Do disappearing data repositories pose a threat to open science and the scholarly record?

Article by Dorothea Strecker, Heinz Pampel, Rouven Schabinger and Nina Leonie Weisweiler: “Research data repositories, such as Zenodo or the UK Data Archive, are specialised information infrastructures that focus on the curation and dissemination of research data. One of repositories’ main tasks is maintaining their collections long-term, see for example the TRUST Principles, or the requirements of the certification organization CoreTrustSeal. Long-term preservation is also a prerequisite for several data practices that are getting increasing attention, such as data reuse and data citation.

For data to remain usable, the infrastructures that host them also have to be kept operational. However, the long-term operation of research data repositories is challenging, and sometimes, for varying reasons and despite best efforts, they are shut down….

In a recent study we therefore set out to take an infrastructure perspective on the long-term preservation of research data by investigating repositories across disciplines and types that were shut down. We also tried to estimate the impact of repository shutdown on data availability…

We found that repository shutdown was not rare: 6.2% of all repositories listed in re3data were shut down. Since the launch of the registry in 2012, at least one repository has been shut down each year (see Fig.1). The median age of a repository when shutting down was 12 years…(More)”.

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