Where do I submit my data?
No matter how small-scale your research, you can contribute to the public record by submitting your data to appropriate public databases. This is typically done through dedicated submission tools. If you want to submit your data to EMBL-EBI but don’t know where to start, there is a wizard to help you decide which database to submit your data to. The vast majority of public databases also have help pages and helpdesk staff who are there to assist you.
When is open sharing not appropriate?
There are two major reasons that you might frequently come across for not openly sharing data:
- To protect the individual: any data relating to identifiable individuals is sensitive and should be protected by ethical policies. You can learn much more about this in our Biomedical data: Ethical, legal and social implications course. These data can still be shared in databases such as the European Genome-Phenome Archive, but researchers wishing to access them must apply to the relevant ethics committee for permission to gain access to the data for their research.
- To protect intellectual property or other competitive information. If data are potentially commercially applicable (let’s say, for example, that you have been modelling the docking of Zika virus onto transmembrane proteins and think you have evidence for a cell-surface-based target for therapy), the data can still be made publicly available but they should be protected first through appropriate patents.