Data Purchase Policy

Data purchase refers to the University Library purchasing of quantitative or qualitative datasets for research or teaching purposes on behalf of the requester. Datasets may not be used for commercial purposes or by individuals unaffiliated with WMU. Datasets purchased by the Library are the property of Western Michigan University, with the University Library acting as the primary license holder.

Requester qualifications

You may request a dataset purchase by the University Libraries if you are:

  • A WMU faculty or staff member
  • A WMU student, with approval from a faculty or staff member

Dataset qualifications

Requesters are more likely to receive purchase approval if:

  • More than one requester is involved in the request
  • Interested requesters come from a variety of departments or disciplines
  • Requester can demonstrate dataset importance to teaching, learning and research
  • Requester can demonstrate broader interest across campus
  • Data can be purchased instead of licensed, or a license allows for campus-wide use 
  • Dataset acquisition costs less than $5,000

Requests exceeding $5,000 may be brought to the University Library’s attention, but may only be partially subsidized by the Library, requiring buy-in from the requester’s department or submission to an internal grant.

For licensed datasets, access will only be guaranteed for the first year. If requesters would like to extend the license for another year, they need to resubmit an application justifying the continued purchase. 


By submitting a dataset purchase request, the requester agrees to present their research output from the dataset in the form of an on-campus brownbag or lightning talk. 


Acquired datasets are hosted by the University Library, accessible from A-Z Databases, with added metadata provided through a linked LibGuide, if necessary. Access can be requested by all WMU affiliates with an active Bronco ID after agreeing to the terms of use.

Access specifications may vary based on license agreement, with stipulations such as how many users can access the dataset at once and how long the dataset will be available for use by the WMU community. Datasets not hosted by third parties will also be deposited into a dark archive Lux for preservation, and file formats will be updated to maintain access for as long as the license agreement is active.

If the license agreement limits simultaneous user access, requester may apply for up to 3 months of priority access when dataset is first available. At the end of this timeframe, the dataset will be opened up to the rest of the WMU community.


Submitting a purchase request does not guarantee dataset purchase. In the event of initial approval, dataset acquisition procedures may take between a few weeks to a few months to be finalized. Approved requests may still not be realized if licensing negotiations fail.

Request a dataset purchase

Effective date of current versionFebruary 12, 2020
Date first adoptedFebruary 12, 2020
Revision historyFebruary 12, 2020 - created