Data Repository Guidance

Scientific Data mandates the release of datasets accompanying our Data Descriptors, but we do not ourselves host data. Instead, we ask authors to submit datasets to an appropriate public data repository. Data should be submitted to discipline-specific, community-recognized repositories where possible. Where a suitable discipline-specific resource does not exist, data should be submitted to a generalist repository.

Authors must deposit their data to a data repository as part of the manuscript submission process; manuscripts will not otherwise be sent for review. If data have not been deposited to a repository prior to manuscript submission we offer a service to deposit them at figshare or dryad during the submission process via our article submission platform. Data may also be deposited to these resources temporarily, if the main host repository does not support confidential peer review (see below).

Repositories need to meet our requirements for anonymous peer-review, data access, preservation, resource stability, licences and suitability for use by all researchers with the appropriate types of data:

  • Use open licences (CC0 and CC-BY, or their equivalents, are required in most cases learn more). Exceptions will only be permitted for human derived data that is considered sensitive (e.g. risk of participant identification, controls on specific uses, etc), where we suggest data are shared under Data Usage Agreements (DUAs). We do not typically support the use of more restrictive CC licences - containing SA, NC or ND clauses - for either sensitive or non-sensitive datasets, other than where applied to third party data that has been re-used and the original licence needs to be retained. 
  • Allow public access to data without barriers, such as formal application processes, unless required for sensitive human datasets requiring controlled access and Data Usage Agreements. Note that basic login functionalities, where data are captured for analytics purposes only, are accepted for non-sensitive datasets as long as immediate access is granted to the holder of the email address without manual checks, however we encourage login-free https access without registration in most cases. 
  • All data need to be available for peer review. Where logins or other barriers are required or temporarily applied, routes for confidential peer review of submitted datasets need to be provided that do not reveal the identity of the reviewer to the data owner/author of the associated article. Please consult with the repository to arrange this, or provide the data in a temporary location for peer review. 
  • Ensure long-term persistence and preservation of datasets in their published form. All Data Descriptors need to be associated with live data, so long term preservation and persistence is required to avoid future correction or other action to ensure the integrity of the paper. 
  • Provide stable persistent identifiers for submitted datasets. DOIs are the default for most non-omics datasets described in the journal. 
  • Subject specific repositories that are supported and recognized within their scientific community are strongly encouraged - general repositories should be used where no suitable subject repository is available, or the repository does not meet the requirements above. 

The list below is intended as a guide for those who are unsure where to deposit their data, and provides examples of repositories from a number of disciplines. Please note this list does not constitute a formal or exclusive list of repositories accepted by the journal and there are many more repositories that meet our criteria than we are able to track. The list is no longer updated (since 2021), but is retained as a useful list of suggestions. 

Authors may also wish to use external resources such as DataCite’s Repository Finder and the FAIRsharing registry to find an appropriate repository for their data.

Please note that certain data types (e.g. most omics and cystallographic data) are subject to mandates on which repository should be used. Please see our policy on mandated data types for further informaton.

View data repositories

Biological sciences 

Nucleic acid sequence 

Novel DNA sequence, novel RNA sequence, and novel genome assembly data must be deposited to repositories that are part of the International Nucleotide Sequence Collaboration (INSDC) or to those which are working towards INSDC inclusion (as listed below), unless there are privacy or ethics restrictions that prevent open sharing of such data. These data may in addition be deposited to regional and national repositories as required. For human data that requires special controls, please see our recommended health sciences repositories.

Data types Repository options Data and metadata standards

Raw sequencing data (reads or traces)

Genome assemblies

Annotated sequences

Sample metadata


INSDC repositories

Genome Sequence Archive (GSA)


Browse data and metadata standards endorsed by the Genome Standards Consortium
Genetic variation data

dbSNP (human variations less than 50bp)
dbVar (human variations greater than 50bp)
ClinVar (human genotype & phenotype)
European Variation Archive (EVA) (all species)
Genome Sequence Archive for Human (GSA-Human)


Protein sequence 

Molecular & supramolecular structure 

These repositories accept structural data for small molecules; peptides and proteins (all); and larger assemblies (EMDB).

Small molecule crystallographic data should be uploaded to Dryad or figshare before manuscript submission, and should include a .cif file, and structure factors for each structure. Both the structure factors and the structural output must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine, and a copy of the output must be included at submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported.


These data repositories all accept human-derived data ( and G-Node also accept data from other organisms). Please note that human-subject data submitted to OpenfMRI must be de-identified.


Functional genomics

Functional genomics is a broad experimental category, and Scientific Data's recommendations in this discipline likewise bridge disparate research disciplines. Data should be deposited following the relevant community requirements where possible.

Please refer to the MIAME standard for microarray data. Molecular interaction data should be deposited with a member of the International Molecular Exchange Consortium (IMEx), following the MIMIx recommendations.

For data linking genotyping and phenotyping information in human subjects, we strongly recommend submission to dbGAP, EGA or JGA, which have mechanisms in place to handle sensitive data.

Metabolomics & Proteomics

Metabolomics data should be submitted following the MSI guidelines.

We ask authors to submit proteomics data to members of the ProteomeXchange consortium (listed below), following the MIAPE recommendations.

Taxonomy & species diversity 

Mathematical & modelling resources 

Cytometry and Immunology 


Organism-focused resources 

These resources provide information specific to a particular organism or disease pathogen. They may accept phenotype information, sequences, genome annotations and gene expression patterns, among other types of data. Incorporating data into these resources can be very valuable for promoting reuse within these specific communities; however, where applicable, we ask that data records be submitted both to a community repository and to one suitable for the type of data (e.g. transcriptome profiling; please see above).

Health sciences 

Some of the repositories in this section are suitable for datasets requiring restricted data access, which may be required for the preservation of study participant anonymity in clinical datasets. We suggest contacting repositories directly to determine those with data access controls best suited to the specific requirements of your study.

Chemistry and Chemical biology 

Earth, Environmental and Space sciences 

Broad scope Earth & environmental sciences 

Astronomy & planetary sciences 

Biogeochemistry and Geochemistry 

Climate sciences 


Geomagnetism & Palaeomagnetism 

Ocean sciences 

Solid Earth sciences 


Materials science 

Social sciences 

Generalist repositories 

Scientific Data encourages authors to archive data to one of the above data-type specific repositories where possible. Where a data-type specific repository is not available, the following generalist repositories might be suitable. Generalist repositories may also be appropriate for archiving associated analyses, or experimental-control data, supplementing the primary data in a discipline-specific repository.

The generalist repositories listed below are able to accept data from all researchers, regardless of location or funding source. If your institution has its own generalist data repository this can be used to host your data as long as the repository is able to mint DataCite DOIs, and allows data to be shared under open terms of use (for example the CC0 waiver). Please note that if your chosen repository is unable to support confidential peer-review, you will be asked to temporarily deposit a copy of the dataset to one of our integrated generalist repositories to facilitate review of your article. Upon completion of peer review, the temporary copy will be erased. To use a repository which does not appear in the manuscript submission system, select 'DataCite DOI' as the repository name during the submission process.

Repository Name Information on fees/costs Size limits Integrated with Scientific Data's manuscript submission system Re3data / FAIRSharing entry
Dryad Digital Repository $120 USD for first 20 GB, and $50 USD for each additional 10 GB None stated Yes ✔ view FAIRsharing entry
figshare 100 GB free per Scientific Data manuscript.  1 TB per dataset

Yes ✔ - To qualify for the 100 GB of free storage, data must be uploaded to figshare via our submission system. Download instructions.

view FAIRsharing entry
Harvard Dataverse Contact repository for datasets over 1 TB

2.5 GB per file, 10 GB per dataset

No view re3data entry
Open Science Framework Free of charge 5 GB per file, multiple files can be uploaded No view FAIRsharing entry
Zenodo Donations towards sustainability encouraged 50 GB per dataset No view re3data entry
Science Data Bank Free of charge 8 GB per file, no limit to dataset size No view FAIRsharing entry