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File formats

For people to reuse your data, the file formats you publish them in must be “open” as well.

This means:

  • Long-term data formats that are supported by data archives should be used if possible.
  • The format should preferably be “human-readable”, not binary (this means that if you open the file in e.g. notepad, you should see readable text (possibly interspersed with codes), not weird gibberish. These formats are usually “proprietary”, which means that only a specific company understands the codes.
  • If the format is binary, but it is widely used in your field and can be opened by multiple software (for instance, Shapefiles), submit it to the archive but provide a converted version in a more open format.
  • It should be able to use the formats independently of the underlying hardware, such as microscopes, scanners, or recording equipment.

Notify the data manager if you plan to deposit files that do not concord with these criteria. For examples of non-proprietary (open) file formats see the guidelines provided by DANSEasy.

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