The most secure way to ensure future access to research data is to entrust data files to a stable, trustworthy online data repository. Some repositories accept data files that are specific to a discipline or to an institution such as a university, or may accept any data files associated with the research process. Repositories also typically provide an interface for others to search for and download research data, and even restrict access to data during an embargo period. And many repositories provide secure storage through a system of backups and checks that ensure long-term access and preservation. See the Repositories tab for lists of repositories.
Why cite data?
See MSU's Dataset Citations Research Guide for examples of data citation.
The federal government1 acknowledges that data is not always shareable for reasons of privacy or confidentiality and many repositories have capabilities to keep data private. Included in the federal definition of the terms and conditions of what type of data is NOT for sharing are:
1Circular No. A-110 - Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations. (11/19/93 As Further Amended 9/30/99)