Upload your data in our repository

Any scientist can upload data to 4TU.ResearchData. This can be raw data, processed data or specific data underlying a publication. An overview of the criteria and practices for collection development can be found in our Data Collection Policy. You can also share and present your research in Collections. For more information, please see the "Collections" tab below.

Before uploading in 4TU.ResearchData, please read the deposit guidelines for more details and practical information on our upload procedure. We strongly recommend you to submit a README file along with your dataset. A README file should describe what data is included in your dataset and ensure that future users of your data will be able to easily understand your data files. If you are not sure where to start, read the Guidelines for creating a README file.

Check the Data Collection Policy if you are unsure whether your dataset will be accepted for inclusion in the repository.

Datasets < 1 TB

Once you have logged in, your own personal Dashboard page will be created for you. Through the tab Add new dataset you can drag and drop files of up to 1 TB.

Have look at this short demo to walk you through the steps of creating a dataset.
Follow these steps to upload and publish your dataset:

  1. Create a dataset: Go to your Dashboard page and click the Add new dataset button. This opens the upload page, where you can add both metadata and files to the dataset.
  2. Add metadata: Metadata (information about your dataset) allows others to find and use your dataset. Therefore, it is important that the metadata of your dataset is complete and understandable.
  3. Add files: When uploading data files make sure you select File deposit, and when uploading software files make sure you select Software deposit  Depending on the choice, the resource type is automatically set to Dataset or Software. You add files to an item by dragging files from your local drive and dropping them in the box at the bottom of the upload page, or just click the box to first browse your local drive and then select files. Software deposits can also use the connection to their Git repo. Find more information on this page in the tab Connecting your Git repo.
  4. Publish: Once you have completed at least all mandatory fields, select Submit for review (on top of the page). Your dataset will undergo a metadata quality review before it iss made publicly available. This is to ensure the validity of files and metadata. Make sure everything you have submitted is accurate. Within three working days, your dataset will appear in 4TU.ResearchData.

Large datasets

If your dataset is larger than 1 TB, please contact researchdata@4tu.nl


Descriptive metadata are indispensable for the preservation, retrieval and re-use of datasets. They provide answers to questions concerning the person creating the data, the subject of the data, the type of file, geographic information and other aspects. In other words, metadata are data about data. Metadata make use of international standards for data exchange. This ensures that the information and the associated dataset can be found by search engines.

Substantive metadata are important primarily for the user of the data. For example, consider a codebook that tells how the data should be read or interpreted. We strongly encourage you to add such information in the form of a README file.

When uploading, you will be asked to enter the following descriptive metadata:
Title: Name or title by which the dataset is known.
Authors: Main researchers involved in producing the data.
Description: Concise description of the contents of the dataset. Describe the research objective, type of research, method of data collection and type of data.
Licence & Access: Four access levels are supported: Open Access, Embargoed Access, Restricted Access, Metadata-Only. Depending on the access level, an appropriate licence type needs to be selected by which you grant usage rights to other individuals.
Categories: Discipline(s) or field(s) of research to which the dataset belongs.
Publisher: Holder of the data (default: 4TU.ResearchData)
Funding: Name of the organisation that provides financial support for your research. This field allows you to lookup and select funder and grant information from a comprehensive list using the grant name, code or funder body. If the name or grant code is not in the list, you will still be able to add a new funder record.
Resource title: The title of the peer-reviewed article/paper you want to link back to.
Resource DOI: The DOI of the peer-reviewed article/paper you want to link back to.
References: References (links) to any relevant content or external sources that help describe the resource.
Language: The primary language of the resource. When no language is added, 4TU.ResearchData will automatically assign English.
Time coverage: The dates to which the data refer. Enter the year, or the beginning and ending date.
Geolocation: The geographic area to which the data refer.

    Name - Municipality, town/city, region, country.
    Longitude - Geographic longitude in decimal degrees, East is positive, West is negative. Values: -180 to 180.
    Latitude - Geographic latitude in decimal degrees, North is positive, South is negative. Values: -90 to 90.

Format: Format of the data file(s), e.g. the media type like image or a description like g-zipped shape files.
Data Link: Link to the data that is an integral part of the current item, e.g. an OpenDAP catalog with netCDF files on our OpenDAP server.
Derived From: URL of the dataset from which the current item was derived.
Same As: URL of exactly the same data. This can be a copy in another location or an alternative URL that redirects to the current item.
Keywords: Subject, keyword or key phrase describing the dataset.
Organisations: Name of the organization that contributed to the creation of the dataset.

Auxiliary information necessary to interpret the data, such as explanations of codes, abbreviations, or algorithms used, should be included as accompanying documentation. Read more in the Deposit guidelines and Guidelines for creating a README file.

Data model

4TU.ResearchData stores all metadata in RDF (Resource Description Framework). RDF is a semantic web standard for data interchange and a method of describing data by defining relationships between data objects. Such a RDF statement consists of three components, referred to as triple: Subject (object being described), Predicate (describes the relationship between Subject and Object), and Object (resource related to the Subject). In this way you can add endless relationships to any given entity with other entities, creating a building block of flexible and richly interconnected data structures. 

Digital Object Indentifier

Descriptive metadata are indispensable for the preservation, retrieval and re-use of datasets. They provide answers to questions concerning the person creating the data, the subject of the data, the type of file, geographic information and other aspects. In other words, metadata are data about data. Metadata make use of international standards for data exchange. This ensures that the information and the associated dataset can be found by search engines.

Previous studies have indicated that publications containing links to the underlying data are cited more frequently than are publications without such links. By storing your research data or software code in 4TU.ResearchData, you can encourage the reuse of your data/code for new research or verification.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are used to create a permanent, stable link to the dataset. Even if the location of the dataset changes, the cited dataset can always be retrieved. Every dataset in 4TU.ResearchData is provided with a DOI (through DataCite Netherlands).  To cite any content on 4TU.ResearchData you need to select the citation text in the Cite section under the title, and use the Copy function in your browser. You can also export the citation to RefWorks, BibTeX, RefMan, Endnote, DataCite, NLM, DC and CFF. These are available in the side pane (to the right) of every dataset page.

More than one DOI
DOIs can be assigned at every level of detail or size within a publication. For example, a DOI can be assigned to an entire data collection, as well as to each component within the data collection. In the choice of which levels should be registered with a DOI, researchers should proceed from the expectations of future data users. Is it likely that the objects within the data collection will be cited?

Link between publication and dataset
To promote the visibility and the sharing of your datasets, we recommend referring to the DOIs of your datasets in your articles or PhD thesis. You can even reserve a DOI in advance. Need help? Contact 4TU.ResearchData for questions or support.


Every researcher can upload up to 5 GB of data per year to the 4TU.ResearchData repository free of charge. By default, this data will be available via Open Access and be stored for a minimum of 15 years. Your data will be backed-up at three different locations to ensure its safety.


Are you a researcher at University of Twente or TU Delft and do you have research data from completed research?
You can deposit up to 1TB of data free of charge per year. For depositing larger data collections, we charge a one-time fee of 1.50euros/GB.  So for example, if you  submit 3TB (3072 GB) of data, you will be invoiced for 3.072euros.
Are you a researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology or Wageningen University & Research and do you have research data from completed research? You can deposit up to 100 GB of data free of charge per year. For depositing larger datasets we charge a one-time fee of 3euros per GB which is covered by your university.
Are you a researcher at another, non-member, research institution and do you have research data from completed research?
You can deposit up to 5 GB of data free of charge. For uploads larger than 5GB we charge a one-time fee of 4.50euros per GB. For uploads larger than 5GB we charge a one-time fee of 4.50euros per GB. If you are unsure whether you are able to pay for your data, or if you have any other question about the costs, please contact us at researchdata(at)4tu.nl.


As a data producer, you will be asked to consent to a Deposit Agreement. By doing so, you grant 4TU.ResearchData a non-exclusive licence to store the data and make them available to third parties.

When depositing your data you are required to select a licence for your data as part of the deposit process. A licence will define what others may or may not do with your data. Read our guidance for more information on the licence types we offer.

As a data user, you need to consent to the Terms of Use. By using the 4TU.ResearchData repository site or any of its content, you accept and agree to be bound by these Terms of Use and all applicable laws and regulations.

File formats

The choice of file format is of essential importance in order to ensure that the research data will remain usable and legible in the future. 4TU.ResearchData therefore strongly encourages the use of standard, exchangeable or open file formats. For the preferred formats, 4TU.ResearchData guarantees that the research data will remain accessible and that they will be migrated or converted if necessary.

4TU.ResearchData provides two levels of support for file formats:

Full preservation: All reasonable measures will be taken to ensure that the file formats remain legible and usable. These measures include migration, normalisation and conversion.
Bit-level preservation: Access to the data object will be offered in the file format that was originally provided.
Please find here our preferred file formats.

If you are unsure of the suitability of your file formats for the data you want to deposit, please contact us.


Most of the datasets in the 4TU.ResearchData archive are coded in netCDF (Network Common Data Form), which is both a data model and a data format which is very efficient for multi-dimensional array-oriented data. This data can be temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction in both vector and raster format. Although generic, netCDF is mostly and widely used in atmospheric sciences and oceanography.

The format is self-describing, i.e. it includes general metadata as well as detailed metadata about variables, dimensions and units used, in a fully machine-readable way (as opposed to, say, a spreadsheet with column headings which is not really machine-readable).

Access to netCDF data (and HDF5) is further enhanced by serving the data via the OPeNDAP protocol. OPeNDAP stands for Open-source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol. A major advantage using OPeNDAP is the ability to retrieve subsets of files without the need to download the whole dataset, and also the ability to aggregate series of data files, e.g. a time series, into one virtual dataset. OPeNDAP makes it possible for datasets to be directly approachable through programming languages.

If NetCDF data are pasted together with OPeNDAP, it is easier to perform a query that will return an accurately defined selection out of the data. It allows users to view a section of the data, thus saving a considerable amount of download time.

Our data experts will be happy to tell you more.

Additional information about netCDF is here available and about OPeNDAP at https:www.opendap.org.

4TU.ResearchData has published a report on its use of NetCDF. Our OPeNDAP server can be reached at https://opendap.4tu.nl/.

Access conditions

We recommend data to be open whenever possible. However, you can also embargo the data (delay access for a specified time) or restrict who gets access to data. Data should be restricted if they are of sensitive nature (e.g. still contain personal information because the data could not be fully anonymised).
For guidance, consult the GDPR policy and guidelines of your home institute on how to handle sensitive and personal data. The following access levels can be applied in 4TU.ResearchData:

Open access
There are no restrictions on access to the data, anyone can view and download a copy.  This ease of access makes your data more likely to be reused and makes it possible for others to verify the results of your research. Open access is the best choice for publishing data that are not confidential. Open access is the default setting for research data in 4TU.ResearchData by which all datasets will be directly accessible to others, free of charge. The dataset will be placed in the public domain or made available under a suitable licence.

Embargoed access
Embargo is a period during which a dataset, that will ultimately be made public, is unavailable and not accessible to anyone else. In some cases it may be preferable to delay publication of your data, e.g. until your journal article is published, or for commercial reasons when filing for a patent.  When you want to apply an embargo date on your dataset, select Embargoed access in the metadata form, and select the period or enter the end date of the embargo period.  Add the reason why the files are under embargo in the appropriate boxes. 4TU.ResearchData will restrict access to the data until the end of the embargo period; at which time, the content will automatically become publicly available.
Restricted access
Restricted access, whereby you set conditions on when and how access is granted, allows your data to be securely reused, protecting the data for commercial, ethical or legal reasons. If your data are sensitive, and the sensitive information can't be removed without the dataset losing value, then Restricted access is a good option to choose when publishing. Please note that sharing confidential data requires precautions and safety measures to prevent the data from being accessed by unauthorized users. That is why we strongly recommend drawing up an End User License Agreement (EULA), which clarifies what users can and cannot do with the dataset. A template for creating an EULA can be found here. We advise you to read our guidance on Restricted Access for more detailed information on How to publish a restricted dataset and How to access a restricted dataset.

In addition to the above access levels, it is also possible to create:
A metadata-only record: A metadata-only record can be created when you have stored your data somewhere else, for example in case of sensitive data that is stored at a secure location outside 4TU.ResearchData, but you want to get a DOI to link to it. Need to create a metadata-only record? Just click Metadata-only in the metadata form and enter the reason.
A private link/URL: You may need to share your dataset (e.g. for peer review purposes) before it is actually published. To do this, go to your My datasets page and click the private link icon to the far right of the dataset title under Actions. You will be able to send the resulting private link to, for example, the peer reviewers.


Via the Create new collection button you can collate data under a theme. They can be either private or public, and are assigned a DOI when published.
Follow these steps to create and publish a collection:

1. Create a Collection
Go to your Dashboard page and click the Create new collection button. This opens the form where you can add metadata to the collection. Complete the sections with a red asterisk next to them to make it public. The more information you provide, the more discoverable your Collection will be. Click Save draft (on top of the page) once you have completed the form.

2. Add data
There are two ways to add data to a Collection:
Once you have created the Collection, use the option Dataset search at the bottom of the metadata form to search for datasets from 4TU.ResearchData. Select those you wish to add to your collection. When you have found a published dataset in 4TU.ResearchData, select Collect under the dataset title and choose the collection to which you want to add the dataset.

3. Publish a Collection

Once you have collected your data, you can make your collection public by selecting Publish on top of the page. Once you have published a collection, it is permanent and cannot be unpublished.

Updating a collection
In order to display metadata changes or new datasets that have been added to or removed from the collection, a new version of the collection must be generated. Once the changes have been made, click on the Manage cog wheel in the top right of the collection and select Generate version.