McGill Dataverse


Contact rdm.library [at]


In August 2020, the McGill Library launched the McGill University Dataverse, a local solution for research data publishing and archiving. McGill faculty, students, and staff are welcome to deposit datasets in the McGill University Dataverse repository. All data are stored securely on servers located in Canada. Data can be publicly accessible, available to specific individuals, or private/restricted. Please contact alisa.rod [at] (Alisa Rod), Research Data Management Specialist, if you would be interested in depositing data in the McGill University Dataverse.

The McGill University Dataverse can be found by following this URL:

Please note, if you would like to publish GIS/geospatial data (or any data that contain location information) to the McGill University Dataverse, the inclusion of ISO 19115-compliant metadata is mandatory. For more information and resources on GIS/geospatial metadata, please see this guide on data management for geospatial/GIS data.

For in-depth detailed training on using the Dataverse software, please see the self-paced online Dataverse 101: A Portage Training Module Series


Attention, McGill University Dataverse users! Scholars Portal Dataverse is now Borealis, the Canadian Dataverse Repository! Learn more about the name change on McGill Library's website or follow @BorealisData on Twitter for the latest news! Please note that the McGill University Dataverse name will not change, but it will now be hosted on Borealis. Core services will remain the same. The McGill University Dataverse is still the place where you can store, share, publish and discover research data.

Benefits of Publishing Data

  • Long-term archiving and preservation
  • Ensure transparency and reproducibility
  • Increase visibility of your research
  • Enable reuse of the data
  • Fulfill grant or journal mandates

Creating a McGill Dataverse Account

  1. Go to the McGill University Dataverse and select Log In from the top right page menu options. Alternatively, you can go to Borealis and select Log In from the menu options at the top right of the page.
  2. Select the option to log in or sign up with your institutional account (search for McGill University in the dropdown menu). You will be taken to a page to authenticate your McGill username/login. Please note that in order to create your account you will need to agree to Borealis' Terms of Use.
  3. Before depositing data, please contact rdm.library [at] so that the Research Data Management Specialist can create a collection for you, your project, or your lab or research team and assign to you the appropriate permissions so you can add and publish datasets. You will not be able to add datasets until the Research Data Management Specialist has assigned these permissions to you.

Datasets and Collections

With Dataverse, a researcher can upload a dataset (which can contain multiple files, documentation/README, etc) and/or a collection (which is a container that can hold multiple datasets).

For researchers who have multiple datasets, you could set up a collection for yourself or your lab/research group. This could also be contained in a disciplinary high level collection (such as by department or faculty).

How to Deposit Data*

  1. Select the Collection

    • Choose the collection you want to deposit data into. You can find the list of collections you have permission to deposit to via: My Data (in the dropdown menu from your account name in the upper right)
  2. Create a New Dataset

    • Click + Add Data, and choose New Dataset from the dropdown menu
    • Select a dataset Template for the desired Creative Commons license (default license is CC0)
    • Be aware: selecting a template will clear all other data fields, so do this first. Fill in Required Metadata fields marked with a * Note: many more metadata fields become available for editing after your dataset is saved.
    • If desired, fill in additional metadata fields. RECOMMENDED: Keywords, Related Publications. You can save the dataset without adding any files
  3. Upload Data Files

    • The Files section is at the bottom of the page, below the Citation Metadata.
    • Drag and drop files from your desktop or click + Select Files To Add.
    • Max file size: 3 Gb. If your files are too large, try putting them into a .zip file, or contact rdm.library [at] for help.
    • Describe the files: Title, Description, Tags. 
  4. Save Changes

    • Click Save Changes button. This saves the dataset in Draft form; it is not yet published nor publicly visible.
    • Once a dataset is created, Dataverse assigns a DOI to permanently identify it.
    • You can also assign a Private URL to share with a journal without publishing the data. Click Edit -> Private URL -> Create Private URL (e.g. in the case that the journal requires a blind review and a link to the data for the reviewers; or, in the case that you would prefer not to publish the dataset before the related publication is published).
  5. Edit your dataset

    • You can edit elements of your dataset at any time using the Files, Metadata, and Terms (license and use permissions) tabs at the bottom of the page. Files can also be Restricted so they are available only on request. Under the dataset Files tab, select Edit Files -> Restrict.

Publishing your Data

The deposit workflow is mediated. This means that once you are ready to publish your dataset, select Submit for Review, and then the draft dataset will be reviewed by the research data management specialist. If the metadata fields are complete and descriptive, and there are no issues with the data file(s) or format(s), the McGill Dataverse administrator will publish the dataset and it will then be available publicly. If you would like to have a collection for your research group or lab, please contact the RDM specialist, who will set up a collection and add you as an administrator.

Licensing Your Data

Template license options include:

  • CC 0 (public domain, unambiguously waive all copyright control over your data in all jurisdictions worldwide. Data released with CC0 can be freely copied, modified, and distributed, even for commercial purposes, without violating copyright). This is the default license in Dataverse, as one goal of the project is to promote open science best practices.
  • CC BY (This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.)
  • CC BY-NC (This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.)
  • CC BY-SA (This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms)
  • CC BY-NC-SA (This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.)

Not sure what license to select? Creative Commons has a neat tool to help.

For more information about Creative Commons licenses, contact the copyright [at] (Copyright and Digital Collections Librarian).

Further Resources and Information about the Borealis Dataverse project in Canada

  • Borealis also hosts an advanced user guide for more specific questions/scenarios.
  • For general information about the Borealis project (of which the McGill University Dataverse is a sub-repository), please refer to this FAQ page.
  • For detailed information on metadata standards and best practices, please refer to this guide.



*This section was adapted from this guide by Melissa Cuthill and Eugene Barsky, UBC, CC-BY

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