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Data Information Specialists Committee UK



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DataShare ProjectDataShare

March 2007 - July 2009
Funded by JISC Digital Repositories and Preservation Programme


The final report and executive summary are both available, as is the project self-evaluation. A key deliverable of the project was Policy-making for Research Data in Repositories: A Guide.

The DISC-UK DataShare project, led by EDINA and the Edinburgh University Data Library, with partners at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, has advanced the current provision of repository services for accommodating datasets in the UK. With three institutions taking part, a range of exemplars has emerged from the establishment of institutional data repositories and related services based on open source platforms. The approach took a major turn midway through when an apparent solution to the problem of lack of voluntary deposits arose, in the form of the Data Audit Framework.

Briefing papers, conference presentations, posters, the blog and website drew attention to key themes including data publishing, open data and licensing issues, data management, scientific metadata, policy development, disciplinary differences and country comparisons.

Key conclusions: 1) Data management motivation is a better bottom-up driver for researchers than data sharing but is not sufficient to create culture change, 2) Data librarians, data managers and data scientists can help bridge communication between repository managers & researchers, 3) institutional repositories can improve impact of sharing data over the internet.

Rationale  |  Aims & objectives  |  Partnership


DISC-UK DataShare, led by EDINA, arose from an existing UK consortium of data support professionals working in departments and academic libraries in universities (Data Information Specialists Committee-UK), and built on an international network with a tradition of data sharing and data archiving dating back to the 1960s in the social sciences. By working together across four universities and internally with colleagues already engaged in managing open access repositories for e-prints, this partnership introduced and tested new models of data sharing and archiving to UK research institutions. By supporting academics within the four partner institutions who wish to share datasets on which written research outputs are based, this network of institution-based data repositories has developed a niche model for deposit of ‘orphaned datasets’ heretofore filled neither by centralised subject-domain data archives/centres/grids nor by e-print based institutional repositories (IRs).

Aims & objectives

The project's overall aim was to contribute to new models, workflows and tools for academic data sharing within a complex and dynamic information environment which included increased emphasis on stewardship of institutional knowledge assets of all types; new technologies to enhance e-Research; new research council policies and mandates; and the growth of the Open Access / Open Data movement.


  1. Build capacity of institutional repositories in UKHE to respond to the unique requirements of research datasets as a new 'document type'
  2. Use a range of open source software repository solutions - Eprints, DSpace, Fedora - to provide exemplars and add-on tools for managing datasets as institutional repository items
  3. Produce and disseminate findings - in cooperation with the Repositories Support Project (RSP) and the Repositories Research Team (RRT) - to inform library and repository managers about the organisational and technical issues associated with the deposit of research data
  4. Work with the RSP, Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and others to identify training needs and solutions for increasing skills of information professionals in UKHE for managing research data


The DataShare project was based on a distributed model in which each participating partner was responsible for the work on their own repositories, yet experience, support and knowledge were shared in order to increase levels of success. This built on the existing informal collaboration of DISC-UK members for improving their data libraries and models of data support at each institution. It also brought academic data libraries in closer contact with e-Prints repository managers and developed new forms of cooperation between these distinct groups of information professionals within academic environments. The advantage for the broader community was to provide exemplars for a range of approaches and policies in which to embed the deposit and stewardship of datasets in IRs. These were demonstrated using the three main repository solutions in the UK: EPrints, DSpace and Fedora.

thumbnail diagram View diagram of project partner institution's repository experience.

For more information pertaining to the project, please browse the website or contact the project manager.


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