Data access/availability statements
What is a data access/availability statement?
Data access statements, also known as data availability statements, are used in publications to describe where supporting data can be found and under what conditions they can be accessed.
Why do you need a data access statement?
Research data can include data, models, records, files, samples, and other evidence on which research conclusions are based. Data access statements fulfil the requirement for openness and transparency in research, ensuring that researchers think about the data they create as a valuable research output and also how others can access it (where appropriate).
Data access statements are a requirement of many research funders’ data policies and are a requirement of the RCUK Policy on Open Access (Section 3.3 (ii)). It is important to note that the RCUK policy does not require that data must be made open.
In addition, publishers are increasingly expecting authors of research papers to provide an accessibility statement and link to the dataset. Examples of this include:
Example data access statements
This is a good example of data access statement from a PLOS one paper
Data availability: All relevant data are available from the Figshare database, under the DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1372470
The University of Bristol Research Data Management service provides examples of different types of data access statements.
EPSRC data access statement in published papers The EPSRC have stated that all published research papers should include a short statement describing how and on what terms the supporting research data may be accessed.
This expectation applies to all papers which acknowledge EPSRC funding with a publication date after 1 May 2015. The EPSRC will be auditing papers which acknowledge their funding, to check that they include a data access statement.
Statements need to include a persistent URL (e.g. a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)) which links directly to the dataset or to supporting documentation that describes the data in detail, how it may be accessed and any constraints that may apply. If compelling legal or ethical reasons exist to protect access to the data these should be noted in the statement.
It should be noted that a ‘contact the author’ type of instruction is not acceptable and would not be sufficient to ensure compliance with EPSRC expectations.
In order to comply with your funder and publisher, remember to:
- obtain a Digital Object Identifier or persistent URL from an appropriate repository to include in the data statement
- check whether your journal has a data availability statement policy and particular house style
- decide on the wording of your data availability statement
For further advice contact the Research Data Management Helpdesk: