Research Data Service

Checklist for deposit

How do you know if you are ready to share your data? What do you need to think about in advance of depositing?

Before you deposit in Edinburgh DataShare you need to prepare and organise your material, and decide on a number of things. This checklist should help you preparing your deposit, thinking about and collecting information for your metadata, and deciding under which licence you want to publish your data in the repository.


Step 1 - Set up your account

Have you registered?

Have you been assigned to a community?

Have you been assigned to a collection?

Register on Edinburgh DataShare with your EASE login or EASE Friend login, and wait for a confirmation email.

Reply to the confirmation email indicating your Research Community and the name of the collection you want to deposit in. Indicate the names of all those who should have deposit rights (including yourself) and provide a short description.


Step 2 - Group your files into datasets (items)

Are you depositing an individual dataset or item?

Are you depositing multiple datasets or items?

Think about the granularity of your data and the dependent ancillary files which comprise your research data.

Decide on how to structure your research data. In some cases your data will be composed of different files that belong to one  dataset, but in other cases your data might need to be segregated across a number of datasets. If you have a very large number of files, the Research Data Support team may be able to arrange a batch import for your data, please contact us.

Current size limit is 100 GB total per dataset. Items with a combined file size over 20 GB are too large to be uploaded via a web browser. If you have more than 20 GB of data to share, please contact the Research Data Support team to arrange a batch import and/or discuss your options.


Step 3 - Prepare your data

Have you structured and labelled your data in a consistent manner?

Which format(s) will you deposit to help ensure the broadest accessibility by others now and in the future?

Are there any discipline specific data formats? Does Edinburgh DataShare specifically support those format(s)?

Have your data been created, edited or compressed with specific software(s)?

Ensure your files are labelled as explicitly as possible, to facilitate peers to easily access your data.

Your file(s) should be future-proof and if possible not dependent on proprietary software formats. Among others we recommend: .csv, .txt, .xml, .tiff, .mp4, .jp2, .pdf (PDF/A). You might want to deposit more than one format of the same item (one proprietary / discipline specific, and a standard preservation version of it).

Include notes on any processes by which the data have been transformed, e.g. which version of the software created the resulting item(s). If possible include which compression, codec and bit rate was used. This can be entered in the "Description field" associated with the file.

When you upload a file to Edinburgh DataShare whose filename extension (such as “.xyz”) is not found in our file format registry, the Research Data Service curator is likely to ask you for some more information about the format. Although the file you have submitted may be stored in what is considered a fairly standard format in your discipline, if it has not been previously encountered by our service, then we have to evaluate the format for inclusion in the repository. For evaluation, we will use a number of online references as well as the information the depositor provides. Based on our findings, we might recommend you consider exporting files into supported file formats (the majority of these can be considered standard preservation formats) and deposit them along with your original files, to enhance the sustainability and accessibility of your research data.

Different disciplines produce data in different formats. Detailed guidance can be found in our documentation on recommended file formats:

Choose the best file formats


Step 4 - Prepare your documentation

Have you prepared documentation files for your dataset(s)?

Have you spelled out acronyms and explained the labels of your variables and values?

Have you included research methodology reports and any other relevant information?

This documentation should give adequate information about what data is included and how it’s structured. We recommend you include a "readme.txt" file with your dataset and collection.


Step 5 - Permissions and rights

Do you have all the rights to make the data available?

Have you received permission from all other right-holders?

Do you have data citations ready for any underlying "source" data (such as base maps)?

Have you sufficiently anonymised your data, or obtained explicit consent from any data subjects whose identity could be revealed from the data (including images)?

Are you aware of, and are you comfortable with what rights you are passing on to the repository (University of Edinburgh)?

Make sure you can prove that you have all the rights to deposit your data in Edinburgh DataShare, and are aware that if the repository receives proof of copyright violation, the relevant item(s) will be removed immediately.

Make sure you have been given permission by all right-holders (data collectors, performers, people documented in audio-visual form) to make the data available on Edinburgh DataShare, and that all right-holders agree on the specific licence given to the data.

Make sure you are aware of the rights you are giving to the repository through the "Depositor agreement" and the "Service policies" regarding retention, file migration and withdrawal of items:


Step 6 - Decide if an embargo is needed

Does your data item require an embargo period before it is made open access?

Depending on your agreement with your funder or your publication schedule, you may require an embargo. You can keep your data stored in the repository for up to 5 years before it is made openly available.

The advantage of using the embargo option is that the metadata and documentation are prepared at the time of deposit, when the research is still fresh on your mind, instead of at a later date when you might have forgotten the details.

When an item is under embargo, the metadata record and file names are visible, but the file contents cannot be viewed or downloaded directly. However the user can request a copy of a file(s) under embargo by using the request-a-copy form which opens up if they click on the filename. The depositor will receive the request by email.

N.B. if you indicate only the year and month, then it is assumed the first day of the month is the date on which the embargo should be lifted. This may be confusing to prospective users, so it is preferable to specify the day, month and year of the Embargo Date.


Step 7 - Consider an open licence

Have you considered the use of an open licence for your data?

Do you know about the default open licence used for repository material?

Are you prepared to fill in a rights statement, if the "No licence" option is chosen?

You have two options at the licensing stage. The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence is recommended by Edinburgh DataShare as this allows users in all jurisdictions to make use of your datasets, as long as they acknowledge your deposit.

CC-BY 4.0 is written specifically for databases/datasets rather than creative expressions:

Alternatively, select "No licence" and you will be prompted to fill in your own Rights statement instead.