EMPIAR policy changes regarding abandoned depositions, unresponsive depositors and withdrawal of entries


Since its inception in 2013, EMPIAR has accumulated quite a few depositions that have never been submitted. There are also entries for which an accession code has been assigned but which have not been released even after expiry of the one year maximum hold period. There are also cases where it is necessary to make changes to a submitted but unreleased deposition, but the depositors can no longer be reached or are unresponsive. To deal with such cases, some EMPIAR Policies & Procedures have been changed. The current version of the EMPIAR Policies & Procedures document (and all previous versions) can be found at https://empiar.org/policies.

What has changed?

On 1 March 2022, the most recent version (1.0.3) of the EMPIAR Policies & Procedures took effect. The main changes compared to previous versions pertained to:

1. Unsubmitted depositions. Any deposition must be submitted within a year (twelve calendar months) after its creation. An email will be sent to the depositor six months before this deadline expires, and will be followed by monthly reminders. After twelve months all the uploaded data will be removed and the deposition’s status will be changed to ABANDONED. For the avoidance of doubt: ALL data belonging to an ABANDONED deposition is deleted from the EMPIAR file systems and cannot be retrieved by EMPIAR staff. If the data of an abandoned deposition needs to be deposited after all, a new deposition session needs to be created, all metadata needs to be re-entered, and all data files need to be uploaded from scratch. (EMPIAR Policies and Processing Procedures 5.1)

2. Entry changes requested by EMPIAR after release. In some cases, additional information will be required or some files need to be renamed, moved or removed. The EMPIAR team will contact the depositor and, if there is no reply after three months, then the entry will be either kept as is, modified by EMPIAR staff or obsoleted, all at the discretion of the EMPIAR team. (EMPIAR Policies and Processing Procedures 6.2.1)

3. Entry withdrawal after the hold period expires. The maximum hold period for EMPIAR entries is one year (twelve calendar months) after the annotation of the entry has finished. A reminder email will be sent to the depositor two months and one month before the hold period is set to expire. After twelve months, all the uploaded data will be removed and the entry’s status will be changed to WDRN (“withdrawn”) for entries that have never been released. (EMPIAR Policies and Processing Procedures 7.3)

Note that, for operational reasons, all changes apply to all past, present and future depositions and entries and will be enforced with immediate effect.


We strongly recommend that you avoid creating unnecessary depositions. For example, if you have created a deposition simply to test the deposition and file-upload process, there is no need to abandon this deposition. When you are ready to deposit a dataset you can use a previously created (but not yet submitted) deposition. Another common occurrence is that something goes wrong during deposition - perhaps the wrong files were uploaded. Again, there is no need to abandon the deposition: simply ask EMPIAR staff to remove the files. Finally, you may also request EMPIAR staff to remove an old deposition that you won’t be repurposing.

If you are concerned about the impact of the new policies on one or more of your depositions or entries, please contact EMPIAR at empiar-help@ebi.ac.uk. If you have any questions or comments on these or other EMPIAR policies, please send them to the same email address.

Thank you for your understanding, support and cooperation!