FAQs: How to Deposit Data

  1. Does ICPSR accept qualitative data?

    Yes. Please contact ICPSR prior to submitting qualitative data at deposit@icpsr.umich.edu.

  2. Does your archive keep the original version of the files that I submit for archiving?

    Yes. The archive keeps several copies of the original files as submitted by the data depositor, including copies stored offsite.

  3. How does your archive prepare a data collection for public release?

    Our staff have established a series of steps for acquiring and archiving each new data set. In particular, each study is assessed to determine if any issues of respondent confidentiality exist and checks are made for problems arising from either direct or indirect identification. In addition, the technical characteristics of the documentation are verified against the data to assure that the data and documentation match. For intensively processed studies, all variables are examined to assure that each is thoroughly identified and labeled. When variables are not thoroughly described, our staff consults the documentation and/or questionnaires. In some cases it may be necessary to contact the principal investigator(s) to remedy any problems uncovered during the review of the data. Data definition statements for SPSS and SAS are prepared for all data sets and value labels are often added when they are not part of the files as we received them. After the initial processing is completed, further quality checks are made. For example, the observed frequencies are verified against the reported frequencies and sometimes checks are made for consistency of survey responses and skip patterns. Data files are also reformatted to the smallest possible size for optimum speed in file transfer over the Internet.

  4. How do I deposit data in the ICPSR archive?

    ICPSR has published a Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving to assist data producers in preparing their collections for deposit in a public archive. The document offers guidelines and suggestions that should be useful for anyone engaged in the creation of a dataset. Individuals interested in depositing data should use the ICPSR Data Deposit Form, which supplies essential information to staff in the ICPSR Data Archive and allows for secure transmission of files via a Web browser.

  5. How secure is the data deposit form?

    The transmission of files from your computer to ICPSR over the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Version 3 with CAMELLIA_256_CBC, SHA1 for message authentication, and DHE_RSA for the key exchange mechanism. Upon receipt, ICPSR encrypts the files using AES-256 encryption and writes them to a secure location on our web server. Once every minute, a process at ICPSR checks the web server for incoming files, moves them onto a server behind our firewall, and deletes the copy on the web server.

  6. How will the research community know that my data are available from ICPSR?

    The addition of new and updated data collections is announced on our website. There is also an email list that receives notification of new and updated data collections on a regular basis, usually weekly.

  7. I need to deposit data in an archive as a requirement for a journal article and obtain a DOI. How do I do that?

    ICPSR's Publication-Related Archive (PRA) is a self-archiving mechanism that facilitates the deposit of data supporting publications. Go to the ICPSR Deposit Form and select PRA as the archive for deposit. Then follow the instructions provided for entering descriptive metadata and uploading the data. Upon publication of the data you will receive a notification that includes the Digital Object Identifier to the data, which you can include in your article. If you need a DOI sooner, please contact us to make a special request.

    Note that the PRA requires a connection between the data and the published article, so please be sure to include in the metadata you provide the article's citation and a DOI if available.

  8. I prefer not to submit my data collection via the Electronic Deposit Form. Do I have other options?

    Yes. ICPSR welcomes data collections submitted on CD-ROM or DVD. Address information can be found on our Contact page.

  9. Once I've deposited my data, I do not want changes made to my data collection without my permission. Will you contact me prior to altering the files?

    For most data collections, the archive distributes data and documentation in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, documentation is converted to Portable Document Format (PDF), data files are converted to non-platform-specific formats, and variables are recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity. Our staff will generally contact you regarding any suggested changes after an initial assessment of your data collection. Regardless of changes made, the archive keeps several copies of all files in the form in which they were submitted.

  10. What is the preferred submission format for data files?

    ASCII, SAS Transport, SPSS Portable, or Stata data files are accepted, with the non-ASCII files preferred.

  11. When will I know if my data collection will be archived?

    ICPSR staff will contact you immediately to confirm the receipt of all materials submitted and to confirm the processing plan.

  12. Why should I deposit data with ICPSR?

    Your data are a unique contribution to the social sciences and represent a significant investment of time and resources. ICPSR can help you protect that investment by managing and safeguarding your data at no cost to you. Specifically, ICPSR will:

    • Curate your data. Experienced data managers at ICPSR will review and enhance your study to ensure that it is optimally usable and meets community disclosure limitation standards. ICPSR staff will also create a rich study-level description so that others can discover your study easily and cite it, thus enhancing your research profile.

    • Preserve your data. With a 45-year track record in preserving social science data<, ICPSR will make sure that your data are available far into the future.

    • Disseminate your data. Your data will be accessible to researchers around the world in all of the major statistical package formats. Data can also be made available through ICPSR's online analysis utility.

    • Support your data. ICPSR's User Support staff will answer user questions about the download and use of the data so that you have time to pursue new research. You may also request usage statistics for your data.

    • Offer levels of access if needed. In addition to handling public-use data, ICPSR also offers archival services for the most sensitive, confidential data, including restricted access data services and a secure data enclave.

    • Find publications based on your data. ICPSR will identify publications based on analyses of your data and link these publications to your study, creating a rich network of citations.

    Depositing data with ICPSR is easy. Use the Data Deposit Form to securely upload your data to ICPSR.