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Institutional Membership

The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) began offering institutional memberships in 2018. The main benefit of membership is curation and preservation of data projects deposited by scholars associated with member institutions. Memberships run for academic years (beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30). Institutions interested in joining QDR should download and complete an Institutional Membership Agreement, and email it to

What Services Are Offered to Institutional Members?

QDR offers a broad range of services to help depositors render their data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). QDR’s staff are familiar with and alert to the special considerations that must be taken into account with sensitive data, and we help depositors to share their data files ethically and legally.

More specifically, QDR offers the following curation services for each data project deposited with QDR under an Institutional Membership Agreement:

  1. During initial consultation and appraisal, which may involve one or more phone/Skype conversations, QDR discusses project content and organization with depositors.

  2. Upon receipt of the data, QDR stores all files in their original form for preservation and then performs the following tasks on data files.

    • File integrity checks to assure that all files can be opened correctly.

    • File format conversion to data formats suitable for long-term preservation.

    • File naming to enhance uniformity and organization.

    • Copyright review to help depositors to assess whether files may violate applicable copyright terms or licenses and to develop solutions to allow publishing as much data as legally possible.

    • Disclosure risk evaluation assistance (when sensitive materials are in languages spoken by a QDR staff member) to help depositors to identify and execute a strategy to address disclosure risk. For depositors whose materials are in other languages, QDR conveys repository best practices. For all data projects, the responsibility for possible disclosure remains with the depositor.

  3. Curation also entails QDR helping depositors to provide the full context of their data, aiding them in filling gaps in documentation, and identifying additional files to include as documentation, such as data management plans, de-identification protocols, or informed consent scripts.

  4. QDR publishes data projects (including data and documentation) at

    • Published data projects are assigned digital object identifiers (DOIs) that serve as permanent links and allow for reliable citation to the data.

    • QDR also provides a sample citation, as well as export formats for reference managers (RIS, BibTeX, EndNote XML), which facilitate citation.

  5. After publication, QDR tracks re-use of data published on QDR. When data are reused, a full citation to the publication that drew on them is added to the landing page of the relevant data project, and the metadata records for the project are updated to ensure that reuse is captured in citation metrics such as Making Data Count.

What Are the Membership Options?

As described in the table below, QDR offers three tiers of membership, each entailing curation of a different number of data projects (5, 10, or 20).

Annual Fee

Annual Fee


Annual Fee


Tier 1

5 projects
$200 (USD) $600 $1,000
Tier 2

10 projects
$300 $900 $1,500
Tier 3

20 projects
$400 $1,200 $2,000

Organizations that sign an Institutional Membership Agreement with QDR for 2018-2019 by February 28, 2018 will have four data projects added to their allotments free of charge. For example, an organization that becomes a member for 2018-2019 at the “Tier 1” level on February 15, 2018 is eligible to have nine data projects curated under the agreement between that date and June 30, 2019.

If scholars at the member institution deposit fewer data projects than the institution purchased for a particular year, 40% of that annual allotment may be rolled to the following year.

Who is Covered Under an Institutional Membership?

Only one unit or division of any institution need join QDR for the entire institution to be considered a member. For universities, we anticipate that the joining unit will be the one that customarily subscribes to data services, such as its library or a social science research center. Any current researcher, faculty, students, and staff of member institutions may deposit data projects under an Institutional Membership Agreement.

Do Institutional Members Have Any Responsibilities?

Institutions that become members of QDR are required to designate an Institutional Representative to serve as liaison between the institution and QDR. Through that appointee, QDR member institutions decide which of the data projects their affiliates deposit count against their institution’s allotment, and also participate in repository governance, in part through electing the members of the repository’s Research Advisory Board and Technical Advisory Board.

How Do Institutions Use Curation Services Included in Membership?

QDR typically learns about potential deposits when individual researchers approach QDR. When a scholar affiliated with a member institution does so, if the institution has not yet exhausted its data project allotment for the relevant period, QDR contacts that member’s QDR Institutional Representative and asks if they would like the data project in question to be deposited and curated under the institution’s membership agreement. If so (with the qualification noted below), the data project is curated with no charge to the depositor.

It is assumed that data projects deposited with QDR under an Institutional Membership Agreement are of a scale and complexity typical of ordinary QDR deposits. Projects that are larger or involve more complicated assistance may require additional work, and hence may bear additional fees. Any such fees are usually discussed and agreed during the initial consultation between the depositor and QDR and charged to the depositor.

How Can Institutions Join QDR?

Institutions interested in joining QDR should download and complete an Institutional Membership Agreement, and email it to