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Data Management: Arch Data Deposit Guidelines

A guide to assist researchers in data management

Arch Data Deposit Guidelines

Arch Data Deposit Guidelines

Northwestern University Libraries provides free-of-charge research data management, access, and preservation services for Northwestern affiliates. Research grant funding agencies and scholarly journals often require data sets to be publicly accessible with persistent online identification. Contact Digital Scholarship Services or consult our Data Management Guide for additional information regarding open data requirements.

Who can deposit data?

Faculty, staff, students and researchers affiliated with Northwestern University. Northwestern affiliates may log in with their Net ID and password.

What data can be deposited?

Data must be digital, final, unrestricted, and in support of publication. Data types may include numerical tables, geospatial, code, documentation, protocols, audio, images, and video. The content must be scholarly, educational, or related to the university's mission.

Preferred format examples:

  • Containers: TAR, GZIP, ZIP
  • Databases: XML, CSV
  • Geospatial: SHP, DBF, GeoTIFF, NetCDF
  • Moving images: MOV, MPEG, AVI, MXF
  • Sounds: WAVE, AIFF, MP3, MXF
  • Statistics: ASCII, DTA, POR, SAS, SAV
  • Still images: TIFF, JPEG 2000, PDF, PNG, GIF, BMP
  • Tabular data: CSV
  • Web archive: WARC

Data must include adequate documentation describing the nature of the data at an appropriate level for purposes of reuse and discovery. This can include data dictionaries, readme files etc. Digital Scholarship Services can provide assistance in this area.

How big can the data sets be?

The upper limit for uploading Individual files in Arch is 500 MB in size. For larger files, please contact Digital Scholarship Services to determine whether and how Arch can accommodate these files.

Can access to the data sets be restricted?

Data must be deposited for open access.  This means that others may download and reuse your data. You have the option during the submission process to Embargo your data for a limited period of time (e.g. 1-2 years). Data that is not suitable for open access and reuse should not be shared in Arch.


When depositing your data set you will need to choose a license. For data sets, we recommend the Creative Commons CC0 license.

Arch preservation policy

Arch accepts data files in all digital formats, however, digital preservation support will be provided at different levels for specific formats as specified in the Digital Preservation Policy.

Withdrawn items

Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to remove data sets from Arch. For more information regarding withdrawal, please see the general policy document.

Terms of use

Users of data sets deposited in Arch are expected to abide by Northwestern University policies, where applicable. However, by using or downloading the data, users agree to give appropriate attribution to the author(s) of the data in any publication that employs resources provided by the Data Repository. For more information regarding Terms of Use, see the Arch Terms of Use.


Data are offered with no warranty or claim of fitness for any purpose. In no event shall the Northwestern University be liable for any actual, incidental or consequential damages arising from use of these files. Arch is intended to facilitate data sharing and the Digital Scholarship Services staff are available to assist users with finding, accessing, and downloading the data. However, the Digital Scholarship Services staff are limited in our ability to assist with using, analyzing, or understanding the data, and requests of this nature should be directed first to the author(s) of the data.

It is the responsibility of individuals who are uploading data to make sure that they have the necessary rights or permissions to share any materials they did not themselves generate. Most Northwestern researchers will have the necessary rights to share materials that they generated, under Northwestern University policies:  Research data: ownership, retention and access and copyright policy.