Making data Public in Qiita and/or send data to EBI-ENA

Qiita allows users to deposit their study, sample, experiment and sequence data to the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), which is the permanent data repository of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). Submitting to this repository will provide you with a unique identifier for your study, which is generally a requirement for publications. Your study will be housed with all other Qiita submissions and so we require adherence to the MiXs standard. Note that this also applies for studies in sandbox state that will become private or public.


direct BIOM uploads cannot become private or public

Here you will find a document outlining these requirements, with examples, when possible.

Note that submissions are time consuming and need full collaboration from the user. Do not wait until the last minute to request help. In general, the best time to request a submission is when you are writing your paper. Remember that the data can be submitted to EBI and can be kept private and simply make public when the paper is accepted. Note that EBI/ENA takes up to 15 days to change the status from private to public, so consider this when submitting data and your manuscript.


For convenience Qiita allows you to upload a QIIME mapping file to process your data. However, the QIIME mapping file, in general, does not have all the EBI/ENA fields. Thus, you will need to update your information files (sample or preparation) via the update option. To simplify this process, you can download the system generated files and add/modify these fields for each file.

EBI-ENA NULL values vocabulary

We support only the following values: not applicable, not collected, not provided, restricted access.

For the latest definitions and explanation visit the EBI/ENA Missing value reporting.


Column names in your information files cannot be named as a Postgres reserved word. For example, a column cannot be named CONDITION, but could instead be named DISEASE_CONDITION. For a full list of these reserved words, see this link.


For each preparation that needs to be uploaded to EBI-ENA we will check:

  1. Data processing
  1. Only datasets where raw sequences are available and linked to the preparation can be submitted. Studies where the starting point is a BIOM table cannot be submitted, since EBI is a sequence archive
  2. The data is processed and the owner confirms the data is correct and followed our Processing recommendations.
  1. Verify the sample information
  1. Check that the sample information file complies with the current Qiita metadata format.
  2. Minimal information:
  1. sample_name

  2. host_subject_id

  3. sample_type

  4. taxon_id - needs to match scientific_name value

  5. scientific_name - needs to match taxon_id value - this is the name of the metagenome referenced in the column taxon_id and that the two values match. Submission will not work if the user puts host_scientific_name or host_taxid instead. Do not accept EBI null values. For null values use scientific_name “metagenome” and taxon_id “256318”

  6. env_biome, env_feature, env_material, env_package, for options visit the ENVO section in

  7. elevation, latitude, longitude

  8. empo_1, empo_2, empo_3

    empo_1 empo_2 empo_3 Examples
    Free-living Non-saline Water (non-saline) fresh water from lake, pond, or river (<5 psu)
    Free-living Non-saline Sediment (non-saline) sediment from lake, pond, or river (<5 psu)
    Free-living Non-saline Soil (non-saline) soil from forest, grassland, tundra, desert, etc.
    Free-living Non-saline Surface (non-saline) biofilm from wet (<5 psu) or dry surface, wood, dust, or microbial mat
    Free-living Non-saline Subsurface (non-saline) deep or subsurface environment
    Free-living Non-saline Aerosol (non-saline) aerosolized dust or liquid
    Free-living Saline Water (saline) salt water from ocean, sea, estuary, mangrove, or coral reef (>5 psu)
    Free-living Saline Sediment (saline) sediment from ocean, sea, estuary, mangrove, or beach (>5 psu)
    Free-living Saline Hypersaline (saline) water from hypersaline sample or brine (>50 psu)
    Free-living Saline Surface (saline) biofilm from wet or underwater surface or microbial mat (>5 psu)
    Free-living Saline Aerosol (saline) seaspray or other aerosolized saline material (>5 psu)
    Host-associated Animal-associated Animal distal gut feces, stool
    Host-associated Animal-associated Animal proximal gut digesta
    Host-associated Animal-associated Animal secretion gut intestine, gizzard, crop, lumen, or mucosa
    Host-associated Animal-associated Animal surface skin, sebum, mucus, slime
    Host-associated Animal-associated Animal corpus tissue of sponge, coral, gill, siphon, carcass, etc. or whole small animal
    Host-associated Fungus-associated Fungus corpus tissue of mushroom or other fungi
    Host-associated Fungus-associated Fungus surface biofilm of mushroom
    Host-associated Plant-associated Plant secretion pollen or sap
    Host-associated Plant-associated Plant surface leaf or kelp surface biofilm
    Host-associated Plant-associated Plant rhizosphere plant root system, may include some soil
    Host-associated Plant-associated Plant corpus tissue of leaf, stem, fruit, or algae
    Control Negative Sterile water blank sterile water blank used as negative control for extraction, PCR, and sequencing
    Control Positive Mock community known mixed community used as positive control
    Control Positive Single strain known single strain control culture
    Unknown Contradictory Unknown (contradictory) unknown sample type because other metadata is contradictory
    Unknown Missing Unknown (missing) unknown sample type because metadata is unavailable
  1. Extra minimal information for host associated studies:
  1. host_body_habitat, host_body_site, host_body_product
  2. host_scientific_name
  3. host_common_name
  4. host_taxid, full list
  5. host_age, host_age_units
  6. host_height, host_height_units
  7. host_weight, host_weight_units
  8. host_body_mass_index (human only)
  1. Double-check these fields:
  1. Check the date format, should be YYYY-MM-DD (hh:mm)
  2. Check null values
  3. Check that the values in each field make sense, for example that sex is not a numerical gradient, or that ph does not contain “male” or “female” values
  1. Verify the preparation information
  1. Check that the preparation information file complies with the current Qiita metadata format
  2. Check that the correct Investigation type is selected on the prep info page
  3. Check for fill down errors in library_construction_protocol and target_subfragment; these are common.
  4. Minimal columns:
  1. sample_name
  2. barcode
  3. primer (include linker in this field)
  4. platform
  5. experiment_design_description
  6. center_name
  7. center_project_name
  8. library_construction_protocol
  9. instrument_model
  10. sequencing_method
  1. Additional minimal columns, if possible:
  1. pcr_primers
  2. run_prefix
  3. run_center
  4. run_date
  5. target_gene
  6. target_subfragment
  1. EBI null values for use when data is not present:
  1. not applicable
  2. missing:
  1. not collected
  2. not provided
  3. restricted access