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DataShare: ISU's Open Research Data Repository

Iowa State University’s DataShare is an open access repository for sharing and publishing research data created by Iowa State University scholars and researchers.

Recommended File Formats

Files that are stored in open formats or formats that are ubiquitous are easier to share, preserve, and reuse. The table below provides a summary of recommended and acceptable file formats for common file types. If you wish to deposit data in DataShare please prepare your files based on these recommendations or contact our staff for help.

Values in bold indicate the best choice if multiple options are available.

File Type Recommended Formats Acceptable Formats
Audio Wave (.wav); FLAC (.flac), AIFF (.aiff, .aif); MPEG (.mp3), FLAC, Ogg Vorbus (.ogg),
Database eXistdb database files (.xml files in a hierarchy of directories)  
Image: Raster uncompressed Tagged Image File Format (.tif or .tiff) JPEG (low/no compression); BMP, PNG (.png)
Image: Vector Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)  
Tabular data Comma Separated Values (.csv) or Tab Separated Values (.tsv), UTF-8 encoding preferred.  MS Excel (.xlsx 2007 or later), Open Office (.ods), structured plain text files (.txt)
Text: Formatted PDF/A (.pdf); Rich Text (.rft) PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word (.docx), Open Office (.odt)
Text: Plain Plain Text, ASCII (.txt); Plain Text, UTF-8 (.txt)  
Structural: Markup
SGML w/valid DTD (.smg, .sgml); XML w/valid DTD (.xml); KML (.kml); JSON (.json), Markdown (.md) HTML (.html, .htm)
Video MPEG-4 (.mp4) AVI (.avi); QuickTime (.mov)
Virtual Reality X3D (.x3d)  

File Formats to Avoid

Below is a table of file formats to avoid as they are either: 1) proprietary; 2) discontinued; or 3) difficult to preserve or reuse.

File Types File Formats Reasoning


Real Audio (.ra, .rm, .ram)

Windows Media Audio (.wma)

Proprietary and discontinued
Statistics Packages JMP files Proprietary
Adobe Creative Suite .psd; .eps, .indd, etc. Proprietary
Older Microsoft Office Suite .doc, .docx, excl Proprietary and defunct.
Images JPEG 2000 (.jp2) Defunct
Video Windows Media Video (.wmv) Proprietary and defunct
Generic .dat DAT files are usually structured and should be saved in a file format that makes the structure explicit (such as .csv or .tsv).
Databases Microsoft Access (.accdb); FileMaker Pro (.fm5, .fm7, .fm12, etc.) Proprietary

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For more help visit the University Library's
Data Management Plan Guide

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