README files for Data and Datasets
A README file is a text file that contains information about other files in a directory. README files date back to the 1970s as a way to capture general information about a piece of software, program, utility, or a game.
For research data, README files are helpful at providing contextual information to help ensure that the data can be correctly interpreted by yourself at a later date, and by others.
At ScholarWorks@UMass, a README file is required before your data is approved for posting in the repository. The general README file we suggest you complete is available here: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/data/readme.txt. If your discipline already requires more rigorous and detailed README files or metadata, please upload that file with the data you are depositing.
Example README files are available here:
If you have questions about completing a README file, or other questions about sharing your data, please contact the Data Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.