The King’s Open Research Data System (KORDS) is our new research data repository, providing long-term storage and access for datasets at project-end and supporting publications.
KORDS uses the Figshare data repository platform, providing a simple, self-deposit way for researchers to upload and share their data, and a publicly accessible showcase of datasets from King’s research.
It supports Open Research, enabling researchers to make datasets discoverable, accessible and citeable. All datasets have a DOI and a structured metadata record so that they can be shared and cited when re-used.
Depositing meets the policy requirements of funders for data retention and sharing, and the requirements of many publishers for access to datasets supporting publications.
Click here to see examples of datasets held in KORDS
Who can deposit datasets?
All King’s research staff and PhD students.
When to use it?
Typical use cases are:
What should be deposited?
As well as research datasets, consider depositing accompanying documentation and other outputs which allow your data and research process to be understood, replicated and reused, such as readme files, codebooks, code, software and protocols.
What should not be deposited?
Are all deposited datasets openly accessible?
Not necessarily. Using KORDS allows you to share your datasets openly, and apply commonly standard licences to determine how they can be used and attributed to you. However, it is possible to restrict access to the data files, and metadata record if required, by applying a temporary or permanent embargo.
To discuss KORDS generally, please contact us at email@example.com.
How to get started
Go to kcl.figshare.com and create an account by clicking on ‘Log in’ in the top right corner of the page. You’ll automatically be logged in through Single Sign On and an account created for you.
Once logged in, you’ll see your ‘My data’ area, where you can start the deposit of your dataset.
This guide covers the steps involved to create and publish a dataset help.figshare.com/article/how-to-upload-and-publish-your-data
When you are ready and have ticked ‘Publish’, your dataset will be reviewed by our team before it is published, so we may get in touch with you if we have any questions.
When you publish, you’ll be required to agree to the Data Deposit Agreement.
For any issues with access, log a ticket with the IT Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org including ‘KORDS/Figshare’ in the subject line.
How much space is available?
All accounts have an initial 25GB which can be increased on request using the ‘request more storage’ link in your ‘My data’ area. If you know in advance that you will have require more than 25GB, you can request an increase at any time.
Already have a Figshare account?
It’s no problem to keep that separate, but speak to us if you’d like to claim your Figshare datasets in your KORDS account.
Did your research involve human participants or otherwise involve the collection or use of personal data? If so, before depositing your data, please read the following sections:
What is personal data?
As in the KCL Research Governance pages, Data Protection Law defines personal data as any information about a living person from which they can be identified, directly or indirectly.
Requirements for depositing data in KORDS
When you deposit your data in KORDS, the Data Deposit Agreement will ask you to confirm a number of things related to personal data:
The full data deposit agreement can be found here: Data Deposit Agreement.
To assist you in anonymising your data and to assess whether data incudes any identifying information, we provide links to the following resources:
If you have any questions about anonymisation and whether your data is appropriate to deposit and share, we recommend you contact the Research Governance Office in the first instance, at email@example.com.
Figshare has options to restrict and control access to files and complete records. Where there is a requirement to fully restrict or provide controlled access to datasets - for example, to respect participant consent or agreements with collaborators - Figshare’s ‘Permanent Embargo’ option should be used. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to do this.
In cases where data may be shared under certain conditions, a data sharing agreement should be used, to confirm and formalise the conditions of access. The Research Grants and Contracts Office will be able to advise you about data access agreements. If you do not have your own data access agreement, a template agreement for anonymised data may be provided.
Depositing and giving access to identifiable or otherwise sensitive or confidential data
As described above, Figshare has options to restrict and control access to files and complete records. It is ISO27001 compliant and stores data in the EU, complying with the UK General Data Protection Regulation. Our Data Protection Impact Assessment and processes include the possibility of accepting datasets in KORDS which have reason and the necessary approvals and consents to contain identifiable or otherwise sensitive or confidential information. We are taking a cautious approach to doing this and will assess any such requests on a case-by-case basis. Please contact email@example.com to discuss before uploading your data.
There are a number of factors which can influence your decision whether to retain or dispose of your data once your research project has ended.
Many funders expect data generated during a research project to be preserved and shared (where appropriate) beyond the lifetime of the research project. This does not necessary mean you have to keep all of the data you create or collect. Requirements will vary across funders, but as a general rule you will be expected to preserve:
Just what constitutes "long term value" can be difficult to quantify and will depend upon your own understanding of the data and its potential value to others within and outside your research community.
Some journal publishers also have data sharing policies which require researchers to retain and make available data that underpins published research (see the Deposit your data tab above and Publish your data webpage for additional information about publisher data policies).
The university also requires research data to be kept beyond the lifetime of the research project, though retention rates vary depending on the nature of the data and the research for which it was created. See the College Records and Data Retention Schedule.
Sometimes it is clear that your data will have value beyond the lifetime of your project, e.g. if it supports published research. But it is not always easy to determine in advance which data will have long term value or significance. Data may be used for purposes other than those for which they were created or have value beyond the original discipline or research community.
Again, there are a number of factors which will determine how long you should keep your data for:
Most research councils and many other funding bodies have published guidelines on how long data should kept once a project has ended. These vary from funder to funder. For an overview of funder policies and links to relevant policy documents and guidance see our webpage Funder Policies on Managing and Sharing data.
University of Southampton: Funder retention requirements
Timescales for retention and disposal of research data are included in the King's Records and Data Retention Schedule (see pages 35-37 for guidance on research data). Periods of retention vary according to how the data are classified. The Corporate Records Management team can provide further assistance if you are unsure of which category your data belongs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Where the university's retention schedule differs from funder policy requirements, the latter takes precedent.
The General Data Protection Regulation requires that data holding sensitive information should not be kept for longer than is necessary or for purposes other than those for which it was collected. However, Article 89 of the Regulation does provide an exemption for personal data "that is processed for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes". Data should not be disposed of prematurely where it might damage the interests of the data subjects.
If you are planning to hold on to data which you are otherwise not required to retain, keep in mind that datasets held by public authorities, including universities, are subject to requests for access under the Freedom of Information Act (2000). Access can only be withheld where one of the Act's exemptions applies. Exceptions include personal data, information intended for publication and information subject to a confidentiality agreement such as a signed consent form. Once an FOI request has been made the data must not be deleted. Destroying or deleting information once an FOI request has been made is a criminal offence.
JISC - Freedom of Information
The Environmental Information Regulations (2004) gives the public access rights to environmental information held by public authorities including universities. Again, there are exceptions, including for data which contains personal information.
ICO - Guide to the Environmental Information Regulations
The most reliable way to dispose of data is physical destruction. Shredders certified to an appropriate security level should be used for destroying paper and CD/DVD discs. Computer or external hard drives at the end of their life can be removed from their casings and disposed of securely through physical destruction.– UK Data Archive - Data Disposal
For guidance on records and data disposal contact the Corporate Records Management team: email@example.com. For help with disposing of hardware and media contact the IT help desk.
Choosing open file formats is important for data archiving and long-term preservation, but it is also a good idea to think about which formats you will use to store your data even before you start collecting your data as your choice of file formats will have a significant impact on whether you will be able to access your data files at a later date and also on the ability of other, future users to access the data in the long term.
Ideally you should use formats that allow for the long term preservation and accessibility of your data, but your choice will most likely be determined by a range of factors. These might include...
Where possible you should store your data in open or standard rather than closed or proprietary file formats.
With most proprietary formats the specification is privately owned and subject to restrictions due to copyright or other intellectual property rights.
With open formats however, the code supporting the format is publicly available and free to use by anyone. This allows others to develop software that can access the files and reduces the risk of software or hardware obsolescence.
Open formats are also more likely to be backwards compatible with previous versions and well supported by a user community over a longer period of time.
Examples of open formats include CSV, XML, JPEG 2000, Open Office Document, Tar, ZIP.
Some proprietary formats have become standard and are also supported by open documentation (e.g. PDF, TIFF) or are widely used and likely to be around of a long time (e.g. SPSS, MS Office software applications) and are therefore considered acceptable for short term preservation.
It is generally best to avoid “lossy” compressed file formats. Lossy compression has the advantage of allowing smaller file sizes but some important information might be lost. For image files, TIFF is lossless, JPEG lossy; for audio files, WAV is lossless, MP3 lossy. Lossless compression produces larger files but every bit of the original data is restored when the file is uncompressed (e.g. PNG, GIF, and ZIP files). For important files, best practice is to keep a master copy in a lossless format.
Sometimes using proprietary formats is unavoidable, particularly if they are widely used within a discipline or research community (e.g. crystallographic information files (CIF)). It may well be the case that the formats you need to use to collect and analyse your data are not always the most suitable for preserving your data beyond the lifetime of your research project. Where possible you should consider converting your data to open formats to allow long term preservation and access. However, when converting data files from one format to another it is always advisable to check for any errors or loss of information such as missing such as fonts, footer and headers, footnotes, hyperlinks, image resolution, sound quality and colour fidelity. Also, some open formats lack the functionality and formatting of proprietary formats, so there may be occasions when it is a good idea to retain copies of important data in their original format while also using open formats to enable future access and sharing.
The UK Data Archive provide useful guidance and information on managing quality control for data collection, migration and transcription.
Provides specialist experience and knowledge
Likely to be very selective, setting high standards regarding the quality of your data and metadata
If using a data centre that isn't supported by your funding agency, there could be costs involved*
Zenodo and Figshare offer free storage accounts
Accessible and easy to use
Dryad, Figshare and Zenodo issue DOIs for datasets
Restricted file size and storage space if using a free account (Figshare: file size limit 5GB, private space 1GB, unlimited public storage space; Zenodo: size limit is 50GB per dataset, but you can have multiple datasets).
Check that the terms and conditions are compatible with your funder or journal policies and that there are sufficient backup strategies in place to preserve the data should the service disappear.
Enables compliance with funder or journal data sharing policies if no other suitable repository can be found
Provides long-term storage, open access to datasets (where appropriate), DOIs for datasets and a published metadata record
Restrictions on file size and storage space - a maximum 15GB per data file, and datasets larger than 1TB would need to be discussed in advance.
Not suitable for patient data. Acceptance of data containing sensitive or confidential information is subject to review on a case-by-case basis
Makes software management easy
Facilitates file sharing and collaboration
Most repositories support the release of software under open source licences
Some sites might not be suitable for code that are closed source or released under mixed licences
*Some funders support domain or disciplinary specific repositories or data centres and expect researchers to deposit their data in these where appropriate
**You can ensure the long-term preservation of code/software by linking your GitHub account with Zenodo. An integration between the services allows you to log in to Zenodo using your GitHub account. Guidance is available here.
The UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), Wellcome Trust, and Cancer Research UK all allow for preservation and archiving costs to be included in grant applications as long as the costs are incurred or allocated before the award has ended. The UKRI''s web page 'Supporting research data management costs through funding' includes a link to a pdf document 'Guidance on best practice in the management of research data' which contains information on how to include costs in a grant application (see pp10-12).
Creating a data management plan will help you budget for these costs in advance.
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