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Research data management: Find research data

Finding research data

Finding research data can be difficult. There isn't yet a good way to search across repositories for a particular dataset or data on a specific topic. To find research data, you need to have a pretty good idea of where the data are likely to be. Consider the following when searching for research data:

Did you find out about the data through an associated output (e.g. journal article, conference paper)?

  • Go to the website of the publication (not necessarily through a library database - Google the journal title) 
    • Browse through back issues until you find the associated article or paper. Is the dataset listed as supplementary material?
    • Check for a link somewhere on the publication's website about research data. Does the journal have a data publishing policy? Is there a repository of datasets associated with that publication?
  • Search ICPSR's Bibliography of Data-related Literature, a list of publications based on data contained in ICPSR
  • If you know of major repositories in that discipline, quickly search within them for the title of the article. Don't go too far down that rabbit hole, though. Only search the largest two or three repositories that you can think of
  • Google (not Google Scholar) the title of the article within quotation marks and add the word data (outside of the quotation marks)

Are the data part of a large, ongoing project?

  • See if the project has an associated website
  • Search re3data for the name of the project. There might be a repository associated with the project

Are you looking for research data on a particular topic?

  • Go to re3data and either browse through the list of repositories by discipline or, if your topic is broad, search for your topic. Keep in mind that re3data is a registry of repositories. When you are searching, you are searching for repositories, not datasets. Once you've identified potentially useful repositories, search within them for data on your topic
  • Talk to your librarian

Data searching

A few organizations have begun to create broader research data search tools. Most of these are still in their infancy, but they are growing daily and worth searching. A few of note include:



Mendeley Data