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  • Preparing your datasets for deposit

    As part of the deposit process we will agree with you the format and structure of your data and a handover date. At the actual point of handover, ensuring that your data are correct, formatted and consistency-checked will minimise the time you (and we) have to subsequently spend completing the process. The following guidelines will help you to make best use of the time you have to prepare your datasets.

    Formatting and content

    • Data provided to EIDC should normally be in a non-proprietary format (e.g. .CSV rather than Excel)
    • Variable names should be unique, short and (preferably) meaningful
    • If your data is tabular, the variable names should be in the first row (and only the first row).
    • Avoid spaces and special characters (e.g. $*@ ) in variable names
    • Remove any variables which are are not important for re-using the data (e.g. created for admin or internal purposes)
    • If you are using abbreviations and codes in your data, they should be unique (within each dataset), meaningful and consistent.  If they are not self-explanatory, they should be explained in a separate accompanying document
    • Ensure that any missing values are handled consistently throughout the dataset
    • Ensure that there are no unexplained characters or codes in the data e.g. n/d, n/a, x
    • Ensure that metadata explanations are applicable to the data (e.g. the metadata states that "t = trace", but t doesn't occur in the data)


    • Filenames should be meaningful and reflect the content
    • Please try to keep filenames short
    • If you have multiple, related files it's good to be consistent and use a relevant naming convention
    • Do not use spaces and special characters (e.g. $*@%)


    This doesn't tell us anything about the data

    Site location data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme 2011.csv
    This is very long and contains spaces

    This is descriptive, short and contains no spaces or special characters

    Anonymity and data security

    • Ensure that data are anonymised where needed and cannot be linked to any identifiable person
    • Consider anonymising site location data where this is necessary for the safety of the site, equipment or future research
    • Where data are derived from existing data, check if permission needs to be obtained from the data owner


    • When converting data for deposit, ensure that all data and metadata are correct after conversion
    • Confirm that data detail is consistent with the access and licensing agreements as stated
    • Complete all internal consistency checks BEFORE offering your data for deposit
    • Resolve any data issues and ensure data are complete BEFORE deposit, to minimise the risk of further deposit(s) being necessary


    If you have any queries or are unsure about the suitability of your dataset(s) for deposit, we'll be happy to discuss it with you.  Please contact us.