Data access statements (DAS), also known as data availability statements, are used in publications to describe where data directly supporting the publication can be found and under what conditions they can be accessed.
Data access statements are required for all publications arising from publicly funded research. They are written into many funders data or open access policies. For example, the UKRI Open Access Policy (§14 and Annex 1 §7-13) states that "UKRI requires in-scope research articles to include a data access statement, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible".
Some funders have indicated that they now check for the inclusion of a DAS in publications that acknowledge their support. Welcome Trust provide extended guidance to their funded researchers on how to write a DAS, including examples of good practice.
The aim of the DAS is discoverability - the data referenced by the statement do not have to be openly available. There are many reasons why access to data should be restricted and if you are unsure about whether you should publish your data openly please email us for advice.
Authors and readers benefit from DAS as they increase research transparency, allow compliance with data policies, promote good scientific practice. This includes facilitating data validation, easing the reuse of information and improving proper citation of scientific works. It is good practice to include a DAS even if there is no data underpinning the research output.
Many journal publishers also recommend or require the inclusion of data access statements. Some provide explicit guidance on the authors’ instructions pages (e.g. Taylor and Francis ,Springer Nature:)
Where to provide the data access statement
Some journals now provide a distinct section dedicated to the DAS. The heading of the section could read Data Availability, Availability of Data and Materials, Data Availability Statement, etc. Where no such section exists, we suggest that you include the data access statement with the acknowledgement of funder support and before the references list.
The DAS should be included in submitted manuscripts, even if identifiers have not yet been issued. The statement should be updated to include any persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI) or accession numbers as they become available, typically when the manuscript is accepted for publication.
A formal data citation, ideally following the Force 11 data citation principles, can also be included either with the main references or in a specified data citation section. Most research data repositories will provide a citation recommendation that you can use.
What to include in the data access statement
The final decision on wording the data access statement rests with the author, but here are some suggestions for what to include in the data access statement.
- If data are openly available the name(s) of the data repositories should be provided, as well as any persistent identifiers or accession numbers for the dataset.
- If there are justifiable legal or ethical reasons why your data cannot be made available, these should be included in the data access statement.
- If the data themselves are not openly available, the data access statement should direct users to a permanent record that describes any access constraints or conditions that must be satisfied for access to be granted.
- It is important that any links to the data are persistent - see separate document about obtaining a persistent URL.
- If you did not collect the research data yourself but instead used existing data obtained from another source, this source should be credited.
A simple direction to interested parties to contact the author would not normally be considered sufficient.
Example data access statements
Please note that to prevent creating bias in metrics monitoring DOI resolutions, the URLs used in these examples are not genuine.
Depending on the nature of your data you may wish to combine information from different examples. Please contact email@example.com if you need additional help with structuring your data access statement.
Openly available data
"All data created during this research are openly available from the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.00000154 "
"All data supporting this study are provided as supplementary information accompanying this paper."
"All data are provided in full in the results section of this paper."
"Expression data are openly available from ArrayExpress (Accession E-MTAB-01234 at https://www.ebi.ac.uk/arrayexpress/experiments/E-MTAB-01234/). Crystal structures are available from the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre at https://doi.org/10.15125/010203. Microscopy images are openly available from Dryad at https://doi.org/10.15125/01234."
Citation of multiple datasets
"This publication is supported by multiple datasets, which are openly available at locations cited in the reference section."
Secondary analysis of existing data
"This study was a re-analysis of existing data that are publicly available from EMBL at https://doi.org/10.15125/12345"
"The study brought together existing data obtained upon request and subject to licence restrictions from a number of different sources cited in the reference section of this paper."
"Anonymised interview transcripts from participants who consented to data sharing, plus other supporting information, are available from the UK Data Service, subject to registration, at https://doi.org/10.15125/12345."
"Due to ethical concerns, supporting data cannot be made openly available. Further information about the data and conditions for access are available at the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.12345678"
"Due to the (commercially, politically, ethically) sensitive nature of the research, no interviewees consented to their data being retained or shared. Additional details relating to other aspects of the data are available from the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.12345678"
"Supporting data are available to bona fide researchers, subject to registration, from the UK Data Service at https://doi.org/10.15125/12345."
"Supporting data will be available from the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.12345678 after a six-month embargo from the date of publication to allow for commercialisation of research findings."
"Due to confidentiality agreements with research collaborators, supporting data can only be made available to bona fide researchers subject to a non-disclosure agreement. Details of the data and how to request access are available at the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.12345678"
"Non-digital data supporting this study are stored by the corresponding author at the University of Birmingham. Details of how to request access to these data are provided in the documentation available from the UBIRA eData repository at https://doi.org/10.25500/eData.bham.12345678"
No new data created
"No new data were created during this study."
Acknowledgement: this guidance uses significant material from the University of Bath, for which we are grateful.
See also examples of genuine data access statements, and poor and insufficient statements.
Page last updated 16 March 2022.