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Preserving and Sharing Data with ScholarsArchive@OSU: How to Prepare Your Data

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.

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Preparing your data for submission

The ScholarsArchive@OSU repository is home to a diverse collection of research data from across the disciplines. There is no "one size fits all" solution to data management, however, so consider these instructions a set of guidelines rather than gospel, and feel free to contact us at with further questions.

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Determine whether your data is suitable for storage in ScholarsArchive@OSU: Visit the Data Content Guidelines to learn more.
  2. Define the contents and properties of your data files: Take a look at the data files that you intend to deposit, and note the file formats, names, and creators for each in a plain text README file. If your files are from the same research project, you should note the differences between each file. (Were the data collected on different dates? In different areas? From different subjects? Determine what makes each dataset distinct, and record it.) Also identify any files that may contain sensitive information. You'll use this information in later steps. When writing your README file, imagine that you are writing for a user 20 years in the future, who may not know much about your research (or even your discipline). This will help you to describe your data in the clearest possible way.
  3. Address privacy concerns: Data that are subject to IRB regulations, or are of an otherwise sensitive nature, may need to be deposited in the researcher's IS/CN account, rather than in the ScholarsArchive@OSU repository. It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that all research data they wish to make publicly available is de-identified. For more information on what constitutes sensitive data, consult the Information Security (InfoSec) Policies & Procedures Manual section on Data Classification and Stewardship Policy.
  4. Organize your files: Once you have identified which files you plan to preserve and store, think about how you can organize them for a) ease of upload and b) understandability by other researchers. For example, if your project is large and has many datasets collected over a period of years, you may wish to create several separate compressed (zipped) files for upload, within each is nested other folders that contain interrelated instrumentation data files, images, and data dictionaries. Alternatively, for smaller research projects, you may wish to simply create one zipped file for upload that includes a small amount of clearly labeled, interrelated documents, images, or spreadsheets.
  5. Decide if you need an embargo: If you do not wish to make your data openly available right now, but expect that you will want to make it Open Access within the next five years, you can deposit your data to the ScholarsArchive@OSU repository with an embargo that restricts access for a specific period of time.
  6. Choose the right storage option(s): The size of your zipped files, in addition to the considerations above, will determine where you may store your files.
    • If the zipped folders or files in your dataset are less than 2 GB in size and can be made Open Access now or in the near future, you should upload it to the ScholarsArchive@OSU repository.
    • If your dataset includes zipped folders or files that are more than 2 GB in size and can be made Open Access now or in the near future, you should contact us about your options in the ScholarsArchive@OSU repository.
    • If your data cannot be made Open Access at all, regardless of its size, you should upload it to your personal IS/CN account space or other server location.
Please note that even for a single study, a combination of storage options may be needed to address the data storage considerations above. There are no restrictions on the number or types of storage options you may choose to suit your needs.
  1. Apply for your ScholarsArchive@OSU repository account(s): Submitting your research to ScholarsArchive@OSU is easy. Just send us an email with your research attached, or we can arrange for you to submit it yourself. For this and other information contact You will receive an email within 1 business day with your login information and instructions on how to begin depositing.
  2. Choose a license for your data: When you license your data, you are setting limits on how it may be used by future researchers. For example, you may wish to allow anyone to use your data however they want to, so long as they credit you. Or, you might restrict others' use of your data to non-commercial purposes. Oregon State University recommends that you license your data using a CC-0 license, which will remove all restrictions on data use. For more information, visit the Digital Curation Centre's "How to License Research Data" guide, or the Open Definition's list of recommended data licenses.
  3. To deposit your data: 
    1. Fill out the deposit form ( as fully as you can.
    2. A data specialist will contact you within 1 business day to review your dataset metadata and obtain the datafiles for deposit.

If you have any questions or concerns during the course of submitting your data, contact:

Amanda Whitmire
Assistant Professor, Data Management Specialist
Center for Digital Scholarship & Services