Depending on the research discipline, data can often be deposited in one or more data centres (or repositories) that will provide access to the data.

What is a digital repository?

A digital repository differs from other digital collections in that: "content is deposited in a repository, whether by the content creator, owner or third party; the repository architecture manages content as well as metadata; the repository offers a minimum set of basic services e.g. put, get, search, access control; the repository must be sustainable and trusted, well-supported and well-managed."
(Digital Repositories Review, Heery and Anderson, 2005)

They maintain, and disseminate digital materials for a given community. Some communities are organised by subject (e.g. archaeological data, historical analyses, chemistry data, etc) while others are organised by institution (e.g. materials from members of a university, usually focused on publications and theses rather than data).

When software and hardware advance, repositories work to move digital materials into new formats so that they stay usable. Repositories also provide support for documenting and annotating (‘metadata’) and many provide additional services such as advice and assistance with data management, formats, security, and intellectual property rights concerns.

Benefits of digital repositories

  • Raise the impact of your research. Digital repositories allow you to make data easily accessible to more people than ever before.
    The more people who can use your data, the more public good it can do and the more it can do to enrich your field of research. Open online access makes new collaborations and uses of data possible. In some areas (e.g. archaeological excavation), the data is often unique and many researchers feel a moral compunction to make it available to others and, of course, to ensure its long-term preservation.
  • Raise your research profile.
    The more other researchers cite your data, the more they will know and admire your work. As the trend toward online open access rises, the prestige associated with data citations is growing. In addition, making some data available can increase the credibility of your analyses.
  • Keep your data safe and readable in the long term.
    Many researchers hold on to an old computer from a decade or two ago because it is the only way to access their old files, created in formats that are now obsolete. Once these computers break, the files are essentially lost. Many repositories store and back up your treasured research products and will, if appropriate file formats are used, attempt to move the data into new file formats as the original formats become obsolete. So long as the repository exists, your materials will remain readable and usable.
  • Your funder may require it.
    This is more and more common. You can find summary of funders’ open access requirements using the SHERPA/JULIET database. Even if your funder does not require that you deposit your data, a plan to deposit your data may strengthen your bid.

Courtesy of University of Cambridge 

The Leicester Research Archive (LRA)

The University requires that all research publications are deposited with the LRA. The University also requires that all doctoral students submit a copy of their final thesis to the LRA.

Most of the UK research councils, and some major grant making bodies now require grant holders to make resulting publications available via open access.

How to submit publications to the LRA.

Integrated Research Information System (IRIS)

IRIS is the University of Leicester’s research information management system. It is linked to the University's external open-access research repository (LRA), facilitating data submission.

IRIS enables data on all aspects of academic activities to be captured, linked, used and reused in many ways, including for REF2014 and departmental monitoring.

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