Is it mandatory to deposit all my flow cytometric data with all the proper annotations?

FlowRepository does not require you to deposit anything. However, there are different data sharing policies implemented by different journals and funding agencies, which you may be asked to follow if you wish to publish a certain manuscript or receive certain funding for your research.

Cytometry A
Cytometry A requires you to follow MIFlowCyt (Minimum Information about a Flow Cytometry Experiment) whenever applicable. This includes making your data and MIFlowCyt compliant annotations available. Cytometry A further recommends that data is submitted to FlowRepository prior to manuscript submission. However, you are allowed to choose an alternative method, e.g., providing MIFlowCyt annotations in an attached document and sharing data individually with every one who expresses interest.

Since their inception, PLOS journals have requested data to be available. Based on the PLOS's Data Policy, the underlying data should be made freely available for researchers to use, wherever this is legal and ethical. Data availability allows replication, reanalysis, new analysis, interpretation, or inclusion into meta-analyses, and facilitates reproducibility of research, all providing a better 'bang for the buck' out of scientific research, much of which is funded from public or nonprofit sources. Specifically, PLOS requests that the minimal dataset used to reach the conclusions drawn in the manuscript with related metadata and methods, and any additional data required to replicate the reported study findings in their entirety are made available. As stated in PLOS Reporting Guidelines for Specific Study Designs the MIBBI Portal (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations) should be reviewed for prescriptive checklists of metadata required. For flow cytometry, MIBBI specifies that MIFlowCyt (Minimum Information about a Flow Cytometry Experiment) shall to be followed. In summary, PLOS policies require you to make your data and annotations available, but not necessarily to "deposit" those anywhere. We suggest uploading your data to FlowRepository as we feel it is the easiest way to satisfy PLOS requirements for most researchers.

Other journals and funding agencies
Many other journals require your data and metadata to be made available. In flow cytometry, the required metadata commonly includes the checklist specified by MIFlowCyt. This list includes reputable journals, including all Nature journals. Similarly, many funding agencies, including the NIH require you to share data generated by research that they have funded. In some cases, you are asked to deposit data in appropriate repositories whenever these are available. In other cases, it is up to you how you decide to share your data. Please refer to the appropriate policies of your journal or funding agency.

What if I don't follow the policies and don't share my data?
At FlowRepository, we believe that researchers should be positively motivated to share their data rather than using sticks, so we will not try to penalize you in any way. However, there may be different approaches taken by funding agencies and journals. A funding agency may try to reclaim the funding, or you may have difficulties obtaining additional funding in the future. Similarly with the journals, which in extreme cases may decide to withdraw your publication (e.g. as per PLOS policy on availability of materials).