Frequently Asked Questions

Can I upload any type of data file to the Harvard Dataverse?

Yes, any file format is accepted. Some formats (RData, SPSS, STATA, CSV, xlsx, FITS)  are processed to access their metadata and thus be able to provide more features for these type of files (such as file metadata search and re-formatting)

Is there a maximum size per file?

Yes, 2GB. But you can upload as many files as you want to a dataset.

What is the difference between a Dataverse and a Dataset?

A Dataverse is a container for your Datasets. We recommend you first create a Dataverse and then add Datasets to that Dataverse. The Dataverse can be for an individual researcher, for a research group, for an entire department, for a journal, etc.

What do I need to get started?

Not much. Go to, create an account and click Add Data to either create a Dataverse or add Datasets to an existing Dataverse.

What information is needed to add a Dataset?

At a minimum you need a title for the Dataset, the authors or data collectors, and a description about the data. If you have more information about your data, you can fill in other metadata fields. Also, you can upload documentation files and code files to accompany your data files. We recommend you to have all the files ready, in common formats used in your field, before you start adding a dataset.

Do I need to make the files public?

No. When you publish a Dataset to a Dataverse, you need to make the title, description and data citation (generated automatically by the system), and any other metadata that describes the Dataset, public. However, it is possible to restrict the files individually, and decide who you want to grant permissions to access the data files. As part of this program, we strongly encourage that you make all your data files public, unless there are privacy concerns which require the data to be restricted.

Is Dataverse limited to Harvard researchers?

No. Any researcher, Harvard or non-Harvard, can upload data to Dataverse. We encourage all researchers to make their data files public to maximize the reuse of their data and support research transparency and reproducibility.

Is ODAP limited to Harvard researchers?

ODAP's help for non-Harvard researchers is limited to online instruction. For Harvard researchers, ODAP provides both online and in-person assistance.

Is ODAP limited to Dataverse?

Only at first. Long-term we want to help Harvard researchers make their data open in the data repositories that best suit their needs. We're starting with Dataverse because it's Harvard's data repository, it's free and open-source, it accepts data from all disciplines, and it supports features that we'd encourage researchers to seek out in any data repository, such as versioning, multiple copies, APIs, and compliance with metadata standards. In addition, since Dataverse is developed, hosted, and maintained at Harvard, we already have the resources to help researchers deposit to Dataverse, even without additional funding. However, we do hope to obtain additional ODAP-specific funding one day, and we should then be able to expand our coverage beyond Dataverse to other data repositories.
The Dataverse software is implemented by the Data Science team at Harvard's IQSS. Give us feedback and let us know what new features you would like to see in the future (