Deposit Data

You may wish to share your research data with other researchers, or your funders may require you to share your data. Sharing your data will ensure your research is cited more widely. DataFirst is the only internationally certified data repository in Africa. We will manage and publish your research data according to global best practice.

Our mission is to promote open African research data as a public good. We therefore do not accept data we cannot share in some way. You have the option to share your data for research-use only. If your data are sensitive or contain personal information, we can anonymise the data for you, or share it in our Secure Centre (data enclave) at the University.

1. How do I deposit my data with DataFirst?

Contact us at support[at] and we will assist you to deposit your data with us for publishing on our data site. Read our depositor MOA, which indicates the responsibilities of DataFirst and the depositor.

2. What does DataFirst charge to host my data on their data repository?
DataFirst charges a once-off Data Hosting Fee of R30,000 to R60,000 per dataset, depending on the dataset and your Project’s access to funding for data sharing.

Research funding bodies increasingly mandate post-project data sharing. They may also provide additional funds for you to share your data. These funds should cover our hosting fee. In any case, we recommend that you build data curation costs into your initial research funding proposals.

DataFirst can also create a branded page for your project for an additional R12,000.

Small-scale academic projects and projects without funds for data sharing should please contact us so that we can arrange to sponsor the hosting of your data on our repository.

For the Data Hosting Fee, DataFirst will:

  • Assist your project to prepare Data Management Plans for funders;
  • Quality-check your data;
  • Anonymise your data for public access; or
  • Prepare and archive your sensitive data for sharing in our Secure Research Data Centre on campus
  • Publish informative descriptions of your data (metadata) to help data re-users;
  • Make your Data available in the long term under a clear data use license;
  • Disseminate your data in compliance with national data protection legislation and research ethics;
  • Require data re-users to cite you as the data producers in their research publication based on the data;
  • Provide your project with regular data use statistics.

Curation costs will be agreed upon in the data sharing Memorandum of Agreement we sign with you as the Depositor.

3. What type of data can I deposit with DataFirst?
Our collections policy is to only collect African data. However, some datasets may be from multi-country projects and we do then accept both the African and non-African data components. Our subject focus is social science, humanities, and health data. We do not collect aggregated data but focus on making primary data (anonymised raw data) available because this type of data has high value for policy researchers.
Data Type
DataFirst accepts administrative records, survey research data, and any other data that could be useful for research. While no data is error-free, DataFirst reserves the right to choose not to disseminate datasets that do not meet certain quality and usability standards.

4. What formats should the data be in?
DataFirst accepts data files in all formats, including Excel, but preferred formats for data files are Stata and SPSS. Data deposited in other formats will be converted to our standard formats.

5. What should be included with the data files?
Background documentation helps other researchers to understand your data and helps us to create informative metadata. Documents that should be deposited with the data files, include administrative forms, questionnaires, code lists, manuals, analytic notes, reports and any documents useful for understanding how the data was collected and how it may be used.

6. How will DataFirst make the data available?
All data deposited with us will be available to the research community with a data access model chosen by you as the data depositor.

Access to data can be:

Public use - data shared under a Creative Commons CC-BY attribution-only license.

Non-commercial use ("Licensed") - data must be registered and approved but is still available online within 24 hours.  This data is shared under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC license.

On-site restricted ("Data Enclave") use data - Restricted-access data is sensitive data or data that has detailed geographic variables.  This data is therefore shared with accredited researchers in our Secure Data Centre at UCT.


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Mail: Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town, South Africa 
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