Getting Started

Summary: Use our step-by-step guide to get started with LDBase and creating your first project.

Step 1: Is my dataset/project shareable?

  • Is the data somewhere else? Use LDbase to make sure your dataset is findable! Describe your Project, create DOIs if needed, and spread the word, even if your dataset is accessible elsewhere via link, or on request.
  • Is sensitive information okay? LDbase is appropriate for a wide range of projects, but does not accept participant DNA, brain images, photos/videos, or audio recordings. Federal agencies and professional organizations (e.g., NIH, IES, ASHA) may provide guidance if LDbase isn't right for you.
  • Check informed consent/IRB forms. Check the consent forms, and check to see if the language precludes sharing. If needed, work with your IRB for permission to share.
  • Plan on ensuring de-identification. Make a plan for preparing datasets for sharing. Can I check for or complete de-identification myself, or will I need help?

Step 2: Create an account at LDbase

  • Familiarize yourself with LDbase and your options. Topics on this page include: sustainability; control in what and when to publish publicly; how your stuff will be organized under projects.
  • Create your personal account. You will be an LDbase "User" with "Projects." Include organizations/affiliations, interests, social media, etc. to increase discoverability.
  • Have project admins create accounts. You and anyone you assign can act as a project administrator or editor on LDbase (see FAQ on roles). Decide who will manage your projects, and ensure they create a personal account on LDbase.

Step 3: Create and publish a Project

  • Gather project metadata: Project metadata is important because it makes your project searchable and understandable. More details mean better adherence to the FAIR principles of data management and stewardship. Datasets, codebooks, and related materials files will live within a project. You will add those in later steps.
  • Create a Project. Includes adding metadata and assignment project admin/editors. You can generate a DOI for the project during this step!
  • Publish and share the Project. Publish your Project. Publishing makes only the meta-data descriptors available to the public. This is a good time to share a project link with collaborators or via social media! Data are "coming soon."

Pro tip: Publishing a Project will not automatically share data publicly. Feel free to publish your project at the end of this step!

Step 4: Identify existing datasets and their metadata.

  • Identify existing datasets. Datasets selected for sharing might be: from specific papers/analyses; from unpublished datasets you want to share. Or, they might be from different levels of clustered data, project-wide and comprehensive, or for a subset of variables from an existing file.
  • Confirm sharing permissions. Any updates after working with your IRB for permission to share a limited file?
  • Gather metadata for datasets. These dataset metadata are the documents and descriptions that users will use to understand the dataset. Ensure enough information will be available for outside researchers. Will other researchers be able to use and understand the codebook? The variables in each dataset?

Step 5: Prepare data and codebooks.

  • Prepare datasets for sharing. Ensure datasets are de-identified. We recommend storing datasets in a non-proprietary format (e.g., .dat or .csv file). However, many formats are uploadable.
  • Select codebook(s). The clearer the correspondence between variables in the dataset and the codebook, the easier it will be for researchers to use data appropriately. If new variables were created during de-identification, define these in the codebook.

Step 6: Add datasets to your Project

  • Add dataset to LDbase. Add datasets to your Project using the "Add File to this Project" option.
  • Generate a DOI for each dataset
  • Attach a codebook. Add a codebook to each dataset using the "Add Codebook" option.

Step 7: Add related materials (optional)

  • Identify related materials. Related materials might include data dictionaries, papers or posters, code, figures or data collection time tables, or stiumuli/protocols of your own creation.
  • Add related materials. Attach related materials to their corresponding dataset using the "Add File to this Dataset" option. LDbase allows files to be nested and organized with a hierarchy. Ask yourself, which materials are project-wide? Which are associated with certain datasets?

Step 8: Publish data and distribute.

  • Publish datasets and materials. You are ready to share! Use "Publish All" to publicly share all datasets and materials for the Project.
  • LDbase can accommodate versioning. If versions of a dataset are added in the future, you will describe the difference between each.
  • Distribute citable products. The DOI and citations can be sued for grant reporting, CV, and professional webpages. Consider sharing with collaborators and social media connections.