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Research Data Repository help guidance:

Prepare research data for deposit in the repository

Whilst your research is ongoing you can prepare your data for future deposit and sharing:

  • Capture information and documentation (metadata) during the data collection process that will allow understanding of your data, such as data collection and process methodology and information
  • Check, validate and clean your data during research
  • Ensure you are organising, naming and versioning data files meaningfully
  • If data contain personal or confidential information, prepare to gain participant consent to share data and create where possible an anonymised version In preparation for depositing research data in the repository:
  • Group your data files in zip bundles (max 2gb) according to their content or file format, to make upload and download easier
  • For large collections, keep a folder structure for the files in your zip bundle
  • give files meaningful names that reflect the file content, avoiding spaces and special characters
  • Check that data files contain no disclosive information
  • Create a ReadMe file (txt format) for your data collection, with:
    • for each filename a short description of what data it includes
    • any relationships between the data files
    • for tabular data, definitions of column headings and row labels, data codes (including missing data) and measurement units
  • Prepare essential documentation to upload with your data

Deposit data in the repository

Follow this step-by-step guide to deposit a dataset. Help information for each metadata element is available via the question mark alongside the element.

  1. Login with your University of Essex username and password

  2. Dataset description Provide information that describes and categorises your dataset, making sure that the dataset description and data collection method contain much detail. As explanation for some elements:
    • Geographic coverage: be precise when describing the area and avoid ambiguous entries, for example "Boroughs of Greater London" is good, "Portland" ambiguous due to a lack of context (Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; or Portland, Dorset, UK?); you may also include details of spatial resolution in this field, include the unit of measure.
    • Geographic bounding box: the four coordinates (west, east, north, south) that bound or geographically enclose the geographical area of your data collection (like placing a square frame over the area in which your data was collected, whether an entire country or a block of houses); the four coordinate values can be generated with OpenStreetMap.
    • Data provenance and lineage describes how the data has been transformed after data collection and prior to deposit with the repository, for example the conversion of data files to an alternative file format, the removal of particular identifying text or variables, or the unpacking of a database into unlinked tables.
    • Access conditions provides information for the repository administrator and/or users on the need for specific access conditions, for example why you have specified a particular level of access or embargo period for a file.
  3. Subjects Select subject categories that define your dataset.
  4. Research grant Submit your RCUK grant number to retrieve project information if your data result from a funded research project (RCUK funder); project information is pulled in from the Research Councils UK Gateway to Research.
  5. People Provide information about the people involved in the creation of this dataset; some fields may be prefilled based on the retrieved grant information, but can be edited; creators will be the authors in the citation; an ORCID can be provided for each person.
  6. Upload data files
    • upload datasets of less than 5 data files as individual files
    • group datasets with more data files into zip bundles
    • include a ReadMe file for your data collection, as described above
    • upload other relevant documentation files
    • include consent forms and information sheets
    • add file-level descriptions for each uploaded file or zip bundle
  7. Access and licences Select the access conditions for each file or zip bundle. Select a licence for each file or zip bundle from the list.
  8. Deposit your dataset

Repository staff will review your dataset before publishing data to the live system. If you need to make changes to a submitted data collection or create a new version, please contact us.