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File types guidance  

In what file format(s) should I submit my data to Dryad?

To maximize accessibility and preservability, Dryad always prefers non-proprietary, openly documented formats. However, data submitted to Dryad should also be optimized for reanalysis and reuse.

For example, for a table of values, Dryad’s preferred format is CSV; however, a spreadsheet that was created and formatted using Microsoft Excel may optimize reuse by remaining in XLS format. For this reason, Dryad accepts more than just the preservation-friendly formats listed below.

Dryad also welcomes the submission of data in multiple formats, to help anticipate various reuse scenarios.

Providing well-documented data in a community-accepted format is in the interest of the submitter, since it encourages others to reuse and thus cite the original work. Whether a community standard file format is available or not, you can always provide adequate information to correctly interpret the data within your data files (e.g., in the choice of column headers) and in the ReadMe files.

Preferred file formats

  • Text: plain text (ASCII, UTF-8), Open Office formats
    • Comma-separated (or otherwise delimited) values for tabular data
    • Semi-structured plain text formats for non-tabular data (e.g., those used for nucleotide/protein sequences, alignments and phylogenies).
    • XML & JSON for structured data
    • Many community standard data exchange formats are listed in the BioSharing catalogue.
  • Images: PDF/A, JPEG/JPEG2000, PNG, TIFF, SVG
  • Audio: FLAC, AIFF, WAVE
  • Video: AVI, M-JPEG2000
  • Compressed/archived formats: GZIP/TAR, ZIP
    • Files may be compressed and/or archived when necessary due to large file size, a large number of files (more than 10), or the need to gather files together in a particular directory structure in order for them to be understood.
  • ReadMe files: should ideally be in plain text format.

For comments/questions about file types in Dryad, contact curator@datadryad.org.

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Last revised: 2014-08-27

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