Depositing & Updating

Yes. However, openICPSR depositors should never share their login information with others. If a member of your research team needs to post content, they should request a separate MyData account, and depositors can share projects with one another as necessary.

Yes. openICPSR allows depositors to update files and metadata at any time. An updated project will get a new version and a new DOI, so that citations can indicate clearly which version of the data collection was used in analysis. Furthermore, users still can download earlier versions of the file, unless the depositor chooses to unpublish them.

If you feel you should have chosen a different option during the publish step (questions on disclosure and such), simply "unpublish" the study and "publish" it again. You will be presented with the same questions and can edit them as you see fit.

Prior to publishing, depositors have the option to delete any file. After publishing, depositors have the option to "unpublish" any file. openICPSR will continue to list the data/metadata, but the file no longer will be downloadable. Furthermore, ICPSR will keep an archived copy of the file. Depositors should note that users will be directed to contact the depositor if they are seeking an "unpublished" file. If a depositor needs a published file to be completely expunged from our system, s/he will need to contact ICPSR.

Yes. Per our deposit terms and conditions agreement, the depositor gives ICPSR the right "to enhance, transform, rearrange, or restrict data and metadata," which includes the right to remove access or delete inappropriate content posted to the site.

openICPSR is a research data-sharing service that allows depositors to rapidly self-publish research data, enabling the public to access the data without charge -- or in the case of restricted-use data, for nominal charge.

ICPSR has a rich 50-year history of archiving and preserving data collections. For standard deposits, professional staff review, curate and distribute data collections in multiple formats (e.g., SAS, SPSS, Stata, R, delimited). Preservation copies are made to better ensure long-term access. The openICPSR service is an alternative to the standard ICPSR deposit process, providing immediate, self-controlled distribution of data and metadata, albeit without the rich curation and preservation features; data in openICPSR are distributed and preserved as-is, exactly as they arrive.

openICPSR deposits should include all data and documentation necessary to independently read and interpret the data collection. We do not restrict file types. However, because openICPSR is a social and behavioral science data repository, each project should include research data or syntax that can be used with research data available through ICPSR or elsewhere. Documentation files or publications without accompanying data or code should not be deposited in openICPSR as standalone projects. ICPSR encourages individuals wishing to share abstracts or research papers without associated raw data to use another service, such as the Social Science Research Network.

Please do not create or publish test data on the openICPSR website. We have a testing process in place and welcome feedback on bugs, but we request that you not fill our database with fake metadata and random test files.

First, make sure you are using a supported Web browser (Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox). This website is not optimized for Internet Explorer. Second, make sure Javascript is allowed within your browser. This website requires Javascript to be allowed. Third, try turning off browser add-ons (e.g., Privacy Badger), which may block the website from loading. Finally, if none of these suggestions resolve the issue, please contact us.

openICPSR allows users to share their data up to a 2GB limit. Requests to exceed the 2GB limit should be sent to ICPSR Acquisitions and should address expected size, as well how the data collection benefits the research community and fits with ICPSR's Collection Development Policy.

Discovery & Access

openICPSR deposits are searchable on the ICPSR website within 24 hours of publication. ICPSR has an immediate distribution network of over 770 institutions looking for research data that has powerful search tools and a data catalog indexed by major search engines.

Our search engine is pretty straightforward. We use the same faceted searching that you see on Amazon.com, Google, Home Depot, etc.

Specific searching tips are provided on the Find Data web page. The facets/filters on the left column of the search results page enable you to narrow your search results.

Please note that our search does not search the entire website; it searches only our openICPSR data holdings.

Yes, after an openICPSR project is published, it is automatically assigned a project citation, which includes a persistent digital object identifier (DOI). Users may also request a citation for individual folders and files by logging into openICPSR and clicking the "Generate Citation for this File" button on the individual folder or file page.

openICPSR will provide depositors with aggregate data on how many users have downloaded the data. We do not disclose users' download information to third parties.

openICPSR staff does not conduct bibliographic searches on data deposited in the Self-Deposit Package; however, we provide for all packages a data citation that end users can easily copy and paste into their publications. Each citation includes a DOI.

Purchasers of the Professional Curation Package or the Full Topical Archive (Data Collection) service are provided full-service bibliography search.

Please see the "Pricing" section below for more details about the Professional Curation Package.

This service is not available as part of the Self-Deposit Package. If you wish ICPSR to create versions of your data for all major statistical applications, please purchase the Professional Curation Package.


The federal Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo "Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research" (February 13, 2013) indicates that federally funded research must be available for commercial use.

openICPSR is designed to meet federal open-access requirements. As such, we must use the Creative Commons license that meets those needs.


openICPSR provides bit-level preservation and public access for the long term. If depositors wish to extend preservation and public access for their projects, they can provide further funding to have their data professionally curated for dissemination through ICPSR or one of the topical archives. Please see the "Pricing" section below for more details. Also, depositors can donate unfunded deposits to the ICPSR membership. Contact ICPSR Acquisitions at deposit@icpsr.umich.edu for additional information about donating unfunded deposits to the ICPSR membership.

openICPSR files are archived in ICPSR's standard archival storage, which replicates holdings through multiple and varied methods and locations. All files uploaded to openICPSR are encrypted using server-side encryption.


  1. Self-Deposit Package: Enables research scientists to deposit data on demand and provide immediate public access. Depositors prepare all files and metadata (meta tags). Once data are published, depositors get a DOI and a data citation; openICPSR conducts a metadata review to maximize exposure in ICPSR's catalog. Self-deposit is currently free for all users to share their data up to a 2GB limit.
  2. openICPSR for Institutions and Journals - Fully-hosted, branded for your organization, professionally-run, and trusted data repository that demonstrates the research impact of your organization. Appropriate for universities, journals, professional associations, research centers, and departments.

Yes. openICPSR fees should be written into grant/contract proposals that require public data access. Use of openICPSR for data sharing should be addressed in the data management plan and data deposit/data curation fees are an acceptable budget line within the grant application.

The Professional Curation Package enables a research scientist to tap all aspects of ICPSR's curation services including full metadata generation and a bibliography search, stat package conversion, and user support. The costs for this service are primarily based on the number of variables and complexity of the data. Please contact ICPSR Acquisitions at deposit@icpsr.umich.edu for additional information.

Sensitive Data

As a part of the terms and conditions presented when publishing a project, depositors must answer two questions pertaining to disclosure risk. The answers to those questions determine whether the data collection will be published as restricted data or made available for public download.

Users are required to apply for access to restricted data. Additionally, data users may be charged an administration fee to access restricted-use data.

Disclosure analysis is not available for the Self-Deposit Package. It is the responsibility of the depositor to ensure there are no disclosure violations in his/her data.

If you wish ICPSR to conduct disclosure analysis of your data, you will need to purchase the Professional Curation package.


  • Reduces Disclosure Risk. If identification of a respondent is possible based on information in the data, a responsible depositor should restrict the data to protect the identity of the respondent.

  • Protects Sensitive Information. Some depositors may want to restrict data to protect sensitive information that respondents have provided. For example, HIV status or other protected health status information elevate the importance in protecting respondent identity. Protecting sensitive information should be considered in conjunction with the types of potential identifiers that may be present in the data. Sensitive information may require a depositor to be more restrictive than they otherwise would have been.


  • Limits Access. If the research grant required that the data be publicly available, restricting access to data may fail to meet that obligation unless it is justified by the presence of potentially identifying variables in the data.

  • Negatively Affects Data Use Metrics. Restricted data does not typically generate the number of citations that publicly available data does, and those citations are viewed favorably by funding agencies (and peer reviewers of grant proposals) for evaluating future grant proposals of the depositor.

  • Reduces Research Impact. Data that are not readily available may have less overall impact on research in that field. It also may not contribute to the researcher's reputation as much as data that are readily available and widely used by other researchers.

  • Limits Transparency. Publicly available data can easily be replicated and demonstrates that the researcher is confident in his/her results and that his/her methods are credible. Restricting data reduce the visibility of the underlying methods and raise questions about the research.