This section provides users with the tools to submit their metadata and data to CanWIN.

Research datasets and tools that relate to those datasets have a value of their own, regardless of whether they are associated with published peer-reviewed literature. This means the datasets can have their own authors and digital object identifier (DOI), and their own unique description. 

On the CanWIN, a dataset refers to the entire metadata record for one or more resources; the dataset refers to information entered on the Edit dataset page. A resource refers to the data files you upload or link to on the Add data page. This may be a spreadsheet, database, document, or another resource that you wish to make available for the purpose of advancing scientific knowledge. Multiple resources may be included as part of a single dataset, depending on how you wish to define and describe your data.

Even if your data is not ready to share, you can share the metadata (the Who, What, When, Where and Why about your data) with others so they know what work is being conducted in an area.

Quick Steps to Release Data

New Users

  1. Prepare data for publishing using the CanWIN's Data Levels and Best Practice Practice Recommendations and Formatting Guidelines.

  2. Go to the online Project Submission Form where you can complete the form online or download it for offline use. The online form contains only the metadata, while the downloaded form contains a place to enter information about the individual datasets.

  3. If you are adding data, either complete the Individual dataset section in the downloaded Project Submission form or complete the online Submit data form.

  4. If you submitted your Project information online, send your data file as an attachment to with the subject line the title of your project submission form.

  5. You will receive an email confirming CanWIN received your data. If you also request that your organization be added as a Data Publisher and you nominate a Primary Administrator (see the next section on For Data Publishers), once your data has been added to CanWIN, you will be able to upload directly into the DataHub following the instructions in the CanWIN Submission Guide in the F.A.Q. section in CanWIN.

For Data Publishers

Groups and organizations can publish their own datasets on CanWIN by nominating a Primary Administrator (Data or Metadata Contact) person. CanWIN will set up an administrator role for each organization. Once this role has been established, the group or organization may choose to set up additional administrators for their organization.

  • To request an organization be added to CanWIn, users must email a request to CanWIN at

For the Subject enter Request for Organization creation to upload data to CanWIN. In the body of the email include:

  • Organization Name
  • Administer's name
  • Administer's email

    • You will receive an email with a confirmation and next steps to set up your account and password.

    • Once you are confirmed as an organization and have set up your account, you can add your data using the quick steps above, OR

  • Add data and edit your metadata and data directly into the DataHub by following the instructions in the CanWIN Submission Guide in the F.A.Q. section in CanWIN.

General Tips for Publishing

  • You may provide multiple formats for the same data.

  • Tags are Keywords for the data. A list of keywords can be found on the Tags page. Use these keywords unless you absolutely need a new one.

  • Consider submitting the files used by your statistical program as they are already machine-readable.

  • Provide data as CSV (comma-separated values) wherever possible for tabular data. In addition, you may also submit spreadsheets to capture formulas.

  • Use standard terminology wherever possible (e.g. include both the Latin and common names for plants and animals).

  • If you are a scientific researcher, you may have access to disciplinary thesauri or ontologies. Use these for standardization or information and remember to cite them! For example, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System provides standardized names for plants, animals, fungi, and microbes and is internationally recognized.

  • Do not include dates/years in your dataset title. Instead, include dates in the dataset description and temporal coverage fields. The resources (data files) can include date/years in their title.

    • Why? When a dataset is created the system generates a unique DOI and URL link. This ID can be used as a quick link to access the data, it may be referenced by the public using your data and it also used in the website statistics. Amending the title of a dataset will mean the URL is incorrect and will break these linkages. When a dataset is refreshed eg with a new year of data, the title quickly becomes out of date.
  • Avoid using acronyms or ambiguous terms in your dataset title. The title should be understood by members of the public. Describe any terms or words specific to your field in the description.

  • Files can be zipped but you should include a list to let people know what is inside the zipped file.

  • Shapefiles are made up of at least 3 files (shp, shx, dbf) and can be zipped. The format selected should be shp. KML files can also be zipped (KMZ) and should be entered with the format kml


There are two different reports you can view about data on CanWIN - Site Usage Statistics and Broken Links

Site Usage Statistics

Site usage statistics can be found at

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Broken Links

Users or publishers can check to see if any of their data links have become broken. An auto generated report for broken links can be found at

The report can be downloaded as a csv or json file.