Frequently asked questions about LibraData


Why deposit & share research using LibraData?

Datasets and other products of research may be submitted to LibraData (UVA’s local Dataverse repository: in order to preserve them and make them accessible worldwide. 

Because LibraData is intended as a repository for completed work in electronic format, analogous to the physical library as a repository of completed work in print format, datasets should be complete in the form in which the researcher would want them to be permanently preserved.  LibraData is not meant to provide storage for works in progress.

Can LibraData be used as a repository in Data Management and Sharing Plans?

Many journals, publishers, and funding agencies require researchers to share datasets and other products of research in an open data repository. LibraData helps researchers fulfill these requirements. LibraData aligns with the "Desirable Characteristics of Repositories for Managing and Sharing Data Resulting from Federally Funded or Supported Research", and as such, is an acceptable repository choice to include in Data Management and Sharing plans (DMSP). If you plan to use LibraData in a DMSP, use the following text:

"The sharable data and research materials will be deposited in the University of Virginia’s institutional repository LibraData, UVA’s local instance of Dataverse repository. LibraData assigns DOIs to each dataset which makes data searchable and discoverable by Datacite and other data search engines. The necessary metadata, documentation, code and other resources to make my data accessible and re-usable for future users will also be submitted. By depositing data and research materials in UVA’s Dataverse, the sharable research from this project will be discoverable and citable by others who wish to use it. The current preservation plan for Libra will be to preserve the data indefinitely. The Libra backup plan provides for data redundancy including off-site storage."

Who may submit datasets to LibraData?

Any employee (faculty/staff) or student of the University may submit datasets to LibraData.  Please consider that UVA claims ownership rights to intellectual property, including data, generated with significant University resources. Therefore a researcher may not be able to claim sole ownership of his/her data and may need to consult with the University before placing the dataset in Libra.  Please see the UVA policy on Ownership, Retention, Safeguarding, Management, and Transfer of Research Records for more information, or consult with the Office of the Vice President for Research for guidance as to whether you may make your data available through Libra.

Please consider whether other researchers or colleagues have rights to manage the release of this data, for example others involved with the grant, research activity, or laboratory, whether at UVA or at another institution. If the answer to this question is yes, you must obtain their permission to deposit the data in Libra.

What can be deposited in LibraData?

Many types of data are appropriate for LibraData deposit.  Examples of appropriate data for deposit would include:

  • data already made publicly available through another repository
  • data required by a funding agency to be made publicly available (which does not include sensitive or confidential information)
  • scholarly data which does not include sensitive or confidential information

In all cases depositors should be careful to ensure that the content they submit contains no confidential or sensitive information. Sensitive and personally identifiable data is highly regulated under federal, state and University policy. Prior to supplying any data for public archiving and distribution, you must remove any confidential or sensitive information, student education records protected under FERPA,  and all information that personally identifies any individual or that contains any information classified as highly sensitive under state or federal law, or UVA policy.

For these purposes, highly sensitive data currently includes personal information that can lead to identity theft if exposed and health information that reveals an individual’s health condition and/or history of health services use. 

For details of each type, see the full text of the Libra Dataset Public Deposit License.

  1. Personal information that, if exposed, can lead to identity theft.
  2. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is information that, if exposed, can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context.
  3. Health information that, if exposed, can reveal an individual’s health condition and/or history of health services use.

For more on University policy, see:

You should review the Libra Dataset Deposit License now to gain a better understanding of the types of data that can appropriately be deposited for public access through Libra.  You will also be asked to confirm the following points before data deposit:

  • That you have read the deposit license and affirm that you have the legal right and authorization to make this data publicly available online for world-wide unrestricted access through LibraData.
  • In preparing the data for public archiving and distribution, you have removed any confidential or sensitive information, student education records protected under FERPA, and all information that personally identifies any individual or that contains any information classified as highly sensitive under state or federal law, or UVA policy.
  • If the submission is based upon work that has been sponsored or supported by an agency or organization other than UVA such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, or a private sponsor or funder, you represent that you have fulfilled any right of review, confidentiality, or other obligations required by that contract or agreement.
  • You represent that you have made a reasonable effort to ensure that the data contained in your submission is accurate.
  • You represent that you have appropriately acknowledged other researchers whose work contributed to the data.

Are there restrictions on file type and size?

Any file format will be accepted. The limit on individual self-deposited files is 6GB. If you have larger file sizes to upload, contact us. While all file formats are accepted, please keep in mind that some file formats are more likely to remain readable in the future– for example, plain text files, or files in non-proprietary formats which are commonly used and for which conversion utilities are more likely to be available. See the Data Management Consulting Group website on File Formats and Data Types for more information.

How will other users understand my data?

In order for other users to understand your data, it is recommended that you submit a ReadMe file along with your data. The ReadMe file should be a plain text or PDF file and include the following types of information, in as much detail as possible:

  • Abstract which includes a brief description of the study which generated the dataset, including methodology.
  • Information on the contents of specific files if more than one is included in the dataset.
  • Variable names which are unambiguous and consistent, especially if you are submitting multiple data files from the same study.
  • Row and column identifiers which are clearly identified and defined.
  • Explanation of codes and classification schemes used, especially an interpretation of any values that are not obvious.
  • Algorithms used to transform data.
  • File format and software (including version) used.
  • Terms of use which require end users to cite and acknowledge the data creator (you).
  • Citation reference if you have a particular one you wish others to use to acknowledge your work.
  • Citation and acknowledgement information if your data was generated by co-researchers, co-researchers at other labs, or co-researchers at other institutions.
  • Citation information if you re-purposed a data file from someone else. You should also include a link to their original data file.

UVA offers a template for creating the ReadMe file. Cornell University Library offers another great template: ReadMeTemplate.  Additionally, we encourage including a link to publications that relate to the data being deposited, which will provide users with context and analysis for the data beyond the technical explanation of how the data was collected and how it is organized.

Why do I need to agree to the deposit license, and what does it say?

While individual facts and observations are not protected by copyright and are free for all to copy and reuse, datasets include not only observed facts but also expressive content that could qualify for copyright protection. Accordingly, UVA needs the author(s)’ permission to store, display, and distribute these aspects of the datasets, and members of the public need permission to download and reuse them. And, because some aspects of a dataset can raise concerns about privacy, confidentiality, and other important legal interests, we need you to represent that your data is free from these potential hazards.

Specifically, the deposit license requires you to affirm that:

  • You have the legal right and authorization to make this data publicly available online worldwide through Libra.
  • You have removed any confidential or sensitive information, including all information that personally identifies any individual or that contains any information that should not be made public under state or federal law, or UVA policy.
  • You have fulfilled any right of review, confidentiality, or other obligations imposed under any sponsored research agreement.
  • You have made a reasonable effort to ensure that the data contained in your submission is accurate.
  • You have appropriately acknowledged other researchers whose work contributed to the data.

The Deposit License confirms that you wish to make the material available through LibraData to the public, to allow certain educational, non-commercial, public uses of the material under a CC0 license (by default) and to allow for preservation by the University. CC0 is the default license for LibraData. You have the option to chose another CC-license or your own custom license. It is a non-exclusive agreement, meaning you retain the rights to use your data however you like. However, if you use a CC license, you are surrendering the relatively thin rights you may have had to limit others’ use of copyrightable aspects of the dataset.

See the full text of the Deposit License for more information.

Who can access LibraData to search for and download items?
What can users of LibraData do with the datasets I have submitted?

LibraData is an open access repository, meaning that anyone can search, view and download content. Users are required to agree to the Terms of Use stated on the LibraData site before accessing content. Those terms make clear that use of each dataset is governed by a license chosen by the depositor. The default license, CC0 (public domain dedication), permits unlimited reuse by anyone who accesses the repository. This is consistent with the purpose of open data repositories, namely, to encourage the widest possible reuse of data. You may choose to use a custom license to limit reuse. This will make your data less useful to researchers, but may be required by some funders or institutions.

May I delete or change a dataset that I have added to LibraData?

Because the repository is meant for scholarly work that is as close as possible to its final or published form, items cannot be deleted once they are deposited in Libra.  Scholars should only deposit in LibraData the version to which they intend to provide permanent open access.

If the Library determines or is made aware that a dataset has been deposited which contains non-public sensitive data or information, it retains the option of removing public access to the data at its discretion.  If you, the depositor, become aware of a rights or privacy problem with your data deposit, we ask that you let us know immediately and the Library will take prompt appropriate action.

Are items in LibraData guaranteed to remain available in perpetuity?

The Library and ITS are committed to the durability and sustainability of scholarship deposited in Libra.  LibraData uses standard data management practices, including security and backup procedures, to provide a reasonable assurance that files will remain retrievable over time.  In addition, UVA Library is a founder and  participant in the Academic Preservation Trust consortium, which aims to ensure preservation of digital library content including LibraData files.  However since permanent access is not a guarantee with any technology, we urge scholars to keep personal copies of their files.

The university reserves the right to remove content that is deposited out of compliance with the standard terms set forth in the Data Deposit License, or content that is deemed inappropriate for public viewing.

Where can I find out more about LibraData Polices and Terms of Use?

Policies, terms of use and general best practices for LibraData are found on our LibraData Policies Guide.

How can I find more information on using and depositing in LibraData?

How do I get started depositing in LibraData?

Best place to start is with our LibraData Deposit Checklist.

If you have any questions, please contact us at