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Guidance, tools, and training to support faculty and students working with research data.

University of Victoria DataverseLogo for Borealis: The Canadian Dataverse Repository Collection
Deposit Guidelines

Last Updated: January 13, 2023
Supersedes/Amends Policy dated: June 24, 2022

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This document will help researchers at the University of Victoria follow best practices for depositing research data for archiving and publication in Borealis: The Canadian Dataverse Repository

Expectations for Depositors:

Research data deposited into Dataverse must either be generated through the course of a research project and/or deposited with the expectation of future use for research purposes. 

Many files may be created over the course of a research project. An important step for Depositors in preparing their data for deposit is the selection or appraisal of which files should be archived. In making these decisions, Depositors should provide enough supporting documentation for other researchers to understand how data were created, reproduce methods and findings, and reuse the data files. 

When making decisions of what documentation to include with your data, consider what someone (or your future self) would need to know to understand, evaluate, analyze, or replicate your data without having to ask you. 

When possible, Depositors are strongly encouraged to include a version of their raw data, in addition to any processed data used in published analyses and figures. If raw data contain any sensitive information, Depositors should follow best practices for de-identification and ensure they have the proper permissions to share before depositing.

Note: For scenarios or depositor requests not delineated within these Deposit Guidelines, please refer to the Dataverse User Guide.

Standards for Deposit:

Before depositing in Dataverse, Depositors must make sure their dataset(s) meet the following standards. 

1. Use consistent and comprehensive file names and structures

Following proper file naming conventions makes it easier to navigate and find specific files, and allows other researchers to understand and reuse your dataset. 

  • Name files consistently
  • Keep files names short (< 25 characters) but meaningful
  • Do not use spaces to delimit words. Use capital letters, hyphens, or underscores
  • Do not use non-alphanumeric characters
  • Denote dates using ISO8601 standard YYYY-MM-DD (e.g. 2019-01-10).

A well-structured file hierarchy will make it easier to locate and share your files. Recommended practices include: 

  • Restricting the level of folders to a maximum of four deep
  • Limiting the number of folders within each folder to ten

2. Deposit your files in preferred file formats to support preservation and reuse

The use of preferred file formats are important to support the long-term preservation of your research data. Consult the following resources for a non-exhaustive list of preferred file formats. 

If appropriate, files may be deposited in their original file format, in addition to a preferred format. If you have any questions about preferred file formats for your research data, contact

3. Describe your dataset with rich metadata to facilitate discovery

Depositors must complete all required fields in the descriptive metadata. Depositors are strongly encouraged to complete geospatial metadata fields and subject-specific metadata fields, as appropriate. Consult the following resource for guidance on Dataverse metadata fields. 

University of Victoria Libraries will suggest changes to the descriptive metadata for the purposes of discovery, reuse, and preservation. 

4. Include a ReadMe file to support correct interpretation and reuse of your dataset

For research data to be read and interpreted correctly, it requires sufficient documentation. All deposited datasets must include a “ReadMe” file that includes the following information: 

  • Details about dataset creation
  • Description of files contained in the dataset
  • Information about dataset completeness
  • Limitations on reuse

ReadMe files must conform to the following: 

  • ReadMe files must be saved as a Unicode UTF-8 plain text file (.txt). Alternatively, ReadMe files may be saved in PDF/A format.
  • ReadMe files should use forced numbering in the filename (e.g. 00_ReadMe.txt) to make it appear at the top of the file overview.

Consult the following resource for a basic ReadMe file template: 

Expectations for Curators:

A data curator at the University of Victoria Libraries will review your deposit for alignment with the Deposit Guidelines. In the case of non-compliance, the Depositor will be asked to make necessary modifications.

Once a data curator has approved your submission, you will be notified and the dataset will be published. All published datasets will receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to allow your dataset to be cited. 

University of Victoria Libraries commits to preserving published datasets for a period of at least ten years from the date of publication in Borealis. Notwithstanding, our objective remains the continued access and preservation of deposited datasets for the longer term. To support this objective, the University of Victoria Libraries reserves the right to convert deposited files to any medium or format and make multiple copies for the purposes of security, back up, and preservation.

University of Victoria Libraries will never modify file contents and only make changes to file formats in the interest of long-term access and reuse. 

Please note, the University of Victoria Libraries does not attempt to judge the scholarly quality of deposited datasets, and trusts the judgement and research expertise of those who created and deposited the Dataset. Thus, a determination of a dataset’s research quality is at the sole discretion of the Contact Person as named in descriptive metadata. 

Terms of Use:

UVic Libraries manages the University of Victoria's Dataverse Collection as a member of Borealis: The National Canadian Dataverse Repository, and as such users are also subject to the Borealis Terms of Use.

All data deposited into the University of Victoria's Dataverse must be non-restricted data and cannot contain any private, confidential, or other legally protected information (e.g., personal identifiable information). The data producer and the data depositor are responsible for the data’s adherence to relevant ethical norms and standards in the discipline in question.

By depositing datasets into University of Victoria's Dataverse, the Depositor consents be bound by and comply with all of the terms, conditions, notices, and acknowledgements contained in the UVic Libraries Dataverse Collection Terms of Use and the Borealis Terms of Use.


The requirements and guidance above have been adapted from several sources, including: 

Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.