Sharing research results is an established academic practice, whether through publication or through more informal means with colleagues and collaborators. The increasing digitisation of research means that it has never been easier to share data on a more detailed level.

If you're setting out on a research project, it's worth checking whether there are already data available that you might be able to use. This may show up as part of a literature review, but there are a number of dedicated data archives and repositories which you should take a look at too.

There are a number of reasons why you might consider sharing your own research data:

  • Sharing of data supports research integrity by allowing the analysis to be easily verified
  • Shared data can be a source of new collaborations, as your work is more discoverable
  • Published articles whose underlying data are also published often receive more citations than those whose data are kept private
  • Published data can often be used in novel ways not expected by the original data creators, such as large-scale meta-analyses
  • Where shared data are reused this can be used by the originating researcher as evidence of impact, helping career progression
  • Many funding bodies require data from funded projects to be shared publicly available where possible

Creating Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) in the VRE

What is a DOI?

A DOI, or Digital Object Identifier, is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to an online document which act as a persistent identifier or handle to permanently identify and link to it on the web.

For which of my research outputs could I create a DOI?

We can create DOIs for grey literature, including monographs, reports, working papers, unpublished conference papers, as well as theses and datasets.

The University needs to be the publisher, or the repository is the primary site of the item if it is unpublished. We cannot create a DOI because one is lacking from the journal or proceedings, or other published source.

Why would I want a DOI?

The DOI for a document remains fixed over the lifetime of the document, whereas its location and other metadata may change. It is a more stable link than simply using its URL.

It can be used to track data citation metrics and to link related outputs such as journal articles, research data, software and grey literature. As such, it assists to expand your research impact.

How do I create a DOI?

The VRE provides a DOI creation, or minting, service for research datasets and grey literature that are made available via our institutional repository, WestminsterResearch.

Select ‘Submit – request DOI’ on submission and then the Repository and Open Access manager will mint and add the DOI to the record during the item review stage.


You may wish to consider the licence type you want to assign to your output. The Copyright for Researchers guide, available from the Library Guides website, gives information on the permissions and restrictions that various Creative Commons licences contain.

Can I request a DOI for my published research outputs?

No, we can only mint DOIs for unpublished, grey literature research outputs. If you wish to have a DOI minted for your published research output contact the publisher with your request.

For further information email: [email protected].