Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is collect some data!

Next, look over our What Is Dataverse and is it right for me? page to make sure Dataverse satisfies your requirements. If you have additional questions about Dataverse and its capabilities, please email us at 

Setting up your account

Now that you’ve decided that Dataverse is a good repository in which to deposit your data, let’s set up your Dataverse account!

For more information, follow our Creating a Dataverse Account for a more thorough explanation on how to set up your account.

Creating a Dataset

Follow our Creating a Dataset and Editing a Dataset guides for a step-by-step resource on how to create and edit a dataset in Dataverse.

Additionally, when you create your first dataset, please remember these rules:

  1. Use consistent and comprehensible file names and file structures.
    Following proper file naming conventions makes it easier to navigate and find specific files, and allows other researchers to understand and reuse your dataset.

    • Name files consistently
    • Keep files names short (< 25 characters) but meaningful
    • Do not use spaces. Use capital letters to delimit words, hyphens, or underscores
    • Do not use non-alphanumeric characters
    • Denote dates using ISO8601 standard YYYY-MM-DD (e.g. 2019-01-10).
    • For more tips, check out this resource on file naming guidelines.
  2. Deposit your files in preferred file format(s) to support preservation and reuse. 
    The use of preferred file formats are important to support the long term preservation of your research data. Preferred formats are usually: Dataverse accepts all file formats such as Stata, Rdata, SPSS, .wav, .jpeg, .png, audio files, GIS data, csv, tab, ascii, etc...  However, non-proprietary formats like .tab, and .csv are preferred.

    • Non-proprietary (preferred)
    • Open, with documented international standards
    • Uses standard character encoding, preferably Unicode (e.g. UTF-8)
  3. Describe your dataset with sufficiently rich metadata to facilitate discovery. 
    Depositors must complete all required fields on the descriptive metadata page. Once your dataset is created, depositors are strongly encouraged to edit it by completing the additional metadata fields at the bottom of the metadata page, including geospatial metadata fields and subject specific metadata fields, where appropriate.
  4. Include one or more ReadMe files that describe your dataset(s) to enable correct interpretation and reuse.
    For the research dataset to be read and interpreted correctly, it requires sufficient documentation. All deposited datasets must include a “ReadMe” file that includes the following information:

    • Details about the dataset creation
    • Description of files contained in the dataset
    • Information about dataset completeness
    • Limitations on reuse

Editing your Dataset

Dataverse allows for an extensive list of metadata fields that you can fill in to bolster your data, and to make it more findable and more useful to other researchers.  Check out the Portage Training Groups Best Practices Guide for detailed examples and explanations of each metadata field.


If you create a Dataset in the CU Dataverse, you are given Contributor permission over that Dataset.  As a Contributor, you can view the unpublished dataset, download files from the dataset, edit the dataset, and delete the dataset draft.  However, Dataverse also has many other levels of permissions which allow you to add other researchers to your Dataset and Dataverse with different abilities.

If you would like to add someone to be able to only download the files, you can do that by adding them to your dataset and giving them the File Downloader permission.

We recommend that if you would like to add more researchers to your Dataset or Dataverse, contact us and we can help you add that person and set the appropriate permissions for them. You can reach us at

Content last reviewed: May 7, 2021