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Research Data Management Basics

This guide covers essential and practical tips for managing project data and lists contacts for getting help with data questions.

Research Sharing Options

The Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) is a place for George Mason researchers to share data publicly and includes works of George Mason scholarship such as articles, books, theses and dissertations, and data. MARS comprises two institutional repository options:

  1. George Mason University Dataverse data repository.
    • Use this for depositing final research data such as tabular data (SPSS, Stata, R, Excel, CSV), GIS files, code, or similar.
  2. MARS
    • Use this for depositing articles, books, theses and dissertations, presentations, and more.

Membership Options

  1. The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR)
    • Use this for qualitative data, we have a membership with QDR and will work with you to guide you through the process.
  2. openICPSR
    • openICPSR is a self-publishing option for social, behavioral, and health sciences research data. George Mason is an ICPSR member institution.
  3. The Open Science Framework (OSF) Institutions.
    • Use this for managing data and projects in process and for collaborating with research partners at Mason and at other institutions.

Need help? Have questions about these options? E-mail

About MARS and Dataverse

The Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) and the George Mason University Institutional Dataverse are stable, web-accessible and widely indexed, permanent digital archives for digital scholarly and research materials of enduring value produced by Mason faculty, staff, and students. Each offer persistent URLs (DOI's), searchable metadata, and long-term preservation. Both are free, secure places to archive and share research output.

Contact Mason Publishing with questions about publishing your research, author rights, licensing, and related issues.

The University Libraries is dedicated to encouraging and supporting open access research and publication, and empowering members of the Mason community to control the distribution of their work.

Benefits of releasing your scholarship in our institutional repositories include:

Increased discoverability of your scholarship.
Your work will be indexed by services such as Google Scholar (MARS) and Datacite (Dataverse). When your work is free and easy to find, it is more likely to be read and cited by other researchers.

Increased public engagement with your research.
By sharing your work on open access platforms, you enable teachers, researchers, and innovators around the world to read and engage with your findings.

Increased stability of your digital content.
Not only do we ensure that your work is not lost in a hard drive crash, we also help you release your work in stable formats to improve long-term use. In addition, we assign your work a persistent identifier, so you can link to your scholarship with confidence.

Dissemination Options

Openly accessible. Anyone may download and use your data.

Embargoed. If you choose to embargo your data (to delay its release for up to two years after deposit), users and search engines can access metadata but not associated data files while the embargo is in effect. After the embargo lifts, the record becomes openly accessible and users can download your data.

Restricted. If your data cannot be openly shared due to sensitive or rights-restricted information, we will help you find an appropriate repository or storage solution. Depending on the nature of the restrictions, this data can be archived as a metadata-only record (title, author, abstract) with an email contact to request access to the dataset. The data files can be released to certain users upon request.

Identifying data repositories for archiving research data and associated research outputs is an important task. If MARS or Dataverse are not appropriate for your data, the Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) can help with locating an appropriate repository and with material preparation and deposition.  

Archiving your data in a domain repository can be used as an alternative to or in addition to MARS or George Mason's Dataverse. Domain repositories are associated with a subject discipline.  Below are major directories for locating a discipline-specific repository:

  • is a registry of research data repositories.
  • Simmons Open Access Directory: Data Repositories is a browsable subject list of repositories and databases for open data. Note: this directory is not as comprehensive as re3data.
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) social science data archive.
    • See ICPSR's How to Deposit Data information for guidelines on depositing your data.
    • openICPSR is the open access version of ICPSR's data archive and a repository for sharing behavioral health and social science data.

Some of the cost associated with depositing data in openICPSR may be covered by the libraries' Open Access Publishing Fund. George Mason University is an ICPSR member.