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ZivaHub Data Sharing and Publishing: File Formats

This guide details all the information needed when using UCT's Institutional Repository ZivaHub

File Formats

File types on ZivaHub | Open Data UCT

ZivaHub is UCT’s open data repository, which provides you with a free place to store and share your research outputs. Research outputs are your publication figures and tables, as well as the data associated with the research that produced your publications. Openly publishing your research

results enhances the rigour and reproducibility of your work, be it quantitative tabular data, geospatial data, qualitative textual data, digital audio, images, video and the related metadata - process documentation, scripts, workflow diagrams, discussion documents and applications.

ZivaHub is powered by Figshare for Institutions (FFI), an online repository platform for discovering, citing and sharing research outputs under an open licence. The purpose of this guide is to give depositors a brief overview of how Figshare handles different file types. Included are some

suggestions for preferred formats in terms of the ‘I’ in FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). UCT has adopted the FAIR principles in its Research Data Management (RDM) policy.1 Selecting an appropriate item type via the drop-down menu when creating your item(s) adds to the

FAIR-compliance of your metadata on ZivaHub. For more details on the required metadata fields to publish your specific research outputs, read our general ZivaHub Start up guide. Setting this up correctly allows ZivaHub to act as a springboard for your data to be indexed and searched by other

harvesting services (such as DataCite , Web of science and CORE ) and most importantly, 2 3 4 for you to be cited when your data is found and reused by others. Data submitted to ZivaHub are reviewed by data stewards from your own research community, while the associated metadata description is moderated by curators at UCT Libraries, ensuring compatibility with the FAIR repository ecosystem.

There are several ways to upload your data, depending on size and volume:

  • Through your ‘My data’ area, where you can drag and drop files of up to 5GB. If you need to upload a single file that is bigger than 5GB, please contact us.
  • Using a secure FTPS solution which can work with either small or large files. For more information see how to use FTPS solutions.
  • If neither of these options meet your data needs please get in touch with us.

Preview 1000+ files directly in the browser

Over 1000 previewable file formats (click for full listing) are supported for in-browser viewing in ZivaHub. This means that if you upload your data in these file types, 15 different types of viewers will ensure that they are parsed directly in the browser, so that human users and machines will not need to download them to see the contents.


File Type


Quantitative tabular data with

extensive metadata

A dataset with variable labels, code labels, and

defined missing values, in addition to the matrix

of data

● SPSS portable format (.por)

● delimited text and command (‘setup’) file

● (SPSS, Stata, SAS, etc.) containing metadata information

● structured text or mark-up file containing metadata information, e.g. DDI


Quantitative tabular data with

minimal metadata

A matrix of data with or without column

headings or variable names, but no other

metadata or labelling

● comma-separated values (CSV) file (.csv)

● tab-delimited file (.txt), including delimited text of given character set with SQL

data definition statements where appropriate

● Other acceptable formats:

○ delimited text of given character set -- only characters not present

in the data should be used as delimiters (.txt)

○ widely-used formats, e.g. MS Excel (.xls/.xlsx), and OpenDocument

Spreadsheet (.ods), SQLite, RLDB Ascii DUMP

Geospatial data

Vector and raster

● ESRI File Geodatabase

● ESRI Geopackage

● OGC Geopackage

● Spatialite, SQLite

○ ESRI Shapefile (essential: .shp, .shx, .dbf ; optional: .prj, .sbx, .sbn)

○ GIS Attribute data in tabular formats (text, spreadsheet)

○ Geo-referenced image format with worldfile (TIFF (.tif, .tfw), JPG,


● Other acceptable formats:

○ Any format supported by the GDAL or OGR libraries

Qualitative data


● eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML) text according to an appropriate

Document Type Definition (DTD) or schema (.xml)

● Rich Text Format (.rtf)

● plain text data, UTF-8 (Unicode; .txt)

● Other acceptable formats:

○ plain text data, ASCII (.txt)

○ Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) (.html)

○ widely-used proprietary formats, e.g. MS Word (.doc/.docx)

○ LaTeX (.tex)

○ Open document formats, such as Libra Office’s (.odf)

Digital Image data

● TIFF version 6 uncompressed (.tif)

● Other acceptable formats:

○ JPEG (.jpeg, .jpg)

○ TIFF (other versions; .tif, .tiff)

○ JPEG 2000 (.jp2)




Digital Audio data

● Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) (.flac)

● Waveform Audio Format (WAV) (.wav)

● MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (.mp3) - spoken word audio only

● Other acceptable formats:

○ MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (.mp3)

○ Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) (.aif)

Digital Video data

● MPEG-4 High Profile (.mp4)

● motion JPEG 2000 (.jp2)

● Other acceptable formats:

○ JPEG 2000 (.mj2)

Documentation and scripts

● Rich Text Format (.rtf)

● Open Document Text (.odt)

● HTML (.htm, .html)

● Other acceptable formats:

○ plain text (.txt) (Unicode)

○ widely-used proprietary formats, e.g. MS Word (.doc/.docx) or MS

Excel (.xls/ .xlsx)

○ Open document formats, such as Libra Office’s (.odf)

○ XML marked-up text (.xml) according to an appropriate DTD or

schema, e.g. XHTML 1.0

○ PDF/A or PDF (.pdf)

○ Jupiter/code .ipynb, py, .txt

Chemistry data

spectroscopy data and other plots which require

the capability of representing contours as well as

peak position and intensity

● Convert NMR, IR, Raman, UV and Mass Spectrometry files to JCAMP format for

ease in sharing.

● JCAMP file viewers: JSpecView, ChemDoodle


● .rar

● .zip


● .cif

● .pdb


● widely-used proprietary PowerPoint formats, e.g. ppt, pptx, pptm are all

previewed in ZivaHub

● Open document formats, such as Libra Office’s (.odf)

3D Models

● obj, stl, ply, u3d


● Gephi, gexf