Depositing & Updating

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, behavioral, and health sciences data repository, each project should include research data or syntax that can be used with research. 

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.

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 Researcher Passport account, and depositors can share projects with one another as necessary.

Yes, depositors may delay the release for up to three years. Delayed releases immediately publish a citation and descriptive metadata, but the data are not available until the release date.

openICPSR depositors may share up to 30GB per file, with a total limit of 30GB and 1,000 files per deposit.

Requests to exceed the 30GB limit should be sent to ICPSR Acquisitions and should address expected size, as well as how the data collection benefits the research community and fits with ICPSR's Collection Development Policy.

The "Import From Zip" feature will upload and extract contents of a .ZIP file to your project workspace. A maximum of 1,000 files and folders per ZIP file may be extracted.

The depositor agrees to the following terms when depositing data in openICPSR:

  1. I, hereby, irrevocably authorize the Regents of the University of Michigan (the "University"), on behalf of ICPSR, a non-exclusive licence, in perpetuity, to use the deposited data for the following purposes, without limitation:
    • To disseminate copies of the Data Collection in a variety of media formats
    • To promote and advertise the Data Collection in any publicity (in any form) for ICPSR
    • To describe, catalog, validate and document the Data Collection
    • To store, translate, copy or re-format the Data Collection in any way to ensure its future security, preservation, and accessibility
    • To incorporate metadata or documentation in the Data Collection into public access catalogs
    • To enhance, transform, rearrange, or restrict data and metadata to protect respondent confidentiality or improve usability.
  2. I, hereby, authorize the University to authorize others to make uses consistent with these terms.
  3. I warrant that I have the right to agree to these terms and that I accept full responsibility for the authorizations I am agreeing to herein.
  4. I have prepared this data collection for archiving and distribution in a manner consistent with the consent of the study participants and the relevant Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, if applicable.
  5. I assert that all research subjects (living persons or active organizations) whose information is represented in this Data Collection have consented to sharing these data in an appropriate manner and/or I have institutional approval to share these data (e.g., waiver of consent from your IRB).

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" a project; openICPSR will continue to list the data and metadata, including a persistent citation with DOI, but the file(s) no longer will be downloadable and the project no longer will be indexed in ICPSR's catalog.

Yes. Per our deposit 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 or out-of-scope content posted to the site.

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.

This service is not available for openICPSR deposits. If you wish ICPSR to curate your data, which includes reviewing your data for errors and creating versions of your data for all major statistical applications, please deposit your data with ICPSR instead.

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. openICPSR data are distributed and preserved as-is, exactly as they arrive.

In contrast, ICPSR professional staff review, curate and distribute ICPSR deposits.  These data are enhanced, which includes distribution in multiple formats (e.g., SAS, SPSS, Stata, R, delimited). ICPSR has a rich 50-year history of curating and preserving data.

openICPSR is a research data sharing service that allows any depositor to rapidly self-publish social, behavioral, and health sciences research data. An openICPSR repository is a fully-hosted, branded repository developed to meet the needs of journals, research centers, and professional associations.

Discovery & Access

openICPSR deposits are searchable within 24 hours of publication, including on the main ICPSR website unless otherwise noted for a specific repository. An international consortium of more than 780 academic institutions and research organizations, ICPSR has an immediate distribution network of over 780 institutions looking for research data.  ICPSR’s website has powerful search tools and a data catalog indexed by major search engines.

The openICPSR search engine is pretty straightforward. Search terms can be anywhere in the project. Specific search tips are provided on the Find Data web page, and users can further refine their search results using the sorting and filtering functions. 

Please note that the openICPSR search function 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" 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 calculates usage metrics based on the COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data


Count of unique user sessions that have viewed this page, excluding web crawlers. A user session is an instance of a browser client that establishes connection with the application and stays active. A user session typically expires after 1 hour of inactivity. (A user can open another browser or use an incognito browser mode to establish another unique session with the application.) For overall project metrics, the count is the cumulative number of unique session views for that project + sub-folder(s) + file(s). For file or folder-level metrics, it is the cumulative number of unique session views for that file/folder and any sub-files/folders.


Count of unique user sessions that have downloaded files. The number of files downloaded is not factored into the counts. A user is required to log-on and establish a unique session with the application in order to download files. A user session typically expires after 1 hour of inactivity. Downloading individual files multiple times from the same project by the same user session will be counted as 1 unique download for the project. Overall project metrics represent the cumulative number of unique sessions in which files were downloaded for that project + sub folders + files. For file- or folder-level metrics, the count is the cumulative number of unique sessions that downloaded files for that file/folder and any sub-files/folders.


Number of publications associated by the depositor with the project. ICPSR does not actively find and add citations to the Publications listed in self-published projects. More published analyses of the data in this project may exist. Hence, the number of publications currently associated with this project may not represent the total actual published usage.

ICPSR staff do not conduct bibliographic searches on data deposited in openICPSR. Only ICPSR's curated data collections are provided full-service bibliography searches.

Depositors, however, can add related publications to their projects. They can also copy and paste the project citation and add it to their publications; each project citation includes a persistent DOI.

First, make sure you are using a supported Web browser (Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox). This website is not optimized for Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. 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.


A user guide for openICPSR depositors is available. The guide provides step-by-step instructions about all aspects of depositing data with openICPSR, including how to: log in to the deposit workspace, upload files, import from zip, view files, describe the data collection (i.e., add metadata), add related publications, use the project communication log and the project control panel, publish the collection, update a published project and request help with your project.

A user guide for openICPSR Repository administrators is available. The guide provides step-by-step instructions about all aspects of administering an openICPSR Repository, including how to: request user support, log in to the repository administrator management workspace, guidance for administering in the AEA Data and Code Repository, managing in progress deposits, communicating with depositors using the project communication log, managing published projects, and transferring deposits to another openICPSR Repository.


Depositors select from a variety of licenses to distribute their data, including Creative Commons licenses and a Public Domain Mark.  Available software licenses include: Apache License 2.0; BSD 2-Clause “Simplified” or “FreeBSD” License; BSD 3-Clause “New” or “Revised” License; GPL 3.0; LGPL 3.0; MIT License; Mozilla Public License 2.0; Common Development and Distribution License; and the Eclipse Public License.  If depositors would like to use multiple licenses or create a customized license, they may upload a LICENSE file alongside the data and documentation within the project workspace. ICPSR requires a license for the distribution of data, but copyright remains with the author.

Users should respect the terms of the license(s) applied to a data collection. Additionally, users downloading openICPSR data agree: 1) To not use the datasets for investigation of specific research subjects, except when identification is authorized in writing by ICPSR; and 2) To make no use of the identity of any research subject discovered inadvertently, and to advise ICPSR of any such discovery.


openICPSR provides as-is, bit-level preservation.

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.


There is no cost to deposit or access data in openICPSR.  

Rates to host an openICPSR Repository are based on the number of annual deposits, size of deposits, workflow complexity, and/or other implementation features.

Yes.  The costs for curation services are primarily based on the number of variables and complexity of the data. Curation fees are an acceptable budget line within the data management plan of grant applications. ICPSR also offers a free option for data curation with study dissemination restricted to individuals at ICPSR member institutions. Please contact ICPSR Acquisitions at deposit@icpsr.umich.edu for additional information or for a quote.

Restricted-Use Data

Disclosure analysis is not available for openICPSR deposits. It is the responsibility of the depositor to ensure there are no disclosure violations in their data.

If you wish ICPSR to conduct disclosure analysis of your data, you will need to deposit with ICPSR or pay to have the data curated.

As a part of the terms and conditions presented when publishing a project, depositors must answer two questions pertaining to disclosure risk:

  1. Can individuals be identified from information in this Data Collection? If the data were made public, could someone use a combination of variables (e.g. age, sex, race, occupation, geography) to find individuals in a publicly available database?
  2. Does this Data Collection include sensitive information? Would the release of individually identifiable information create a risk of harm (e.g. psychological distress, social embarrassment, financial loss) greater than the risks that people experience in everyday life?

The answers to those questions determine whether the data collection will be made available for public download or published as restricted data.

Users are required to apply for access to restricted data. Additionally, non-members will be charged $550 to access the data, plus either $349 for secure download or $484 for virtual data enclave (VDE) administrative fees.

To learn more about accessing restricted data, please visit the Accessing Restricted Data Through openICPSR page.