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Requirements for Metadata Only Records

INDIGO is not the place to submit confidential, private, or sensitive data.  It is not HIPAA compliant.   However, you may have data available for re-use stored in secure restricted locations, that individuals with the correct authorization and security could in fact be granted access for re-use.  Using INDIGO, it is possible to create metadata only records in INDIGO, in order to make others aware of the potential availability of the data.  The information provided in the INDIGO record would include the processes and procedures potential data re-use users may follow in order to submit a request to gain access to this data.

The reasons you may publish a metadata only record include:

  • Your data are sensitive and can only be shared with people who meet specific conditions. The metadata only record will include information on how to apply for access to the data. 
  • You’ve previously published the data elsewhere, but you need to publish a record in a specific repository to fulfill funder or institutional requirements. The metadata only record should provide a link to the original location of the data.
  • You’ve previously published the data elsewhere, but you would like to make your data more findable by publishing metadata only records for the data in other repositories. These metadata only records should provide links to the original location of the data.

How to Prepare your Metadata Only Deposit

To create and submit a metadata only record in INDIGO, you will not submit the dataset itself.  The following information will be needed about the data:  

Metadata Requirements

  • Metadata about the dataset(s).    This includes Title (name of project), Authors, Keywords, filetype, a description of the project and sufficient details to enable others to easily understand whether the data is of interest, contact information, data use agreement information.
  • See Metadata Requirements for INDIGO for more detailed information.
  • Metadata only records will additionally require:
    • Contact information (i.e. email address) to request permission to access the data.   
    • Data usage rights or data use agreement requirements, including IRB approval requirements
    • Location of data storage.  Include information about where the data is stored.  For example, if your data is stored in UIC's Research Data Glacier or Research Data Lake, please also note this.   Instructions on how a researcher may request access to your data in Glacier are provided at the bottom of the Research Data Glacier information page
    • Information on how long the data set will be stored in its current location (i.e. is there a date when support to maintain the data will expire)   

Documentation about the datasets (README files, Data Dictionaries, data use policies or agreements, sample data)

  • Although you will not be uploading your dataset, it may be advantageous to upload your README files, data dictionaries, data reuse agreement information, and sample data so those interested in potential re-use of your data will have appropriate information to know whether they would like to request to use your data.   
  • See Preparing Documentation for more information
  • If you upload these files (strongly recommended) into INDIGO, it is technically not a metadata only record because files are uploaded.  However, aside from a sample dataset, it will not include the actual private or sensitive data.    If you don't provide this information in INDIGO, you will need to provide it in the location where your data is stored, to facilitate re-use.


Please review the information provided on How to Prepare your Data for Deposit.  

Metadata Only Records Reserved for Datasets

The intent of INDIGO is to make scholarly materials directly related to scholarship available to others.    There are times because of privacy and HIPAA concerns, it is not possible to attach a data file to INDIGO.  Metadata only records are reserved for datasets when it is not possible due to privacy concerns or other requirements to upload the dataset directly into INDIGO.   The intent of the Metadata only records is to make others aware of the availability of the data, while not providing direct access to the data.  See the Metadata Only Records tab for more information on how to upload metadata only records for datasets.

Metadata only records for formats other than datasets (i.e. links to full-text of publications on other websites) will generally not be approved.