The Rebecca J. Holz Series in Research Data Management is a monthly lecture series hosted during the spring and fall academic semesters. This October, RDS invited Mary Checovich, Sr. Research Specialist in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at UW-Madison, to speak about her experience depositing data into OpenICPSR.

In her work with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Checovich has been involved in the study MEPARI-2 (Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection); the study is jointly funded by the NIH and the Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which does not have an existing repository.

As a study that was funded by the NIH, she has had to ensure that the data that they collected was public-access compliant. The study ran from 2012-2017, beginning at a time before the push for open access to data really increased to its current popularity. MEPARI-2 was immediately registered with, data was cleaned as it was collected, and the research group maintained back-up copies of the data, and the manuscripts that resulted from the data collection were compliant with PubMed Central’s standards, but the group did not have a plan for sharing their data at the end of the study.

After meeting with RDS to discuss the pros and cons of different data repositories, Checovich continued to look into ICPSR due to their trustworthiness as a repository, ultimately speaking with the UW-Madison ICPSR representative, Lu Chou, and Director of Instructional Resources and Development for ICPSR, Lynette Hoelter. Checovich decided to use OpenICPSR, another repository supported by ICPSR.

OpenICPSR was launched in 2015 as a research data-sharing service that allows depositors to rapidly self-publish research data, enabling the public to access the data without charge. As a depositor to OpenICPSR, Checovich reported that the process of uploading data and adding the necessary metadata to it was simple and clearly laid out. Because there has been enough interest in the MEPARI-2 data that Checovich deposited into OpenICPSR, they have offered data curation services; the research team is very excited about this upcoming collaboration.


For more information about OpenICPSR, see their booklet.