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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 (“Choice of an appropriate file format”).

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.


titleAccess rights and reuse

When you submit your data, you can choose who has access rights to the information:

  • Open access: freely accessible
  • Embargo: free access after an embargo period determined by you
  • Members of ETH Zurich: access with ETH login only
  • Selected users: access for a specific group of people
  • Closed access: storage for archiving purposes only; access limited to the individuals submitting and to authorised specialists at ETH Library.

In the event that access restrictions are implemented, unauthorised individuals may request access to the data via the “request access” function. The Research Collection team will forward such requests to the respective copyright holders in the event that they are still employed at ETH Zurich.

In any case, your research data’s descriptive metadata remain visible and freely accessible in the Research Collection.


titleStorage period

The shortest storage period for research data in the Research Collection is ten years. After the chosen storage period has expired, ETH Zurich University Archives will consult the data producers and decide whether specific data should continue to be stored for historical reasons. For use exceeding ten years, common, open file formats should be used as far as possible.


ETH Library offers the publication and automatic The publication or archiving of data up to 1 TB per research group is offered by ETH Library as a free service.If the data volume exceeds 1 TB, your group will generally be charged for the additional storage space. In this case, the fee schedule of ETH Zurich's IT services applies, which depends on the type of storage media.

titleCiting research data and reservation of DOI

All research data and documents published in the Research Collection receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and can thus be permanently addressed and cited.

We recommend that you cite a research dataset with the following minimum specifications:

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier

For further information on the correct citation of research data, please consult the DataCite website.

If you wish to refer to a research data set due for publication at a later date in a publication or when submitting a manuscript, you can reserve a DOI in the Research Collection.