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Data Sharing & Curation Policy

Washington University Libraries provide data curation and sharing services to support Washington University researchers and scholars. All faculty, students, staff, and other affiliates are eligible to use the University Libraries’ data curation and sharing services.

Submitted Data

Data submitted to the repository will be:

  • Curated: Datasets submitted to the data repository undergo a curation process before publication. This process ensures that the data are functioning, in the appropriate format, and well documented to facilitate long-term FAIRness (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). The University Libraries’ data curation services are also open to WashU affiliates who are depositing data elsewhere; affiliates’ data will receive the same curatorial attention as data published in the WashU data repository.
  • Published: The published dataset receives a digital object identifier (DOI) and descriptive Dublin Core and Data Cite metadata. The repository manages submission, management, and dissemination using open protocols. The data will be disseminated in open formats to the greatest extent possible and will be accompanied by robust documentation and a data dictionary to maximize reusability.
  • Versions: If an author of a dataset finds that a file in their published dataset contains an error, they must contact the Data Services staff to submit the corrected file. A new version of the entire dataset will be created and a new DOI assigned. Data Services will record the connection between the associated datasets and note the current version in the discovery metadata.
  • Preserved: The University Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy will apply to all submitted content in the data repository in accordance with digital preservation guidelines. Data will be submitted to the repository and a second location with regular backups, fixity, and security checks.
  • Retained: Datasets are curated and shared in the University Libraries’ data repository for a minimum of 10 years. At the 10-year milestone, University Libraries staff will review the dataset with the submitter to determine appropriate actions.

Data Submission Criteria

Data submissions must meet the following criteria:

  • WashU Authorship: Data must be authored by at least one WashU researcher with an active WUSTL Key.
  • Scaled: Data is digital, and each submission must not exceed 999GB. Larger data files are considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Complete: The data should be in a final publishable state (i.e., the end of the project, project milestone).
  • Distinct: Data should consist of original and/or unique attributes or content that cannot be easily acquired elsewhere.
  • Primary: Data, portions of data, or accompanying documentation that contains copyrightable materials (e.g., text, images, video, audio) that did not originate with the depositor will be subject to additional curatorial review and/or may not be accepted into the repository. Data that contain such third-party copyrightable materials may present significant legal issues for deposit and sharing. It is the responsibility of individuals who submit data to confirm that they have the necessary rights or permissions to share any materials they did not generate themselves. Also see the Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy for Washington University Libraries repository guidelines.


The University Libraries may withdraw a published dataset from the repository before the current ten-year commitment period ends for a compelling reason. Compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, copyright violations, exposure of sensitive data, and/or otherwise fall outside of the submission criteria detailed above.

Datasets may not be withdrawn because the depositor or creator is moving to another institution. Creators have the right to provide additional copies to other institutions under the non-exclusive deposit agreement.

If the University Libraries determine a withdrawal to be necessary, the depositor is notified and files associated with a withdrawn dataset are removed from the public view and are no longer available for download. University Libraries staff will add a statement of withdrawal to the associated dataset’s descriptive metadata. In many cases, withdrawal results in suppression of public access to data files and/or metadata files, even when the entire dataset is retained within University systems for the sake of provenance. In rarer cases, the University Libraries may be compelled to delete all or part of a dataset altogether.

Related University Policies & Resources