Data sharing

IBB recognizes the many benefits of archiving data for scientific progress. Archived research data provides an indispensable resource for the scientific community, making possible future replications and secondary analyses, in addition to the importance of verifying the dependability of published research findings.

Research data have been defined as, "the evidence that underpins the answer to the research question, and can be used to validate findings regardless of its form (e.g. print, digital, or physical). These might be quantitative information or qualitative statements collected by researchers in the course of their work by experimentation, observation, modelling, interview or other methods, or information derived from existing evidence"UKRI Concordat on Open Research Data (2016) 

IBB encourages (but not requires) authors to share the data and other artefacts supporting the results in the paper by archiving it in an appropriate public repository where this does not violate protection of human subjects or other valid subject privacy concerns.

Before a researcher(s) makes any decisions about sharing their data, they need to check if their institution or research funder has any specific mandates. An increasing number of funders require grant recipients to share the data produced by their research.

If a researcher(s) shares their data, this data must be freely available, under the license of the researcher(s)’ choice allowing re-use by any third party for any lawful purpose. The researcher(s) will need to make sure that their data are findable and fully accessible. 

One of the key stages is selecting a data repository, an online platform where a researcher(s) can deposit datasets associated with their work. Some repositories are subject-specific while others are generalist. Consider the FAIR Data Principles when depositing data (FAIR data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable).

We encourage authors to select a data repository that issues a persistent identifier, preferably a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and has established a robust preservation plan to ensure the data is preserved in perpetuity. Visit or to identify registered and certified data repositories relevant to your subject area.

Once a researcher(s) has shared their data in a repository, they have to provide a Data Availability Statement (the data set must be cited in the Materials and Methods section), explaining where and under what conditions this data can be accessed. When data is available and linked, authors will need to provide a citation of the data in their reference list.

By submitting to IBB with this policy, a researcher(s) agrees to make their data available upon reasonable request. If an author(s)' data will not be made publicly available, IBB requires that any data required to support or replicate claims made in an article should be made available to the journal’s editors and reviewers without undue restriction. 

When not to share data

We support the principle that 'data should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary'. Sharing research data can be hugely beneficial, but there are some situations where it would not be legal or ethical to share information. 

When sharing data conflicts with a need to protect personal identities  data sharing should always be consistent with the terms of consent signed by participants (research involving human subjects). If consent hasn’t been sought or if study participants have withheld their consent, data should not be shared unless they can be anonymized.

When a researcher(s) doesn't have ownership of the data  preferably, the owner of the data should make it available themselves, which other researchers can then cite. Data shouldn’t be published without the owner's written permission.

Where data is commercially sensitive or protected by competition laws or market regulation  if a researcher's data has been generated while employed by or partnering with a commercial organization, they should seek permission before sharing it.

Protection of threatened species  to support conservation activities, a researcher may need to restrict geographical information about at-risk flora or fauna.

Citing data

All datasets must be cited properly. This applies whether it's data a researcher(s) collected themselves or someone else's data. IBB supports the Force 11 Joint Declaration of Citation Principles which recognize data as important, citable products of research, and that data citations should be both understandable by humans and machine-readable.

In IBB, we require using Vancouver Reference Style. In general, the following elements should be included in data citations:

Investigators – the author/institution name

Title – name of study/resource/dataset

Data type – type of medium eg. Data file, Computer file

Location – repository where the author has deposited the data set 

Year – year of publication

Access Date  – the date the data was accessed

URL and/or DOI – the appropriate identifier


Wohland P, Rees P, Norman P, Lomax N, Clark S. NEWETHPOP - Ethnic population projections for UK local areas 2011-2061 [data collection]. UK Data Service; 2017 [accessed 2022 Jun 24].  DOI: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852508

Hervey T, Antova I. Health Governance After Brexit: Street Ethnography and Elite Interviews, 2019-2021 [data collection]. UK Data Service; 2021 [accessed 2022 Jun 24]. DOI: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-854778