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Finding and reusing research datasets: Finding Data Home

Guide on finding secondary data for reserach and identifying suitable data archives for research dataset deposits.

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Open access research data

Welcome to our 'Finding and reusing research datasets' guide. This guide has been designed to help you to find third-party open access research datasets that you might want to reuse for your own research.

On this page you will find information about data-specific search engines and databases, finding a suitable data archive to identify data and for use when depositing your own datasets, and a list of interdisciplinary data archives. We also have a page with guidance on using and citing third party datasets. If there is not a separate page in this guide for your discipline this is because there are not currently a large number of discipline-specific data archives available. In this case it is likely that you will currently find data related to your research in the interdisciplinary data archives. 

Primary and secondary data: definition

Primary data is information that you collect specifically for the purpose of your research project.

Secondary data refers to data that was collected by someone other than you. Common sources of secondary data include data-specific search engines and databases, information collected by government departments, organisational records and data that was originally collected for other research purposes

Finding a suitable data archive

The University of Bath Research Data Archive is our institutional data archive. All members of staff and postgraduate students can use this archive to preserve, publish and share datasets underpinning research publications or data of potential value to the research community. There is guidance on the process of archiving and sharing datasets in our 'Archiving and sharing data' guide. 

Many of the data archives and repositories included in this guide can be used to deposit your research data. We have indicated recommended data archives for data deposit throughout this guide using the upload icon next to the name of the archive (upload icon). These are archives that have been recommended by major funders or journal publishers and provide the following services:

  • open access to datasets (i.e. without fees)
  • the provision of persistent identifiers for datasets; in most cases this is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Interdisciplinary data archives

The other interdisciplinary data archives listed below are those that are currently recommended by major UK funding bodies and by international journal publishers. For a full list of all research data archives you can search either re3data or FAIRSharing.  We have an online tutorial for searching re3data. 

Links to subject-specific resources


code based data

engineering sciences

health and medicine


social sciences

Data-specific search engines and databases

This is a list of data-specific search engines that you can use to find published research datasets. It is important to note that, other than Elsevier DataSearch, these search engines will not search for data that is published as supplemental material to a journal article.

Currently there is not one search engine that can be used to search all published datasets. Therefore, you may also need to search relevant individual repositories for your discipline.  The key search engine for datasets is the Data Citation Index which is part of the Web of Science. The Data Citation Index Master Repository list is a list of data archives / repositories that can be searched using the Data Citation Index.