How QDR Meets Federal Criteria for Data Repositories


Two US federal government agencies recently published exciting, forward-looking guidance on data sharing for researchers receiving US federal funding. First, the National Institute of Health (NIH) – following an extended process of public comment and revisions – published its guidance on data sharing for grantees under the new NIH-wide Data Management and Sharing Policy. One of the supplements to this document is a detailed description of what researchers should look for when “Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting from NIH-Supported Research.” Then, in May of this year, the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, as part of its larger strategy for public access to federally funded research, released a similar list of “Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research.” These federally mandated criteria will become increasingly important for researchers choosing a repository to store their federally-funded data.

“Public access to Federally funded research and data is critical for accelerating discovery, fostering collaboration, advancing equity, ensuring government accountability, and maximizing America’s returns on its billions of dollars in investments in basic research.” Christopher Steven Marcum, OSTP & Ryan Donohue, AAAS

At QDR, we have long worked to follow the type of good practices outlined in the US government’s criteria for data repositories. To demonstrate how we meet these criteria, we provide links to (or explanations of) relevant QDR policies for each of them below. They are listed in order of appearance of the OSTP memo with the corresponding NIH numbering listed in the second column.

OSTP NIH QDR’s Approach
Free and easy access Free and easy access (I.E) All QDR data are free to access under the least restrictive terms possible, following QDR’s Data Access Policy
Clear use guidance Clear use guidance (I.G) QDR’s Data Access Policy
Risk management   See Security and Infrastructure and Handling Sensitive Data
Retention policy Retention policy (I.L) QDR guarantees the persistence of data for 25 years and aims to make data available indefinitely according to its Deaccessioning Data policy.
Long-term organizational sustainability   QDR’s Digital Preservation Policy
Unique persistent identifiers Unique persistent identifiers (I.A) All datasets as well as individual files published by QDR are assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Metadata Metadata (I.C) Metadata Application Profile
Curation/Quality assurance Curation and Quality assurance (I.D) QDR’s Curation Policy
Broad and measured reuse Broad and measured reuse (I.F) QDR data are widely used by researchers and instructors across the globe. Access is measured using standardized Make Data Count metrics, visible on every project’s page.
Common format Common format (I.J) See QDR’s guidance on Formatting Data and Curation Policy
Provenance Provenance (I.K) Provenance and any transformations are captured and included in a README file during curation.
Authentication   QDR deposits require authentication. Our metadata includes, and curators encourage the use of ORCID IDs for depositors and data creators.
Long-term technical sustainability Long-term sustainability (I.B) QDR’s repository relies on and contributes to the open source Dataverse software, used by 90 repositories worldwide.
Security and integrity Security and integrity (I.H) Security and Infrastructure
  Confidentiality (I.I) QDR’s has technical and administrative structures to effectively manage sensitive data.
Fidelity to consent Fidelity to consent (II.A) QDR curators review consent forms for all deposited human-participant data before publication.
Security Privacy (II.C) Access Controls
Limited use compliant Restricted use compliant (II.B) QDR’s standard terms of use for data projects clearly communicate restrictions on use (no re-identification or re-distribution of data).
Download control Download control (II.E) All data downloads are logged by the Dataverse repository software.
Request review Request review (II.G) Terms of access are clearly described for every data project under controlled access.
Plan for breach Plan for breach (II.D) QDR’s Data Breach Policy
Accountability Violations (II.F) QDR’s Standard Download Agreement (and its counterpart for controlled-access data) specifies consequences of violation.


If you're interested in more details on QDR's practices as they relate to criteria for trustworthy repositories, QDR has also recently been re-certified by Core Trust Seal (CTS), a peer-reviewed certification of repositories as trustworthy using 16 characteristics that significantly overlap with the above-cited lists. Our approved application for re-certification includes significantly more detail on all of the items above.