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titlePreparing data and metadata

As a researcher, you should make reasonable efforts to clean up your data and provide metadata (e.g. authors, title, topic etc.). The metadata should provide a thematic overview of your research data, including information on their development, methods used and legal aspects.

Metadata allow your data to be located via a search of the Research Collection, the ETH Library search portal and other search engines, and also makes it easier for you, and others, to gain an overview of said data.

Enhanced metadata also include the documentation of your data’s thematic context, which is designed to enable its subsequent reuse. The choice of an appropriate data format may also significantly facilitate the reuse and preservation of the data.

The Step-by-Step Guide on Data Publication for ETH Zurich Researchers supports you with documenting your metadata and datasets and with preparing them for publication in a FAIR data repository.

You should also keep the following in mind:

  • Pack the folder structures into ZIP or tar container files.
  • Avoid password protection, encryption and compression if possible.
  • Ensure that the path length does not exceed 200 characters.
  • Avoid special characters in file names.
  • Ensure that file extensions are consistent with the file format.


titleChoice of an appropriate file format

The choice of appropriate file formats will improve the (re)usability of your data and increase the chances of their effective preservation. As a result, it is worth thinking about appropriate file formats at the project’s outset, and including these in your Data Management Plan (DMP).

It may also be advisable to convert a specific file format into another format with a longer lifespan after processing (see File formats for archiving).

Although file formats that offer long-term usability are not required for publication in the repositories of ETH Zurich, problematic formats may significantly impede future use.