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Deposit Data


ICPSR welcomes and encourages deposits of digital data. Deposits are made using a secure form to describe the data collection and upload content.

Users must have or create a MyData, Facebook, or Google account to sign in to ICPSR and deposit data.

We strongly recommend that users consult the DSDR Pre-Deposit Guide (pdf) before depositing data with DSDR. For a more comprehensive overview regarding the data management steps that should be taken before depositing data with DSDR, please refer to the ICPSR guide.

Data Deposit Form

For deposits that involve physical materials, please email

Why Deposit Data With ICPSR?

Data archived through ICPSR benefits from:

  • Data Curation. ICPSR enhances and adds value to data by making them easier to use. We also describe data fully for Web discovery and protect respondent privacy.
  • Long-Term Preservation. ICPSR ensures long-term data availability.
  • Worldwide Dissemination. ICPSR offers data in the major statistical package formats and online analysis. Usage statistics are available on request.

Archiving data with ICPSR also benefits researchers. Specifically, ICPSR provides:

  • User Support. ICPSR staff are available to answer questions about downloading and using data.
  • Levels of Access. ICPSR offers restricted access data services and a secure data enclave.
  • Aggregation of Publications. ICPSR creates a database of citations based on analyses of your data.

What Should My Deposit Include?

Deposits should include all data and documentation necessary to independently read and interpret the data collection. Key instructions for preparing data and documentation are listed below. For a discussion of best practice in preparing data for sharing, please refer to ICPSR's Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving, 5th Edition or contact us directly ( For a list of data sharing tips, see our Tips for Writing a Data Sharing or Data Management Plan.

The following components should be included in your deposit:

Data File

ICPSR encourages depositors to submit data files as SAS, SPSS, or Stata files. ASCII files are also acceptable as long as they are accompanied with data definition statements. Datasets in other formats are accepted as well.

Each variable in the data collection should have a set of exhaustive, mutually-exclusive codes. Variable labels and value labels should clearly describe the information or question recorded in that variable. When applicable, all identifying information should be removed from the records to ensure confidentiality.


Documentation files are integral to interpreting a data collection and should thoroughly explain the data collection. Examples of documentation files include codebooks, data collection instruments, summary statistics, project summaries, and bibliographies of publications pertaining to the data. Documentation can be submitted as Microsoft Word, ASCII, and DDI XML files , among other formats. Documentation that has the question text integrated with variable information is preferred.


Every new or revised ICPSR study includes a study description, which provides summary information about the data collection. Study descriptions are valuable resources to data users, and include both general information, such as study title and summary, and more detailed information about the study design and methodology. Much of the information used by ICPSR data archivists to create the study description comes from the ICPSR data deposit form. An MS Word file is provided to help you prepare and compile study description information before depositing your data.

What Happens to My Data After the Deposit?

After a data collection is deposited at ICPSR, a data archivist reviews the documentation and data, builds a study description, enhances and quality-checks the data, approves the data collection for distribution on the ICPSR website, and archives the data for long-term preservation.

Access and Preservation Formats

ICPSR makes quantitative data files available in several widely used formats, including ASCII, tab-delimited (for use with Excel), SAS, SPSS, and Stata. Documentation is provided as PDF.

For long-term preservation, data are stored in accordance with prevailing standards and practice. Currently, ICPSR stores quantitative data as ASCII along with setup files for the statistical software packages, and documentation is preserved using XML and PDF/A.