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Data Sharing

There is increasingly more demand for the data sets that underline research to be available.   Funding agencies are requiring that research data be preserved, discoverable, accessible, and reusable.   Journal publishers are also asking that the data sets that support the research findings in a paper be made available.  As a way to address, data sets [no larger than 5GB per file] may be uploaded into INDIGO.  

If you have sensitive data, INDIGO is not an appropriate place for the data.  However, you may create a metadata only record, which will allow you to make know you have data that others can request from you for re-use, with the correct security and credentials.  Please see Metadata Only Records for additional requirements for metadata only records.

Please note there are many data repositories available, including subject discipline repositories which may be more appropriate for your data.  Consult the Registry of Research Data Repositories ( to explore other options for depositing your research data.

What kind of data is accepted in INDIGO?

Research data from all fields, subjects, and disciplines at the University of Illinois at Chicago may be published and/or archived in INDIGO, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The work must be produced, submitted, or sponsored by a valid University of Illinois at Chicago faculty members, researchers, staff, or student.
  • The author/copyright owner must grant the University of Illinois at Chicago the nonexclusive right to preserve and distribute the data in perpetuity.  For more details, please see the INDIGO's Nonexclusive Distribution License.
  • The data is in formats that are open and nonproprietary OR the data is in proprietary formats that are widely used and appropriate for the research communities likely to re-use the data.
  • The data submitted is permissible according to the criteria and practices established for deposit by the University Library, policies set by University of Illinois at Chicago IT Security Program (see UIC’s Data Classification and Security Guideline) and requirements for ensuring that research data involving the use of human subjects is in accordance with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). 
  • You have fulfilled any right of review, confidentiality, or other obligations required by contract or agreement if the work was sponsored or supported by an agency or organization other than the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Data in INDIGO must be openly available to anyone.  Submitted data should be well-documented and ready for distribution and reuse by others. Once you submit data with the intent of making the metadata and DOI public for findability, you may specify an embargo of up to 1 year.  Please email to discuss any longer embargo periods.
  • The data is submitted with appropriate documentation and descriptive metadata, which could include reusage terms, a project description, data dictionaries, etc. A README file is required for all submissions. For assistance with documentation, please contact  


  • We will not accept:
    • Confidential or sensitive data. This includes data that are subject to export controls, present a conflict of interest for the University or the Researcher(s), or whose distribution would otherwise constitute a violation of research ethics or compliance.
    • Data containing personally identifiable information that would prohibit public access.
    • Data that is encrypted.
    • While these data types may not be currently deposited into INDIGO, we are happy to assist in the creation of a metadata and documentation-only record which allows for discovery of the dataset without exposing the data publicly. For assistance in creation of a metadata and documentation-only record, please contact


Please email prior to writing the use of INDIGO into your grant data management plan to confirm there will be enough space available for your data and if INDIGO is appropriate. 

How to Prepare your Data for Deposit

Selecting Data

The first step to depositing data is determining what data to deposit. Research projects often generate a lot of data throughout the life of the project. It is not always feasible to deposit all the data from the project. When selecting data to deposit in INDIGO, you should consider:

  • the importance of the data
  • the reusability of the data
  • the necessity of the data to validating research results

In addition, you must address whether the data includes personally identifiable information and whether you have the rights to make the dataset public.

Please follow the FAIR Principles as you prepare your data for deposit.

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

Formatting and Deposit Size

INDIGO will accept any file format. To facilitate basic preservation services, compressed data is discouraged (.zip, .gz, tar.gz). File format recommendations for preservation can be found in the Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement (

If you are working with proprietary or less-sustainable formats, consider converting your data to an open, widely-used format when you save and share your data. Many software programs allow for converting datasets into open formats (e.g. save SPSS dataset as CSV). This will better ensure that your data is accessible and usable by yourself and others and into the future.

There are some constraints on the size of files deposited:

  • The maximum size of a file uploaded through the online interface is 5GB.  
  • Each individual has a 5GB space limit by default in INDIGO.   It is possible to increase your space up to 20GB.  Please contact to increase your space allotment in INDIGO.

File Names

File names should have meaning. This means that the content of a file can be identified based on the name of the file, in addition to indicating how it might differ from other files in the data set. Your files names could be based on important elements of your project such as: specimen, dates and times, location, testing conditions or variables, file visioning numbers, or other relevant information.  If you have multiple files, as part of your ReadMe file (described below), provide an explanation of your file naming convention and / or a description of the contents of each file.

Some other consideration for your file names:

  • avoid special characters
  • limit the use of periods. Use Periods (.) to separate the file name from the file extension.
  • limit the use of spaces. Use instead dashes (-) or underscores (_).
  • Use existing Standards when possible. For example, there is a standard for how dates and times should be recorded:  ISO 8601.

Preparing Documentation (README file, Data Dictionaries, data use policies)


A README file will be expected as part of any data or software file deposit to INDIGO. A README file will provide context to your dataset, independent of any explanation that may be found elsewhere, such as in a publication or other web-based resources. 

Cornell University has developed a template for creating README files that you may use to prepare your deposit for INDIGO.

Data Dictionaries

  • It may also be appropriate to include a data dictionary with your data deposit.   If you your data uses codes or abbreviations, or you need to explain the meaning of terms, the relationship of the data to other data, the data origin, or the format of the data, you will want a data dictionary to define these terms and explain the source of the data.
  • For more on data dictionaries and for examples, see: Data Dictionaries.

Data Use Policies

You can include information on any data use policies associated with the dataset.   This may be a requirement of the funder or there may be expectations for using the dataset.

Metadata Requirements

As part of actual submission process in INDIGO, you will be required to provide metadata in specific form fields. This includes:

  • Titles
  • Authors
  • Categories [Subject/Discipline categories]
  • Item Type 
  • Keywords [Author selected keywords]
  • Description - this should provide sufficient detail to enable others to easily understand whether the data is of interest.   It is also good to include information about your use policies, data characteristics and preservation plan.  
  • License

Optional fields include:

  • References (recommended if there is a publication related to the dataset)
  • Funding (recommended if dataset resulted from funded research)
  • Publisher Statement
  • Date (highly recommended - click on Edit Time line found on the right  of the screen under Tips, when entering your metadata in INDIGO.  This will allow to you to enter a publication date for your dataset.   The publication date would be the most recent date upon which the dataset was created, revised, or updated.)

Requirements for Metadata Only Records

Please see Metadata Only Records for additional requirements for metadata only records.


Conditions for Deposit

Research data from all fields, subjects, and disciplines at the University of Illinois at Chicago may be published and/or archived in INDIGO, provided the above conditions are met. All submissions will undergo Curation Review before being permanently deposited to INDIGO. Curation Review is when UIC librarians review the submitted files. Curation Review focuses on how the submitted data is documented and organized for preservation and re-use purposes. If your submission is declined, it indicates that revisions are required before it can be deposited to INDIGO or that there may be a confidentiality or other concern. You will be contacted with information related to the required revisions. You may request the assistance of a librarian to provide advice on needed revisions. If you have any questions about this, please email

Need Support?

Having trouble with the INDIGO website?   Email

Need to increase your INDIGO space quota?   Email

Have a question about data management or documentation?  Email to ask a question or request a consultation with one of our librarians.

Learn more about data management at: