List of content


Citation (of a dataset)

Similar to scientific publications, when a dataset is made public with a DOI, a citation including the author names, title, year of publication and ODC information is created. Dataset citation with a DOI is a common way to reference the use of public data.

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Common Data Elements (CDEs):

Data elements that have been recommended or required by NIH Institutes and Centers and other organizations for use in research and for other purposes. A data element is a basic unit of information (i.e., a variable) collected within a dataset that has a unique meaning and subcategories (data items) of distinct value. Examples of data elements include gender, race, and geographic location. ODC is implementing NIH’s CDEs where appropriate to aid in standardization and harmonization across different datasets.

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Community Board (CB)

Governance body comprising up to 12 members representing the different stakeholder groups served by the ODC who advise the Leadership Team in setting priorities and strategic directions in establishment of the ODC, the development of a sustainability model, to review and assist with decision making process, and to assist in the development of the curation process. The board will be engaged to keep a close link between the ODC and the SCI community . Membership in the CB shall be determined by the leadership team and the Executive Board.

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Community Moderators

Governance body comprising members of the ODC Leadership Team or their designees who approve requests to join the ODC as either a general or full member.

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Community Data Space (also referred to as the Commons)

Semi-private data space accessible to members with Full Access of the ODC where members can share unpublished or pre-published data with other full members. All members agree to abide by the data sharing policies governing use of unpublished datasets shared in the Community Space.

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Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY v4.0)

Open source license allows anyone with access to use the content of the dataset but sets the legal obligation of giving appropriate credit to the authors of the data.

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CSV (or csv) format

CSV, “comma-separated values”, is a widely-used file format for spreadsheet-style datasets. In brief, a CSV is a delimited text file where each value (i.e. cell of the spreadsheet) is separated by a comma. CSV can be read by spreadsheet programs such as Excel, Google Sheets and Numbers.

ODC requires datasets and data dictionaries to be in CSV format when you are uploading to the ODC. You can easily convert excel (e.g. ".xls", ".xlsx") files to “.csv” files through spreadsheet programs like Excel by saving as a ".csv". For more details you can follow our tutorial

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Data dictionary

A data dictionary is a file containing information about each Variable (i.e. Column) in the dataset. The data dictionary provides critical information for the interpretability and reusability of the dataset. Importantly, the data dictionary helps other users understand what each of your Variables are and any important details you include. Data dictionaries are required when publishing data with a DOI. We encourage you to submit a data dictionary with your dataset, even if you do not plan to publish the data.

For more details and a downloadable Data Dictionary template, please see Data Dictionary Guidelines.

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Data Spaces

See ODC Data Spaces

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Data team

Governance body responsible for curation and Quality Control (QC) of all datasets that will be released to the public space.

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DOI or Digital Object Identifier.

A DOI is a globally unique, persistent identifier that uniquely identifies a digital object such as an article, data set or protocol. ODC uses DOIs to identify datasets. The DOI of a dataset is the standard way to reference datasets in publications.

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Editorial Board

Governance body overseeing the types of datasets published by the ODC, ensuring that they are consistent with the mission of the ODC and are accompanied by high quality and complete metadata. The Editorial Board is invited to serve by the Editor in Chief.

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Executive Board

Governance body comprising senior members of the ODC community, responsible for steering the ODC. Works with the Leadership Team to set high level policy and strategy for the governing and long term sustainability of the ODC. members of the Executive board shall initially be appointed at the discretion of the Leadership Team, however once established it will determine the method of selecting its own successors. Membership on this board will be over 1-2 terms of 3 years per term, with call meetings being held every other month.

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FAIR Data Principles

High level principles designed to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable for both humans and machines (Wilkinson et al., 2016). The principles encompass 15 guidelines designed to improve the usability of digital data. More details can be found at the GO-FAIR initiative. ODC is adopting these principles, e.g., the use of persistent identifiers, FAIR vocabularies and community standards to ensure that ODC data is FAIR. You can read more about how ODC is adopting FAIR at Fouad et al., 2019 and Torres-Espin et al., 2021

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Full member of ODC (full access):

Membership level granted to general members (community access) when they successfully apply to start or join a lab in the ODC. Full access members can upload data, share with their lab members and other full members via the Commons. They may share individual datasets with general members on a peer to peer basis. Full access members may also publish datasets to the public space with a DOI.

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General member of ODC (community access)

Membership level granted when a user registers for an account and is approved by ODC Community Moderators. As a general member, other ODC members can directly share their datasets with you, including their unpublished datasets (feature under development). General membership requires that the individual is affiliated with a recognized institution subject to institutional oversight. General members agree to abide by the data use agreement regarding any datasets shared with them.

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Leadership Team

Governance body that oversees the establishment of the portal, outreach and integration of the community into decision making, and the development of the curation process. Current members comprise the PIs of current grants supporting the ODC, the head of the Community Board and other key personnel.

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Accompanying information and documentation that provides details about your dataset. The data dictionary can be considered part of the metadata, as well as other information such as abstract, author list, associated methodology. A minimal metadata is required for publishing a dataset with DOI, and must be completed when requesting. You can read more about ODC metadata in our metadata tutorial.

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ODC Data Spaces

Virtual spaces in the portal determining levels of sharing permissions within ODC. ODC currently defines 4 different data spaces or levels of data sharing: 1) Personal (account owner); 2) Lab Space: Shared with lab members; 3) Community Space (aka the Commons): Shared with ODC Full Access Members; 4) Public: Shared with public with a DOI. Complete metadata is viewable for all public data via the ODC public portal but download of datasets requires an account at the registered user level (basic access).

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Basic organizational unit on the ODC for data upload and includes Personal and Lab data spaces comprising a Principal Investigator (PI) and individuals invited to join their lab. The PI has sole discretion as to who is admitted to their lab. Requests for establishing an ODC Lab will undergo a manual review by the ODC Community Moderators or other authorized individuals to ensure that they meet the criteria for membership in the ODC:

Individuals joining a lab must be approved by the PI or their designee.

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Open Researcher and Contributor ID is a stable, unique identifier assigned to individual researchers to connect researchers to their intellectual products and affiliations. The ORCID is a digital handle that unambiguously identifies an individual researcher and is maintained independently of a particular institution. Two researchers with the same name will have unique ORCIDs and unlike an email, the ORCID does not change when a researcher changes institutions. ODC requires that the PI and the contact person provide their ORCID IDs as part of the dataset metadata, and encourages provisioning of ORCIDs for all contributors so that researchers can get credit for datasets published. ODC now allows researchers to create an account in ODC using their ORCIDs which automatically associates any datasets authored in ODC with their ORCID ID. ODC also allows and encourages Researchers can register for a ORCID at

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Principal Investigator (PI)

Head of a laboratory or research group at a recognized institution. The PI is the individual within the laboratory or group that has the authority and rights to make s final decisions about what, when and with whom to share data using the ODC. Within ODC, the PI is considered the owner and responsible party for all data uploaded by members of the PI’s lab and must sign off on all datasets shared to the Commons or the Public spaces.

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Public dataset

Dataset that has been made public with a DOI through the ODC publication process. Registered users as well as ODC members have access to the public data space, where all public datasets can be found.

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Registered user of the ODC (basic access)

An individual who has signed up for an account and verified their email address. Registration requires no additional approval and allows the account holder to download public data only.

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Request DOI

Process by which members of the ODC can submit their datasets for quality control and generate a DOI. The final product of this process is a public dataset with a citation and a DOI. To know more about what you need to get your dataset ready for publication and request a DOI, check our tutorials.

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Software platform on which ODC is developed. Scicrunch is developed and maintained by the FAIR Data Informatics Lab at UCSD for providing unified search across independently maintained databases and other data resources. The platform includes data ingestion, curation tools and vocabulary services.

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Unpublished dataset

A dataset that has not been published to the ODC Public Data Space with a DOI. Unpublished data may be private to an individual, shared within a lab or shared in the Community Data Space.

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Verified Lab

An ODC Lab that has undergone review by the ODC to ensure that they meet requirements for participating in the ODC:

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