Frequently Asked Questions about the DANS Data Stations

What is a DANS Data Station?
The Data Stations are a service offered by DANS, the Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data. DANS’ focus is to support researchers in the Netherlands by enabling them to make their data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
A DANS Data Station is a domain-specific digital repository for research data. If you are a researcher or working at an organisation performing research you can deposit your data so they are archived for the long term. You can make data available for reuse or you can impose access restrictions if they contain sensitive information. All published datasets are findable through the data stations, making your research discoverable by others.
DANS offers data stations for different domains to serve the needs of specific scientific communities:
– Archaeological data can be deposited in the
DANS Data Station Archaeology,
– Data from the Social Sciences and Humanities can be deposited in the DANS Data Station SSH,
Data from the Medical, Health and Green Life Sciences can be deposited in the DANS Data Station Life Sciences,
– The DANS Data Station Physical and Technical Sciences can be used to deposit research data from the physical and technical domain.

Why should I deposit my data in a DANS Data Station?
By depositing your data in one of our data stations you ensure that your data are stored for the long term and are sustainably archived. You can describe your data with domain-specific metadata to ensure they are well documented. You can make your data available to others for reuse, but you can also choose to restrict access, for instance if your dataset contains sensitive information. In all cases the descriptive information about your data (i.e. the metadata) will be openly available, making your research findable and visible to others.
In contrast to general-purpose repositories (like Zenodo), the DANS Data Stations are domain-specific. DANS helps you to curate your data according to the standards of your domain and archive it sustainably. DANS offers the data station services to the public free of charge (with certain exceptions), without commercial interest.  

Who can deposit data in a DANS Data Station?
Researchers and research teams can deposit their data at DANS in one of the data stations. The DANS Data Stations can also be used by research organisations that want to make their data discoverable and available for reuse. DANS is the Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data with a focus on supporting researchers in the Netherlands by enabling them to make their data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
If your organisation is participating in DataverseNL, the repository service for universities and other research institutions, you can also deposit data in your organisation’s Dataverse. More information about DataverseNL can be found here. 

Which DANS Data Station should I use, if I want to deposit or find data which do not clearly belong to one domain?
This depends on your specific dataset. DANS asks depositors to determine which data station is the most appropriate one for the dataset they want to deposit. If you have doubts which data station to use, please do not hesitate to ask for advice. For users who search for datasets, DANS is developing a functionality which facilitates searching across all DANS Data Stations. 

Are there costs associated with using a DANS Data Station?
Depositing data in a DANS Data Station is free of charge for individual researchers for datasets up to 50 GB. For larger datasets DANS may charge costs. You can find more information on this page. Downloading data from a DANS Data Station is always free of charge. 

How can I deposit data in a DANS Data Station?
DANS has created a deposit manual for the data stations that takes you through all the steps of depositing data. You can find information about what to consider before, during and after deposit. The more metadata you provide, the easier your dataset will be found.   

Where can I find more information about the DANS Data Stations’ terms of use and policies?
By making use of the DANS Data Stations, you agree to the DANS Data Stations’ Terms of Use which can be found here. All relevant policies concerning the data stations are listed in the DANS Data Stations’ Policy.  

Are the DANS Data Stations CoreTrustSeal certified?
DANS is in the process of acquiring CoreTrustSeal certification for the data stations. Until the certification has been granted, all data are duplicated in the EASY archive which holds the CoreTrustSeal and is therefore certified! This way your data are stored in a certified repository at all times.  


Logging into the DANS Data Stations

How can I log into a DANS Data Station?
Below you can find the login pages for the following DANS Data Stations:
DANS Data Station Archaeology,
DANS Data Station SSH,
DANS Data Station Life Sciences,
DANS Data Station Physical and Technical Sciences.
On these data station homepages you can find the “Log In” button on the top right of page.

You can use your institutional account (SURFconext), as well as a Github account or a  Google account. Note that often your institutional account also works as a Google account. If you don’t have an institutional account, you can connect your email address to eduID and login as ‘institutional login’ and choose EduID. If you have deposited a dataset in EASY in the past, you will also be able to log into the DANS Data Stations with the credentials from your EASY account.  

I am changing to another institute – can I keep access to manage my datasets?
If you are changing to another institute and your data station account is linked to your institutional email address, that account will not be accessible after you have left the institute. Please discuss with your institute if the rights to manage the datasets associated with your account remain with you or if the rights need to be transferred to another person at the institute. If the rights to manage the datasets can remain with you, you can create a new account in the Data Station with an alternative email address (e.g. your new institutional email address). Then please contact DANS with a request to give management rights of your datasets to the new account. In your request please specify the old account email address, the new account email address and the DOIs of the datasets you would like to link. One of our data managers will then get in touch with you to ensure the datasets are linked in the correct way.  

Can I give management rights for my dataset(s) to another account?
DANS can give other accounts certain rights to your datasets, such as enabling the account holder to contribute to your dataset or to respond to permission requests (see also I am changing to another institute – can I keep access to manage my datasets?). Please contact DANS and in your request specify the reason for transferring the rights, as well as the relevant account email address and the DOIs of the datasets the request concerns. One of our data managers will then get in touch with you. 


Open Access and access restrictions

Do I have to publish my data as Open Access?
No. You can choose the access options for your dataset. The DANS Data Stations offer the option to publish your data as Open Access or to restrict the access to all or some files of your dataset. DANS advises that you publish your data “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.

If you choose to restrict access to a dataset, you can enable a permission request which means that users can request access to the data. You will then need to give these users permission before they can access your data.
It is also possible to restrict access without allowing permission requests – the restricted files are then not accessible to any data station users, but they are still archived and preserved for the long-term.
Information about access restriction choices can be found in the depositing manual

Can I restrict access to specific files?
Yes. You can restrict the access to specific files within a dataset while having other files of the datasets remain openly accessible. Please note though that a permission request always concerns the entire dataset. This means that if a permission request is granted, all restricted access files will be available to the user. If you have a situation where you want to restrict access fully for some files while allowing other files to be accessed with a permission request, please contact one of the Data Station Managers and they will think of a suitable solution for your case.  

Which licences can I choose for my data?
The DANS Data Station offers different licences that you can choose for your dataset. DANS recommends that you publish data as openly as possible when depositing a dataset, and the default licence that datasets receive is the CC0 1.0 licence. You can change this to another creative commons licence for Open Access datasets. With restricted access, use of the dataset is always subject to the DANS Licence. Please note that the licence is chosen per dataset and will apply for all files within the dataset. Additional information about the licences DANS offers can be found in the depositing manual.  

Can I change the licence or access restrictions of my published dataset?
It is possible to change the licence or access restrictions of a dataset. Changes to a more open licence and fewer restrictions to accessing the data are always allowed. However, if you want to change to a more restrictive licence or limit the access to open files, please get in contact with DANS to evaluate the situation. Changes to the licence and/or access restrictions always lead to a new version of the dataset and you need to submit this new version to the DANS Data Processing Team who will curate and publish it.    

How will I be notified of a permission request for my dataset and how do I process the request?
Once a user has requested access to a dataset, an email will be automatically sent to you. The message contains a link to the page where you can reject or grant access to the file(s). You can also navigate to this page by finding the dataset under ‘MyData’ and then going to the ‘Edit Dataset>Permissions>File’ page. On this page, you can see all the requests and you can grant or reject access. A user will be notified by email once their request is processed.
Note that depositors are encouraged to process permission requests as soon as possible and at least within the maximum timeframe specified in the Terms of Use. 

I would like to know the motivation from users who request my data, can users provide this information?
Unfortunately, it is currently not possible for users who submit an access request to include their motivation for requesting access to your data files. If you require such a motivation in order to evaluate the request, you can specify this in the ‘Terms of Access for Restricted Files’ which is a dedicated field in the ‘Terms’ tab. You can, for instance, ask users to send their motivation to you by email before you evaluate their requests. The Terms of Access will be explicitly shown to users requesting access to the data. 


Depositing datasets containing personal data or sensitive information

Can I deposit datasets containing personal data?
Yes, datasets containing personal data can be deposited in a DANS Data Station. However, if your dataset contains personal data, there are additional things to consider. You need informed consent from the research participants, for instance. You may also want to choose to publish your dataset under restricted access. This means that you have to grant users permission before they can use the data. DANS’ depositing manual provides more information about storing personal data and the things you need to consider.    

Should I anonymise, pseudonymise or encrypt datasets containing personal data?
You are responsible for de-identifying your data in a way that is suitable for your specific situation. If anonymisation is impossible, you may want to pseudonymise and/or encrypt the data. In case of encryption, it is important that you store the key elsewhere in a secure and sustainable manner. DANS’ depositing manual provides more information about storing personal data and the things you need to consider.  

Can I store my informed consent forms at DANS?
No, informed consent forms collected from research participants may not be stored with the data. It would pose the risk of participants being identified. Be sure to save this information elsewhere.                                                                                         

I work with very sensitive data that I am not allowed to share. Can I deposit the other project information at DANS?
In special cases DANS allows the publication of metadata and documentation only, so that a particular project will remain available and can be referenced in a sustainable manner. For more information, please contact one of the Data Station Managers.


File formats and metadata                              

Which file formats and metadata can I provide?
DANS works with preferred formats. You can find them here. Specific delivery specifications apply per domain. You can learn more in our manual depositing data.

I have audiovisual material. Can I store it at DANS?
Yes, you can deposit audiovisual data in a DANS Data Station. The data stations also feature a viewer that allows users to view the materials, assuming that they have access to the dataset and the file type is supported. Supported formats are mp3, mpeg, wav, ogg, and m4a for audio files; and mp4, ogg, and QuickTime for video files. Please consider that the maximum deposit size is currently 9.3 GB per file. Contact one of the Data Station Managers if your files exceed this size or if you encounter problems uploading a large file. Information about preferred formats for audiovisual materials can be found here. 

Can I add CMDI metadata to my dataset?
If you are depositing in the DANS Data Station SSH, you can add the CMDI metadata to your dataset in a separate XML file. When entering the metadata you can indicate that your dataset includes CMDI files by adding it to the CLARIN collection already present in the DANS Data Station SSH. This way users can find all datasets containing CMDI metadata through the CLARIN collection in the DANS Data Station SSH.  

How is statistical data (SPSS, STATA) archived at DANS?
The best way to preserve statistical data for the long term is to store both the data and the data documentation in an ASCII format. This is why statistical data from proprietary software packages such as SPSS and STATA is transferred into open formats by DANS.
In the past, DANS transformed files using the Stattransfer software package. This software offers the option to convert SPSS files (.sav) and STATA files (.dta) to data and setup (.dat and .sps for SPSS; .dat and .DO for STATA). In the data station, statistical files are transferred automatically by the Dataverse software. Dataverse transforms tabular data files, like SPSS files and other statistical files, automatically into TAB files. The metadata which describes the content of these datafiles is separately stored in an XML file. Together this information can be read into SPSS or STATA as well as into other applications making the data easily reusable by others.  

Why do I see .tab files in my dataset?
When you upload a tabular data file (e.g. Excel, SPSS) into the data station, Dataverse automatically transforms this file into an open format, a TAB file (see also How is statistical data (SPSS, STATA) archived at DANS?). You will therefore see TAB files in your file overview (e.g ‘Data.sav’ will be listed as ‘’). Dataverse allows you to download the files either in the transformed .tab format or in the original format.
If your dataset contains two statistical data files with the same name but different file extension (e.g. ‘Data.sav’ and ‘Data.dta’), the files will both show as .tab files in your file overview, but a number will be added to the filename by Dataverse to ensure that there are not two files listed with the same name and extension (e.g. you will see ‘’ and ‘’). 

There are many different ‘date’ fields among the Citation Metadata: Publication Date, Production Date, Distribution Date, Date of Collection, Deposit Date. What is the meaning of these date fields?

In general, the meaning of the different kinds of dates listed in the Citation Metadata is as follows (this list roughly follows the order of the research process, in the Citation Metadata the various date fields make their appearance in a different order):

  • Date of Collection: the date, or dates, on which the data in a dataset were collected, either for purposes of research or otherwise.
  • Production Date: the date on which a dataset was created out of the data collected.
  • Deposit Date: the date on which the depositor submitted the dataset for review and publication by DANS.
  • Publication Date: the date on which a dataset has gone through the curation process and has been published in a DANS Data Station.
  • Distribution Date: the date on which a published dataset is made available for consultation and reuse (e.g. after the end of an embargo period).

Of these dates, the Deposit Date and the Publication Date are generated automatically by the DANS Data Stations, rather than provided manually by the depositor. The Publication Date is the date used for purposes of citation. The Publication Date is therefore particularly important for duly referencing a dataset which is being cited in a publication.

Besides these date fields, there are two more metadata elements which indicate a date or a time period:

  • Time Period, with Start Date and End Date (part of the Citation Metadata): these dates define the period which the data are about, such as for instance when the data cover some period in history.
  • Temporal Coverage (part of the Temporal and Spatial Coverage): this is, again, the period which the data are about, but in this case the value is entered in free text rather than dates, allowing values such as, for instance, ‘Renaissance’ or ‘Corona Pandemic’.

PLEASE NOTE: due to the transition from EASY to the DANS Data Stations, there are some exceptions to the above mentioned definitions of the dates, which have been imported from EASY into the DANS Data Stations. This is the case for many datasets in the Data Station Archaeology, as well as for some datasets in the Data Station Social Sciences and Humanities dealing with historical censuses. Specifically, for these datasets the Publication Date is the date of publication of the original (paper) report which contained the data (in EASY: the ‘Date Created’), rather than the publication of the dataset by DANS. Consequently, these datasets may have a Publication Date (i.e. the date on which the original report was published) which is earlier than the Deposit Date (i.e. the date on which the dataset was submitted for publication by DANS). 


Transitioning to the DANS Data Stations from EASY

What new features do the DANS Data Stations have compared to their predecessor EASY?
The DANS Data Stations have many new features that improve the user experience both for depositing and finding data. You will find all of the new features listed in this overview. 

What are the differences between the Terms of Use for the DANS Data Stations and for their predecessor EASY?
The DANS Data Stations have different user terms and conditions than EASY. In this overview you can find the most important differences between the contracts that apply.  

Can I use my EASY account to log into the DANS Data Stations?
If you deposited a dataset in EASY in the past, you will be able to log into the DANS Data Stations with the credentials from your EASY account. Please note that for the DANS Data Station SSH, the accounts were migrated in February 2023, if you have changed your password in EASY since then, you will need to request a new password to be able to log into the data stations.
If you have an EASY account without any published dataset, your account was not migrated and you will need to choose one of the other login options See ‘How can I log into a DANS Data Station?’. 

What happens to access requests to a restricted access dataset in EASY, after the dataset has been moved to a DANS Data Station?
Previously issued permissions have not been migrated to the DANS Data Stations. A new permission request has to be submitted and processed in the data station platform in order to provide access to a restricted access dataset. Information about reusing data and requesting access can be found in the manual on reusing data.  

Why has my SSH dataset not yet migrated from EASY to the DANS Data Station SSH?
DANS is in the process of migrating all social sciences and humanities data stored in EASY to the DANS Data Station SSH. For some datasets this process is taking more time than for others, for instance because of the size or complexity of the datasets. It is therefore possible that the metadata of your dataset is already available in the DANS Data Station SSH, but your data is still accessible through the EASY environment. In that case, the metadata of your dataset in the DANS Data Station SSH will contain a link to your data in EASY. This issue will be resolved in the coming months. 

Why can’t I see domain specific metadata, or other domain adaptations, in the Data Station Life Sciences and/or the Data Station Physical and Technical Sciences?
For practical reasons, the Data Station Life sciences was launched as a ‘Minimal Viable Product’. Compared to EASY, the previous DANS repository, you will be able to enjoy many new features, but not yet domain-specific services. These services will be developed in the near future (2024), based on the needs and requirements of Data Station users. DANS is working with partner organisations such as Health-RI and some University Medical Centers (UMCs) on standards for health and medical related data. Interaction with the ecological community, and participation in the LTER-LIFE project, will generate the needed “green” life science data knowledge. The Data Station for the Physical and technical Sciences was also launched as a MVP. Further development of this Data Station will be planned in cooperation with 4TU.ResearchData, as this is the leading Dutch repository when it comes to data related to Science, Engineering and Design. 

Why does DANS launch a data station for the Physical and Technical Sciences?
There are several reasons for setting up this DANS Data Station for the Physical and Technical Sciences. First, DANS is a national institute for scientific data, providing repository services for all scientific disciplines. DANS is also not affiliated to any particular universities, scientific institutes or Universities of Applied Research. We do not want to exclude any discipline, organisation or scientist from our services. If an engineer, architect, chemist or physicist, for whatever reason, wants to use a DANS Data Station, they should be able to do so using a dedicated data station. Another reason for setting up the Data Station for the Physical and Technical Sciences, is that the previous DANS repository EASY contained datasets from these disciplines. DANS is responsible for the curation and maintenance of these datasets. The only way to continue this responsibility is to set up our own data station for these data.

Why did DANS not use the nomenclature of the TDCCs for the DANS Data Station Life Sciences (Life Science & Health) and Data Station Physical and Technical Sciences (Natural and Engineering Sciences)?
Scientific domains, and which scientific (sub)disciplines belong to them or not, is a complex story. Strictly speaking, according to most categorisations, ‘Natural Sciences’ includes the domain of Biology. However, biological disciplines are also part of Life Sciences. To avoid confusion, we have divided the Natural Sciences into Life Sciences and Physical Sciences. Hence the names of these two data stations. The distinguishing factor is that the research data of the Life Sciences Data Station relate to living organisms, while the Data Station Physical and Technical Sciences focuses more on non-living subjects, such as computing, technology and research on our physical environment. The DANS Data Stations follow the NARCIS classification, which is also embedded in the disciplinary tags you can give to your dataset.

The term ‘data stations’ is also being used by the Personal Health Train Network in the Netherlands, are the DANS Data Stations part of this network?
The similarity in naming is a case of convergent evolution. In both situations, ‘data stations’ have an identical function, they are places where data is collected and where ‘visitors’ come to view or use these data. The same term ‘data stations’ was coined independently. However, the DANS Data Stations are much more generic and tailored to different scientific disciplines.

I have provided my dataset with geospatial metadata (point data and/or bounding boxes). Why is there no geographical interface to search for datasets by locality?
We realise there is a need for the ability to search for datasets from a specific geographical area. This feature is relevant for all scientific disciplines and connecting data by location is especially of interest to facilitate (new) interdisciplinary research. In 2024 the Data Station Archaeology will be the first to be upgraded with a map interface, the other data stations will follow.

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