Before investing time, effort and resources into generating new data, look into what has already been done in the past in your field. By reusing data you increase its value and minimize redundancy.

Sources of existing data

Bibliographic research

Start with a bibliographic research. If you find an interesting publication without any available data, you can contact the authors and request access to their data. If their data are not available or you didn’t find any interesting publication, you can look for existing data in many repositories.

Data repositories

Repositories or databases can also contain data that are not linked to any manuscript or “results paper”. Repositories can be general, data type specific or discipline specific.

ELIXIR Deposition Databases for Biomolecular Data

ELIXIR recommends the following databases for specific data type

  • Functional genomics: ArrayExpress
  • Computational models of biological processes: BioModels
  • Descriptions and metadata about biological samples used in research: BioSamples
  • Descriptions of biological studies: BioStudies
  • Personally identifiable genetic and phenotypic data resulting from biomedical research projects: EGA
  • Electron microscopy density maps of macromolecular complexes and subcellular structures: EMBD
  • Nucleotide sequence information: ENA
  • Genetic variation data from all species: EVA
  • Molecular interaction data: IntAct
  • Metabolomics experiments and derived information: MetaboLights
  • Biological macromolecular structures: PDBe
  • Proteomics experiments and derived information: PRIDE

Scientific journals and communities have compiled a number of lists of recommended repositories, searchable by discipline and other characteristics

How to cite an existing dataset

Complete citation

Author(s), Year, Dataset Title, Identifier, Repository, Version.

Short citation

Identifier, Version (if applicable).

Identifiers are machine readable alphanumeric strings provided by repositories. Identifiers can be:

  • Accession number
    example: E-MTAB-NNNN
  • DOIs
    example: doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-03071-1