Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data

  1. Share your data
    Share your data in any form, such as uploading to a website.
  2. Provide metadata
    Provide logically organised, complete and clear information about the data, including how it was collected, what the units of measurement are and descriptions of how to best use the data.
  3. Provide an unprocessed form of the data
    Provide your data in a form that is as close as possible to the field measurements and observations from which your analysis started.
  4. Use standard data formats
    Store the data in a standard format that can be used by many different kinds of software.
  5. Use good null values
    Choose a null value that is compatible with most software and unlikely to cause errors in analysis. The most common null value is the blank.
  6. Make it easy to combine your data with other datasets
    Include contextual data that appears across similar data sources, such as taxonomy or geographical location.
  7. Perform basic quality control
    Carefully look at the data yourself or automate checks on the data with programs or analysis tools such as R or Python.
  8. Use an established repository
    Deposit your data in an established and well maintained repository, with a permanent link to make your data visible and easily to access.
  9. Use an established and open licence
    Include an explicit license with your data to let others know exactly what they can and cannot do with the data.

Find out more about making your data (re)usable at:

Last updated:
11 April 2016