specific repository.

Depositing your work in the SDR ensures that  your work is preserved into the future for long-term discovery and access. We'll assign it a persistent URL (PURL), and a DOI if you wish, and make it easy for other researchers anywhere in the world to find, cite, and reuse. 


Reasons why your colleagues choose the SDR:

  • A Stanford service designed for the needs of Stanford researchers. We are not a for-profit company, nor are we a non-profit with an uncertain future. You can trust that your content will be safe with us.
  • Flexible licensing with many choices. Many repositories require a CC0 or CC-BY license that you may not be apply because of the source(s) of your work. The SDR offers many license options.
  • Free to the Stanford community.
  • No need to set up an account. Access is via SUNet ID login.
  • Large deposits are welcome. Please contact us if you have more than 1TB or 100,000 files that you need to deposit.
  • Delay downloading of the files via embargo. Deposit your work with an embargo when you have it ready. Downloading is automatically permitted at a future date that you designate. 
  • Choose to allow downloading only by others at Stanford.


Depositing to the SDR is restricted to Stanford researchers only. A valid SUNet ID is required to access our online deposit application. Content in the SDR can be made publicly-available to anyone in the world.

All SDR depositors are required to agree to the Terms of Deposit. You may download the SDR Terms of Deposit (pdf) at any time, or view them in our online deposit application as part of the deposit process.

Please see Understanding the SDR Terms of Deposit for further information.


For those who wish to designate the SDR as your repository in a data management plan, we are providing the following text describing the service and how your data will be safeguarded and made accessible. We recommend you copy and paste this text directly into your data management plan's section on data preservation.

"Data will be preserved and made publicly available via the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), a service built and run by Stanford Libraries. Datasets and other content in any format can be deposited into the SDR and made available immediately to the world via open access licenses and at no cost to the end user. Depositors can choose to have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) assigned to their dataset, which is available at a persistent URL along with the required metadata describing the content. ORCID iDs may be included for every author. Datasets are replicated multiple times and stored in geo-diverse locations on different media types, providing long-term data management and data integrity. The stable technical infrastructure and dedicated staffing by digital preservation experts, funded by the University, ensures the long-term availability of the datasets."

Note that this language is available within the Data Management Planning Tool, if you opt to use that method for writing your data management plan.

Generalist repository

If none of the options above are appropriate for your data, a generalist repository may be right for you. Generalist repositories like Dryad, Figshare, and Zenodo tend to accept any kind of data from any discipline. Be sure to check for size limits, licensing options, fees for larger deposits and other policies or features important to you.

Stanford's Lane Library provides free access to Dryad for all members of the Stanford community.