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Depositing data in the Oxford Research Archive (ORA): Deposit checklist

Purpose of this guide

Use this page for a list of some of the things you'll need to consider before depositing data in ORA.

Deposit checklist: data

This checklist should help you with some of the things you'll need to consider before depositing data in ORA.

Have I checked permissions and rights?

Do you have all the rights to make your data available, or do you need permission from other rightsholders or project collaborators? Have you anonymised your data sufficiently, or obtained explicit consent from any data subjects whose identity could be revealed from the data (e.g. people interviewed in audio-visual form)?

Have I organised my data clearly?

Does your data have a clear and consistent file naming system? You can help other researchers to navigate and understand your data by grouping multiple files into structured folders, as appropriate. Your data should also form a coherent package, relating to a particular project or piece of research.

Which file format(s) should I deposit?

We accept any file type for preservation in ORA, but you may wish to consider which formats will ensure the broadest possible accessibility by others, both now and in the future. To help future-proof your data you may wish to deposit more than one format of the same item.

For example, plain text files (such as .txt; .csv; .html; .xml) are both human and machine readable, and can be opened in any operating system by a wide range of applications, unlike some proprietary software formats.

Have I documented my data?

It's good practice when sharing data to include some explanatory information about your research methods, describing how, why and when your data were created (including whether you used any specific software to create, edit or process the files). You should also spell out any acronyms used, and explain the labels of any variables and values. If you wish you can include this as a separate file when you upload your data to ORA.

Have I nominated a data steward?

We recommend that you nominate someone outside your research project (e.g. the Head of your Department or Faculty) to act as a data steward. This ensures someone in the University can take on responsibility for your data beyond the lifespan of your project, and can help ORA staff with the ongoing curation of the data if you are not available.

Do I need an embargo?

You may require an embargo period depending on your agreement with your publisher or funding body, or if there are national security, legal, ethical or commercial constraints on the open release of the data.

When a dataset is embargoed in ORA, the associated metadata record is visible, but the filenames are not listed and the files cannot be viewed or downloaded. If necessary, both the data files and the descriptive record can be hidden from public view.

Advice on file formats

Different academic disciplines will produce data in many different formats. Good general advice on the best file formats for long-term preservation can be found at:

Checking rights

For further advice on data ownership and queries about third-party rights, please see the Research Data Oxford website.

Data packages in ORA

Each dataset deposited in ORA should form a coherent data collection or package. It may comprise many different elements (such as image files, a spreadsheet and associated documentation etc.) but should be readily understood as relating to a specific project, publication or piece of research.

This is important as each data package is assigned a descriptive catalogue record in ORA (by which it can be discovered and understood) and a DOI (if requested) by which it can be cited.

Unrelated data should not be deposited as part of the same dataset package, as separate pieces of research will require separate descriptions and citations.