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Preserving and Sharing Data with ScholarsArchive@OSU: Data Content Guidelines

Oregon State University provides digital preservation and sharing for OSU-affiliated researchers via our institutional repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU. This guide tells you everything you need to know about using SA@OSU for datasets.

Guidelines on Data Content in ScholarsArchive@OSU

Note: These guidelines form an initial framework that is intended to aid the ScholarsArchive@OSU team in judging whether data may be accepted for deposit into the ScholarsArchive@OSU Data Service. We envision that this rubric will eventually be much broader in scope in the years to come, with a more robust definition of what defines "data".

  • Data accepted for deposit is generally defined as the facts and statistics produced for reference or analysis in the course of scientific research undertaken by OSU faculty, researchers or graduate students. (E.g. "numeric data sets", research results, surveys, instrument outputs, databases, and measurements.) Licensed data (such as that originating from the ICPSR, Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.) is not accepted.
  • The data must be produced, submitted, or sponsored by OSU faculty, researchers or graduate students.
  • The data should be complete and ready for distribution.
    • Classified or confidential data requiring formal, contractual, or legal restrictions to access, such as HIPAA-designated Protected Health Information, will not be included in ScholarsArchive@OSU, but may be archived on IS/CN servers.
  • We accept all file formats, although depending on the format of the file there may be limitations on OSU Libraries' ability to preserve it and for the ability of others to use it. We encourage standards and formats that are open (e.g., .txt), commonly used (e.g., .xlsx), or community-recognized (e.g., .mat) be used for all files deposited.
  • The dataset may contain multiple files. Individual data files (including zipped/tarred files) uploaded to ScholarsArchive@OSU may not exceed 2 GB. If your data exceeds 2 GB, you should contact us for other options. 
  • The author/owner must be willing and able to grant OSU the right to preserve and distribute the data (SA@OSU Deposit License), in accordance with user-defined embargo restrictions.
  • Each dataset submitted to the ScholarsArchive@OSU repository should contain a 'readme' file listing:
    • The contents of the submitted dataset (i.e., file names, formats and sizes of each file). See this dataset, for example.
    • A list of software used to produce, render and compress the data (where applicable).
    • Where in the research process the data falls (e.g. raw/unanalyzed data, processed/analyzed data, rendered/visualized data).
  • Submitters are responsible for supplying adequate metadata (descriptive fields) of the contributed dataset for the purposes of discovery and other informational purposes. You may contact us for metadata assistance.
  • It is recommended that datasets be described sufficiently, using the ScholarsArchive@OSU platform, so that other knowledgeable researchers can find, understand and use the data.

OSU Data Policies

Data Stewardship & Retention

Data generated by research projects at or under the auspices of Oregon State University are owned by the University. However, the principle investigator (PI) is responsible for retention, preservation, distribution, and control of the data.

The PI is responsible for data stewardship in the following areas:

  • the identification, collection, management and retention of research data as custodian for the University;
  • ensuring that, for all aspects of their research program, sufficient records are kept to document the experimental methods and accuracy of data collection as well as the methods and accuracy of data interpretation. Records should be sufficient to enable a retrospective audit, if necessary.

OSU does not have a research data retention policy, but it has a Records Retention Policy and a General Records Retention Schedule that affects Human Subjects Records and Institutional Animal Care and Use Records. These need to be retained for a minimum of 3 years after the project is completed. Additional data sharing and/or archiving requirements may be imposed by the sponsoring agency on all kinds of research data; the PI is responsible for complying with such requirements.

Institutional Review Board

If your work involves human subjects, you may need to limit the extent of the research that you share to protect the rights and privacy of individuals per OSU IRB policies. Funding agencies recognize the need to adhere to these policies and regulations. Your data management plan should explicitly state which information you are not sharing due to IRB concerns; it is also important to share some form of your data.

Contact the IRB with questions about human subjects regulations. OSU Libraries Research Data Services can assist you with anonymization.

Intellectual Property

The OUS defines intellectual property as, “any new and useful process, machine, device, manufacture, or composition of matter, and any new and useful improvements.” The creation of intellectual property during the course of your research may have implications on if and when your data will be shared. NSF allows the retention of intellectual property to the grantees, but that does not preclude sharing of results, data, and collections with other researchers (see NSF Data Sharing Policy, in Part VI of the Award and Administration Guide, Section D.4.d, Intellectual Property, Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results)

Visit the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development (OCCD) for more information.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Funding agencies including the NSF and HHS mandate training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Data management activities overlap with many core areas of RCR because data are so integral to the research process. For a complete, self-guided RCR instruction module on data management, see here.

Please visit OSU’s Office of Research integrity RCR site here.

For more information on data copyright and licensing, and links to OUS policies, see Copyright & Licensing.