eData repository service guidelines

Scope and purpose of the repository

The UBIRA eData repository (the Archive) is a multidisciplinary online service for the registration, preservation and publication of research Datasets produced or collected at the University of Birmingham.

The Archive can be used by University of Birmingham researchers to register, preserve and publish data supporting research undertaken at the University in accordance with the University's Research Data Management Policy and the policies of public research funders.

The primary purpose of the Archive is to enable discovery and re-use of research data as defined in the University’s Research Data Management Policy. Access to some data held in the Archive may be restricted or subject to embargo for a fixed period.


Research Data

Research data as defined in the University of Birmingham Research Data Management Policy are “the evidence that underpins the answer to the research question, and can be used to validate findings regardless of its form (e.g. print, digital, or physical). These might be quantitative information or qualitative statements collected by researchers in the course of their work by experimentation, observation, modelling, interview or other methods, or information derived from existing evidence. Data may be raw or primary (e.g. direct from measurement or collection) or derived from primary data for subsequent analysis or interpretation (e.g. cleaned up or as an extract from a larger data set), or derived from existing sources where the rights may be held by others. Data may be defined as ‘relational’ or ‘functional’ components of research, thus signalling that their identification and value lies in whether and how researchers use them as evidence for claims. They may include, for example, statistics, collections of digital images, sound recordings, transcripts of interviews, survey data and fieldwork observations with appropriate annotations, an interpretation, an artwork, archives, found objects, published texts or a manuscript.”


Users are defined as Registered Users (login required), Public Users, and Administrators.

Registered Users
Registered Users are researchers as defined by the University’s Research Data Management Policy:

Registered Users are eligible to:

User registration
Members of University staff or registered research students are automatically registered with the Archive through their University account and can log in using their University username and password.

Public Users
The Archive is open to members of the public.

Public Users may access and use Metadata Records and Datasets recorded that are held in the Archive, subject to the terms and conditions of the Archive and any terms of access and use specific to individual Datasets and the data files they contain.

Access to some data files may be restricted and thus will require users to obtain authorisation.

Administrators must be members of University staff. They may modify, distribute and delete Metadata Records and Datasets registered and deposited in the Archive to ensure the preservation and management of content in accordance with the Archive’s policies and in compliance with any legal considerations that apply, and may fairly and lawfully process personal data supplied to the Archive in accordance with the policies of the Archive and the University, and subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Eligible Content

Items that fall within the definition of a Dataset are eligible for inclusion in the Archive.

A Dataset is defined as a set of files or a database constituting a discrete and clearly defined set of research data as defined above and/or the means of generating data related to a research activity or project, or supporting one or more research publications. It may include both data and the means to generate, interpret or validate data, such as computer models and software code. A Dataset should include data files (including, where relevant, program files) and documentation, such as administrative materials, codebooks, user manuals, workflows, protocols, methodologies, etc.

Datasets may be registered and deposited in the Archive if the data contained in the Dataset arise from research undertaken at the University by employees of the University or registered research students, and both of the following conditions apply:

Policy application

Where more suitable external services exist for the preservation and sharing of research data, such as funder-maintained data centres or trustworthy disciplinary data services, Users may be directed to offer their Datasets to these. For more information, see our guidance on choosing a data repository.

Any prospective Depositor who is unsure whether a Dataset submission will be suitable for deposit should contact research-data@contacts.bham.ac.uk for advice.

If datasets and collections are held elsewhere (in other online data archives or repositories, or published by other means, for example as supplementary materials alongside a journal article), please create a metadata record in PURE. Non-digital datasets should be stored in the University’s Modern Records Store.

Access and use

Access to files within a Dataset may be controlled. Files deposited with the Archive may have the following access settings:

Open data files are made available under Creative Commons licences. The default recommended licence for data files is Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY). Open source software files should be made available under one of a variety of standard software licences chosen from https://choosealicense.com/.

Data can be held under embargo for up to 36 months after the date of deposit.

Each Dataset should include at least one documentation file, which should be openly available.

The level of access is specified by the Depositor when data files are uploaded to the Archive.


Data and software files are made available under the terms of a Creative Commons or standard Open Source licence and can be used under the conditions specified by these licences. Restricted Access files will be made available under specific licence terms after approval.

Service levels

The University will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that the Archive will be accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Wherever possible at least five days’ notice of any planned downtime will be provided on the Archive interface.

Any unscheduled service outages will be managed to minimise impact on the service and to bring the Archive back to full operation as soon as possible. In the event of an unscheduled loss of service please contact research-data@contacts.bham.ac.uk or the University of Birmingham IT Service Desk.

Security of data
The data sits on a resilient service, with many servers and storage systems with redundant parts, which minimises downtime, if issues occur. As part of the service, the data is also replicated to another data centre, in order for resilience.

The solution also includes a backup which occurs every night; this is then backed up again to another tape device at a different data centre for resilience. The following is set out on our backup and retention policy https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/it/teams/infrastructure/research/bear/research-data-service/RDS/BackupRetentionPolicy.aspx

Data deposit
There is a size limit of 10 Gigabytes (GB) per file for upload of data files to the Archive via the web interface. The success of web upload for files of a few GB or more cannot be guaranteed. Some browsers have a file size limit of 4 GB on file uploads, and network connection speeds may also limit the size of uploads.

Files that have not been successfully uploaded via the web interface or that are greater than10 GB in size can be deposited by other means. Depositors should contact research-data@contacts.bham.ac.uk for assistance.

Metadata Records may be created by Registered Users free of charge at any time.

Registered Users may deposit small Datasets related to a research project free of charge, however charges might apply for datasets larger than 1 TB.

User support is provided by the Scholarly Communications Services team. The core hours of support are from 09:00 to 17:00 during University working days.

Support requests and enquiries should be sent to research-data@contacts.bham.ac.uk or submitted via the University of Birmingham IT Service Desk. Requests will be prioritised for resolution according to urgency and levels of demand.

Consultations or extended support can be provided on request.


Datasets deposited in the Archive will be retained for a minimum of ten years from the date of deposit (10 years after last download/access) or for the retention period specified in any applicable third party policy or contract term, whichever is longer. Exceptions to this policy will be made only if the Archive is required to withdraw data in accordance with any applicable laws or policies or in response to a proven complaint.

Metadata Records will be retained indefinitely, including those for withdrawn Datasets. Where a Dataset has been withdrawn, the Metadata Record will be updated to reflect this change in status.

Once the minimum retention period has expired, a Dataset will be subject to review by the Archive administration, and securely deleted following institutional policies.

The Archive holds two copies of deposited data files in separate data centres. It may not be possible to guarantee the readability of some unusual file formats.

A Dataset may be withdrawn on expiry of the minimum retention period following standard collection management procedures; in response to an identified breach of law or policy; or on receipt of a valid and proven complaint.

Acceptable reasons for the exceptional withdrawal of data include:

Unless there is good reason to permanently delete a Dataset, withdrawn Datasets will not be deleted, but removed from public view. The Metadata Record for a withdrawn item will be retained indefinitely, and modified to include:

Version control
Once deposited, a Dataset cannot be updated by the addition, removal or modification of data files. Data files are allocated a checksum to facilitate the detection of alterations. Errata and corrigenda lists may be included with the original record if required.

A new version of a Dataset may be deposited. In this case:

Closure of service
In the event of the Archive being closed down, all content will be transferred to an alternative archive.


The University makes no undertakings as to the accuracy of any Dataset or Metadata Record or their conformity with any relevant laws, and accepts no liability for mistakes, omissions, or legal infringements within any Dataset or Metadata Record.

Use of any information supplied by the Archive is at the user’s own risk. Users should read carefully any information supplied with a Dataset which qualifies the accuracy or viability of the data supplied.

Last changed: March 2019