Research Data

Publishing, citing, and licensing research data

On this page we would like to give you an understanding of how to publish research data. We refer you to platforms where you can publish your data. You will learn more about metadaten and how you can use them to improve the findability of your published data. We explain what licensing options are available and how you should legally and ethically handle your data. Finally, we show you how to cite research data.



Publishing in repositories


We recommend publishing your research data on subject-specific platforms, which frequently offer special features tailored to the data. They also increase the visibility of your research data because the platforms are better perceived in the scientific community.

If you cannot find a subject-specific repository for your research data, you can publish in a general repository or on the University of Rostock's document and data server RosDok.

Platform finder

Publishing on RosDok

Publishing research data on RosDok

The University Library offers a publication service on the document server RosDok.



Quality criteria of research data: metadata

Describing research data correctly

The dataset and the data it contains must be described with appropriate metadata so that the dataset can be identified and found. Specifying metadata improves the visibility of your research data on the web. It makes sense to collect it as early as possible and keep it up to date throughout the research project. In most cases, metadata is specified by the repository. Common details include:

  • data set details,
  • information about the author(s) and creator(s),
  • a short title describing the data,
  • a short summary about the data, and
  • the year of creation.

Information about the data in the dataset

The dataset should also contain a document (e.g. readme.txt) that briefly explains the data and how it is used. The layout and structure of the file depends on the type of data and, if applicable, the subject area.

Choosing the right data formats

In addition to specifying metadata, the choice of data formats used is also important. Formats for long-term archiving.




Citing research data

Citation options

There are different ways to cite research data:

Citation as recommended by FORCE11:

Data citation

Author(s) (publication year): Title of research data. Data repository or archive. Version. Global persistent identifier (preferably as a link).

Software citation

Author(s) (publication year): Title of the software (version information) [form, for example computer software] Source as URL and/or DOI (date of retrieval)


To ensure that your research data can be found and cited in the long term, the repository of your choice should assign a Digital Object Identifier (e.g. a DOI). A DOI is a unique and permanent digital identifier for physical, digital or abstract objects. A DOI guarantees the findability of your research data on the web and serves as a citation. You can find more information at

Example: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020449

You can obtain a DOI from the University Library, or your publication platform will assign one.

DOI logo



Licensing and open access

Open access means the unrestricted and free access to scientific information. Open access is part of open science – the idea that science should be freely accessible to all. The FAIR principles support research by formulating how research data should be published. According to the FAIR principles, data should be "findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable".

The Creative Commons are copyright licences and tools. They are modularly designed to provide copyright-protected works with rights for further use by the author. To select a CC licence, Creative Commons offers the License Chooser


If the research data to be published is software, it is advisable to choose a software licence. Other licensing models usually provide insufficient conditions for content protection or release.


The GNU Free Documentation License is a copyleft licence intended for free software documentation, but it is also used for other free content.




Legal and ethical aspects of research data management

In many departments of the University of Rostock, researchers work with personal data, which is subject to data protection legislation. The legal regulations specify how such data is to be handled. The provisions are regulated in the DSGVO, the BDSG and the MV Data Protection Act. The BERD@NFDI’s interactive Virtual Assistant (iVA) helps researchers to check which data protection regulations must be observed in the context of a research project. By means of selected questions, users are guided through the relevant regulations of the data protection laws (DSGVO, BDSG, LDSG).




Antje Meuser
  • Research Data Department Public Relations
  • Publication of research data on RosDok