eLife Latest: Criteria for data repository selection

FAIRsharing and DataCite have joined forces with a group of publisher representatives, including eLife, to develop criteria for identifying and selecting data repositories.

This blog reports on a joint activity between FAIRsharing, DataCite and a group of journals and publishers. It has been cross published elsewhere and was contributed by Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Peter McQuilton, Helena Cousijn, Matthew Cannon, Wei Mun Chan, Ilaria Carnevale, Imogen Cranston, Scott Edmunds, Nicholas Everitt, Emma Ganley, Chris Graf, Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Varsha K. Khodiyar, Thomas Lemberger, Catriona J. MacCallum, Kiera McNeice, Hollydawn Murray, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Kathryn Sharples, Marina Soares E Silva and Jonathan Threlfall.

Publishers and journals are developing data policies to ensure that datasets, as well as other digital products associated with articles, are deposited and made accessible via appropriate repositories, also in line with the FAIR Principles. With thousands of options available, however, the lists of deposition repositories recommended by publishers are often different and consequently the guidance provided to authors may vary from journal to journal. This is due to a lack of common criteria used to select the data repositories, but also to the fact that there is still no consensus of what constitutes a good data repository.

To tackle this, FAIRsharing and DataCite have joined forces with a group of publisher representatives, including eLife, who are actively implementing data policies and recommending data repositories to researchers.

The result of our work is a set of proposed criteria that journals and publishers believe are important for the identification and selection of data repositories, which can be recommended to researchers when they are preparing to publish the data underlying their findings.

Our work intends to:

  • reduce complexity for researchers when preparing their submissions to journals,
  • increase efficiency for data repositories that currently have to work with all individual publishers
  • simplify the process of recommending data repositories for publishers

Our work will make the implementation of research data policies more efficient and consistent, which may help to improve approaches to data sharing by promoting the use of reliable data repositories.

Although we recognise that researchers and other stakeholders play a role in the research data life cycle, in this first instance the target audience for our work are other journals and publishers, repository developers and maintainers, certification and other evaluation initiatives, and other policy makers.

This proposed criteria are intended to:

  • guide journals and publishers in providing authors with consistent recommendations and guidance on data deposition, and improve authors’ data sharing practices
  • reduce potential for confusion of researchers and support staff, and reduce duplication of effort by different publishers and data repositories
  • inform data repository developers and managers of the features believed to be important by journals and publishers
  • apprise certification and other evaluation initiatives, serving as a reference and perspective from journals and publishers
  • drive the curation of the description of the data repository in FAIRsharing, which will enable display, filter and search based on these criteria

We invite you to read the full preprint article that describes our work, its motivation and its relations to other initiatives, and to provide us with feedback via this form.


We welcome comments/questions from researchers as well as other journals. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

For the latest in published research sign up for our weekly email alerts. You can also follow @eLife on Twitter.