What is a data access statement?

Data access statements, also known as data availability statements, are included in publications to describe where the data associated with the paper is available, and under what conditions the data can be accessed. They are required by many funders and scientific journals as well as the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy.

What should I include in a data access statement?

Examples of data access statements are provided below, but your statement should typically include:

  • where the data can be accessed (preferably a data repository)
  • a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or accession number, or a link to a permanent record for the dataset
  • details of any restrictions on accessing the data and a justifiable explanation (e.g. for ethical, legal or commercial reasons)
 Data are openly available in a repository  “Data supporting this study are openly available from (NAME OF REPOSITORY) at (DOI, ACCESSION NUMBER OR URL)”
 Data are available in a repository, but subject to an embargo  “Data supporting this study will be available from (NAME OF REPOSITORY) at (DOI, ACCESSION NUMBER OR URL) following a 6 month embargo”
 Data are available in a repository, but access is restricted due to legal, ethical or commercial reasons  “Data supporting this study are available from (NAME OF REPOSITORY) at (DOI, ACCESSION NUMBER OR URL). Access to the data is subject to approval and a data sharing agreement due to (GIVE REASONS WHY ACCESS TO THE DATA IS RESTRICTED)”
 Secondary analysis of third party data subject to restrictions  “This study used third party data made available under licence that the author does not have permission to share. Requests to access the data should be directed to (THIRD PARTY) at (URL/CONTACT DETAILS)”
 Data available as supplementary information  “Data supporting this study are included within the article and/or supporting materials”
Data are available on request only due to ethical, legal or commercial reasons*

“Data supporting this study are not publicly available due to (GIVE REASONS WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC). Please contact our-research-group@imperial.ac.uk)”

Data cannot be shared due to ethical, legal or commercial restrictions**

“Data supporting this study cannot be made available due to (GIVE REASONS WHY THE DATA CANNOT BE SHARED)”

No new data generated or analysed

“No new data were generated or analysed during this study”

Example data access statements

*A simple direction to contact the author may not be considered acceptable by some funders and publishers. The EPSRC have made this explicit. Consider setting up a shared email address for your research group or use an existing departmental address.

** Under some circumstances (e.g. participants did not agree for their data to be shared) it may be appropriate to explain that the data are not available at all. In this case, you must give clear and justified reasons.

Additional examples of data access/availability statements can be found on these publisher web pages:  Springer Nature, Wiley and Taylor Francis.

Where should I put the data availability statement in my paper?

Some journals provide a “data access” or “data availability” section. If no such section exists, you can place your statement in the acknowledgements section.