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DataHub: Publishing Data

Publishing Data

Publish Items

1. When the whole item is ready to publish, go to the item details page and tick the “Publish” box next to the “Save changes” button.

If any mandatory field(s) is incomplete, a prompt message will appear and you are unable to tick the box until the field(s) are filled.


2. Click on “Publish item” to proceed.


3. A confirmation message will appear further asking if you confirm to make the item public, permanently available, and under the license as specified.


4. If you have not uploaded any files but did not tick the box “Metadata record only”, a message will be prompted asking you to choose either one of them.

Once you have clicked on “Yes, publish”, your data and the item record will be sent to our reviewers for checking. When it has been done, your published data and files will be publicly viewable.


Note: For Research Postgraduate (RPg) students, there are additional steps required for the publishing process.

Please refer to the section “Submission Guide" for Research Postgraduate students.

Edit Published Item

1. Uploaded files and metadata records could be edited even if they are published. The item record can be found under “My data” and indicated by a green dot symbol under the status column.


2. Move your cursor to the right of the record and click on the grey pencil icon.


3. The item record page will appear and you may edit the field(s), add or delete any file(s) in the record. Updating the title, authors and uploaded files will lead to a new version with a versioned DOI. If changes were made to the mentioned fields, the word “(new version)” will appear under the “Publish changes” button. Tick the box next to it and click on “Save changes”.


4. The revised version of the item will be under review again and checked by our reviewers. Once it is approved, the newer version will go public and the version number will be indicated on the metadata record. You may also view the older version(s) by selecting it on the drop down menu.

5. Updating other field(s) such as categories, item type, keywords, and description will not trigger a new version. You can tick the “Publish changes” box and click on “Save changes”. Any changes submitted will also be sent to our reviewers for checking.

Restricted Access

There are occasions that you may wish to upload your data with access control conditions, especially for the sensitive data that conveys personal identifiers. The below will guide you through the steps required for setting up access restrictions to your files.

If your data contain sensitive, confidential or restricted data per the HKU Policy on Research Ethics, you are required to handle those data by means of either of the below two methods:

  1. Upload the data under restricted access

  2. Make and upload a version that anonymizes the data, for public access (with the approval of relevant IRBs or ethics committees)

Please refer to the below sections when you would like to set up access restrictions to your files:


Who can access

There are four levels or types of restriction available when you are deciding who can access your data uploaded on DataHub:


A. Only to anyone who has connected to the HKU network

Access is restricted to anyone who has his/her device(s) connected to the HKU network (e.g. WiFi) on campus, or anyone who has connected to the HKU VPN outside the campus.

During the uploading process, click on “Apply embargo & restricted access”.

Select “Custom” under Who can access the embargoed content?

Tick the second box “University of Hong Kong” under Users with a specific IP range.

Note: Do not select this option (type A) together with type B and C as it will loosen the level of the restrictive conditions specified in type B and C.


B. Only to logged in HKU members

Access is restricted to HKU members, including both academic staff and RPg students, who have logged in with their HKU portal ID on DataHub.

Click on “Apply embargo & restricted access” and select “Custom”.

Tick the first box “University of Hong Kong” under Logged in users of.


C. Only to selected group(s) of HKU faculty staff members

Access is restricted to selected group(s) of HKU faculty staff members who have logged in with their HKU portal ID on DataHub only, e.g. staff members of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine. Multiple group selection is also available.

Click on “Apply embargo & restricted access” and select “Custom”.

Click on the pull down menu on the right under Logged in users of and select the group(s) of HKU faculty staff members who you would like to grant access to.

Note 1: It is unable to only grant access permission to individual staff member(s) from a faculty. 

Note 2: Do NOT select “Research Postgraduate” unless you would like to grant access to all of the current RPg students at HKU.


D. Nobody could access your files or metadata record

Access is restricted to only yourself and no one could access your data files or metadata.

Click on “Apply embargo & restricted access”.

Leave the option “Nobody” as your currently selected option.

Note: For RPg student research dataset submission, dataset under this setting (type D) will be accessible only to the student, and his/her supervisor(s). The examiner(s) of thesis may also request access to the data for thesis examination process (MPH15 & PHD15 of the Procedures). When the student and supervisor(s) leave the university, the Dean of the faculty will be granted access permission.


How much content will be set under restricted access (embargo type)

You may decide if your chosen level of access restrictions would be applied 1) on your uploaded files only or 2) on the entire content.

1. On files only

Choosing “on files only” means your selected access restriction rules will only be applied to your uploaded files, while the metadata record of your dataset will remain publicly available.

Click on “On files only” from the dropdown menu under Embargo type.

You are strongly recommended to also include your reason(s) for applying restricted access conditions at the files level in the comment box:


2. On the entire content

If you would like to apply your access restrictions “on the entire content”, it means both of your uploaded files and the metadata record of your dataset will be available to only those you have granted access to.

Click on “On the entire content” from the dropdown menu under Embargo type.

Note 1: Under this setting, the entire metadata record of your dataset together with your files will not be shown on DataHub to those you haven’t granted access to.
Note 2: If you are restricting access to particular parties (type A, B or C under Who can access) on “the entire content”, DOI is unable to be generated due to insufficient metadata available. Instead, a
HANDLE will be assigned to your item.


How long will the access restrictions apply (embargo period)

You will have to decide how long will your selected access restrictions be applied to your files or the entire content. 

1. Permanent

If you would like to make your restrictions in effect forever, select “Permanent Embargo” under Embargo period.

Note: Please note that applying “permanent embargo” onto “the entire content” with “nobody” can be accessed (type D under Who can access) is not allowed.


2. Specified period

You may also choose to restrict access only for a certain period. However, once the embargo period ends, your data files or the entire content will automatically be made publicly available. In other words, all of your selected restricted access conditions will no longer be effective after the end of the embargo period.

You are recommended to select this option if your dataset is only temporarily unavailable to be published for a certain period owing to reasons such as journal publication policies.

To specify the embargo period, either select the preset period from the dropdown list on the left or select a specific date of expiry from the calendar on the right under Embargo period.

When the item is published with an embargo period with an expiry date at file level, a countdown will be shown on top of the metadata page of your item and files are temporarily restricted from previewing and downloading by those who haven't been granted access. The files will later become available for Open Access once the embargo period has ended.

Linked Files

If your data is already retained in an external repository, you may wish to create an item record with the link directing others to where your data is stored.

Instead of browsing or dragging any files, click the “Link file” button at the top right of the page.
Note: This option is available only if you have not uploaded any files to the item.


Copy and paste the link into the box.


If you would like to edit the link, you are required to remove it completely by clicking the cross symbol (remove link) and add a new one.


The link will be shown on top of the published metadata page as shown below. You can refer to an example of a linked file item.

Metadata Records Only

If your data are forbidden to be uploaded onto another repository owing to copyright issues, or the data are considered to be too sensitive to be uploaded (with valid justification), you may wish to create a metadata record only.
Without any file(s) being uploaded, tick the “Metadata record only” box at the top left of the page.


Fill in the reason(s) for creating a metadata record only. Provide the access information if data are preserved in an external repository.


Once the item is published, the metadata record page will be publicly available with no file to be shown. You can refer to an example of a metadata record.

Reserving DOI

By publishing your research on DataHub, a DataCite DOI will be automatically allocated, which will enable your data to be cited using different citation methods.
However, if your data are not ready to be published yet, you may also reserve a DOI during the uploading process. It will only be active and citable when the item is published.


Select “Reserve Digital Object Identifier” at the bottom of the item submission form.


A DOI will then be generated immediately.

Data and Scholarly Communication Librarian

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Jesse Xiao
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