Background: I am a PhD student and am one step away from graduating. I have created a dataset in 3D microscopy vision, particularly 3D surface reconstruction from scanning electron microscope images, and the work has been already published in a highly respected journal. I would like to share the dataset with the research community to draw attention and possibly evaluate the contribution(s).

Question: I am wondering what are the typical channels that scholars use to share datasets?

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    That's very broad - there are lots of channels. Questions that ask for recommendations for a particular resource (aka "shopping questions") are off-topic, as are big-list questions. – EnergyNumbers Dec 9 '15 at 7:16
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    I find this question pretty useful. – Dirk Dec 9 '15 at 9:08
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    @Dirk: It certainly is useful, but I doubt it is a question that can have one correct answer equally valid across all fields. For example, in some fields, providing a dataset is considered a kind of a contribution of its own that warrants a particular type of article. For fields that do not have this kind of a channel, answers will be very different. – O. R. Mapper Dec 9 '15 at 17:26
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    @O.R.Mapper I share your view that there is not a single correct answer. However, as the answers indicate, there are standard ways to share scientific data and even platforms that are used by many different fields. As I perceive the usage of this site, questions with answers depending on the field are usually welcome (even more if the field is specified, but also otherwise). – Dirk Dec 10 '15 at 8:23
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    @O.R.Mapper From this answer I understand that questions asking "Is there a good way to do X?" (in contrast to "Can you list options for X?") should be ok here. – Dirk Dec 10 '15 at 8:30

Although I think the first thing is to talk to your institute, and if they already have a platform or webpage to share data, use that one in the first place.

You also could use figshare, datahub, or zenodo to share your data. Actually the OpenData SE site opened a datahub site for OpenData SE, see this question: How do I share Open Data with others on this SE site?

Furthermore, Open Data commons has some good information on how to share data, and what licenses to use. Also see: How can I Share my Data Sets Without Worrying About Copyright Issues?

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    +1, particularly for the first point. Even when your institute does not have a service, they may have an existing agreement with a trusted third party which won't cost you anything. In addition, talk to your funder - some funding bodies maintain their own data hosting services or have existing arrangements. – Andrew Dec 12 '15 at 12:11
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    For people who care about this kind of thing: Figshare is commercial, Zenodo is run by CERN and thus noncommercial (and they also have a plan about what happens with your data should they ever shut down). DataHub is in alpha as of August 2017 and seems to have an early access program going - they are run by Open Knowledge International and also seem to be noncommercial, but not geared towards scientific data specifically. – malexmave Aug 19 '17 at 9:59

You could just host the data on your own university homepage but I would not encourage this. You can not guarantee stable a URL or long-term support. A website of your institute or a project website would be a bit better but still, long term support is not guaranteed.

You may want to check out Harvard Dataverse at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/. It seems to cover many different fields and provides dois (i.e. permanent links) which make the dataset citable.


I've would prefer ResearchGate to make datasets publicly available in addition to your publications. ResearchGate also has the option to generate a DOI for the same. This would hence also increase the visibility of your research.

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    There is actually an old ResearchGate question about this suggestion. – agold Dec 10 '15 at 16:49
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    Why would you prefer ResearchGate? They have a terrible reputation for shadiness and spamming. – MJeffryes Dec 10 '15 at 16:51
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    No. No, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not. Do not post your data set on a site that spams its user base. – JeffE Dec 10 '15 at 18:03
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    @JeffE: Could you explain more about the spamming, I'm intrigued to know. – Ébe Isaac Dec 10 '15 at 18:28
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    ResearchGate are a commercial company with no clear method so far for making money. At some point, they're going to make a grab and try to monetise whatever you do there, and it'll be a mess; there's no guarantee that your content will remain there or remain accessible. This is leaving aside the spamming problems that Jeff alludes to. – Andrew Dec 10 '15 at 18:36

You have also Kaggle.com where you can publish your datasets. It allows users to find and publish data sets in a web-based data-science platform. On an early post you can find more debate regarding a more specific question to it.

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