Researchers spend time producing and publishing data and research outputs but in order for it to benefit the community, this new knowledge needs to be able to be found.  Data discovery extends the Library’s role of providing information access. Research data is produced to be shared and sharing this does not diminish its value but makes others ask new questions from existing data, leading to new discoveries. Data citation is the best tool for scholarly acknowledgement of data outputs, as it allows researchers to credit those who have worked to generate the data.


The use of secondary data in conjunction with primary data to achieve project aims and objectives is an acceptable practice in research. Secondary data can be accessed online on digital repositories. Repositories are the libraries of the internet, containing data in a structured system which makes it findable and maintains citation linkages for the developers of the data. Repositories can be specific to the fields of study or can be institutional. Repositories should contain the data and the metadata for description and discovery.

Discovery and reuse of data encourages replication and verification of published findings to further scientific research. Citations for data should be encouraged to motivate the publishing of data, sharing and reuse. Many repositories provide helpful formatting links which permits immediate citation of the work that will be used. Research becomes more useful when it enables others to build upon the work, while acknowledging the academics and researchers whose work was cited.


You can have a look through our list  of field specific repositories where FAIR data resides. Also, DLS maintains UCT’s institutional data repository, ZivaHub which subscribes to FAIR and Open Data Principles. Publishing your research data in an open data repository like ZivaHub  will enable others to cite your data, leading to greater visibility and discovery that will promote the reuse of your data. Check out our ZivaHub resources  on sharing data.

Explore the RDM life cycle

Plan& design

Plan & Design

Preparing for your research project: this includes identifying what items (like data storage) need to be budgeted for and costing those, how data will be shared. All of this starts with a data management plan (DMP).
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Share & publish

Share & Publish

Publish both your data and your research output openly through one of the many general or discipline-specific platforms available to support open science.
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Manage, store & preserve

Manage & Store

Find out how best to manage, store and preserve your data to make sure you, and other researchers, can come back to it for reuse down the line.
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