Downloadable files

The ScPCA Portal download packages include gene expression data, a QC report, and associated metadata for each processed sample. These files are delivered as a zip file. When you uncompress the zip file, the root directory name of your download will include the date you accessed the data on the ScPCA Portal. We recommend you record this date in case there are future updates to the Portal that change the underlying data or if you need to cite the data in the future (see How to Cite for more information). Please see our CHANGELOG for a summary of changes that impact downloads from the Portal.

For all downloads, sample folders (indicated by the SCPCS prefix) contain the files for all libraries (SCPCL prefix) derived from that biological sample. Most samples only have one library that has been sequenced. For multiplexed sample libraries, the sample folder name will be an underscore-separated list of all samples found in the library files that the folder contains.

See the FAQ section about samples and libraries for more information.

The files associated with each library are (example shown for a library with ID SCPCL000000):

  • An unfiltered counts file: SCPCL000000_unfiltered.rds,

  • A filtered counts file: SCPCL000000_filtered.rds,

  • A processed counts file: SCPCL000000_processed.rds,

  • A quality control report: SCPCL000000_qc.html,

Every download also includes a single single_cell_metadata.tsv file containing metadata for all libraries included in the download.

The folder structure within the zip file is determined by whether individual samples or all samples associated with a project are selected for download.

Download folder structure for project downloads:

project download folder

If a project contains bulk RNA-seq data, two tab-separated value files, bulk_quant.tsv and bulk_metadata.tsv, will be included in the download. The bulk_quant.tsv file contains a gene by sample matrix (each row a gene, each column a sample) containing raw gene expression counts quantified by Salmon. The bulk_metadata.tsv file contains associated metadata for all samples with bulk RNA-seq data.

See also processing bulk RNA samples.

Download folder structure for individual sample downloads:

sample download folder

Note that if a sample selected for download contains a spatial transcriptomics library, the files included will be different than pictured above. See the description of the Spatial transcriptomics output section below.

Gene expression data

Single-cell or single-nuclei gene expression data is provided in three forms - as an unfiltered counts file, a filtered counts file, and a processed counts file.

The unfiltered counts file, SCPCL000000_unfiltered.rds, is an RDS file containing a SingleCellExperiment object. Within the SingleCellExperiment object is the counts matrix, where the rows correspond to genes or features and the columns correspond to cell barcodes. Here, all potential cell barcodes that are identified after running alevin-fry are included in the counts matrix. The object also includes summary statistics for each cell barcode and gene, as well as metadata about that particular library, such as the reference index and software versions used for mapping and quantification.

The filtered counts file, SCPCL000000_filtered.rds is also an RDS file containing a SingleCellExperiment object with the same structure as above. The cells in this file are those that remain after filtering using emptyDrops. As a result, this file only contains cell barcodes that are likely to correspond to true cells.

The processed counts file, SCPCL000000_processed.rds is an RDS file containing a SingleCellExperiment object containing both the raw and normalized counts matrices. The filtered counts file is further filtered to remove low quality cells, such as those with a low number of genes detected or high mitochondrial content. This file contains the raw and normalized counts data for cell barcodes that have passed both levels of filtering. In addition to the counts matrices, the SingleCellExperiment object stored in the file includes the results of dimensionality reduction using both principal component analysis (PCA) and UMAP.

See Single-cell gene expression file contents for more information about the contents of the SingleCellExperiment objects and the included statistics and metadata. See also Using the provided RDS files in R.

QC Report

The included QC report serves as a general overview of each library, including processing information, summary statistics and general visualizations of cell metrics.


The single_cell_metadata.tsv file is a tab-separated table with one row per library and the following columns.




Sample ID in the form SCPCS000000


Library ID in the form SCPCL000000


cell for single-cell samples or nucleus for single-nucleus samples


10x kit used to process library


Number of cells after filtering with emptyDrops


Original sample identifier from submitter


Original participant id, required when there are multiple samples from the same participant, optional for all other samples


Submitter name/id


Age at time sample was obtained


Sex of patient that the sample was obtained from


Tumor type


Subcategory of diagnosis or mutation status (if applicable)


Where in the body the tumor sample was located


At what stage of disease the sample was obtained, either diagnosis or recurrence

Additional metadata may also be included, specific to the disease type and experimental design of the project. Examples of this include treatment or outcome. Metadata pertaining to processing will also be available in this table and inside of the SingleCellExperiment object. See the Experiment metadata section for more information on metadata columns that can be found in this file as well as inside the SingleCellExperiment object.

For projects with bulk RNA-seq data, the bulk_metadata.tsv file will be included for project downloads. This file will contain fields equivalent to those found in the single_cell_metadata.tsv related to processing the sample, but will not contain patient or disease specific metadata (e.g. age, sex, diagnosis, subdiagnosis, tissue_location, or disease_timing).

Multiplexed sample libraries

For libraries where multiple biological samples were combined via cellhashing or similar technology (see the FAQ section about multiplexed samples), the organization of the downloaded files and metadata is slightly different.

For project downloads, the counts and QC files will be organized by the set of samples that comprise each library, rather than in individual sample folders. These sample set folders are named with an underscore-separated list of the sample ids for the libraries within, e.g., SCPCS999990_SCPCS999991_SCPCS999992. Bulk RNA-seq data, if present, will follow the same format as bulk RNA-seq for single-sample libraries.

multiplexed project download folder

Because we do not perform demultiplexing to separate cells from multiplexed libraries into sample-specific count matrices, sample downloads from a project with multiplexed data will include all libraries that contain the sample of interest, but these libraries will still contain cells from other samples.

For more on the specific contents of multiplexed library SingleCellExperiment objects, see the Additional SingleCellExperiment components for multiplexed libraries section.

The metadata file for multiplexed libraries (single_cell_metadata.tsv) will have the same format as for individual samples, but each row will represent a particular sample/library pair, meaning that there may be multiple rows for each scpca_library_id, one for each scpca_sample_id within that library.

Spatial transcriptomics libraries

If a sample includes a library processed using spatial transcriptomics, the spatial transcriptomics output files will be available as a separate download from the single-cell/single-nuclei gene expression data.

For all spatial transcriptomics libraries, a SCPCL000000_spatial folder will be nested inside the corresponding sample folder in the download. Inside that folder will be the following folders and files:

A full description of all files included in the download for spatial transcriptomics libraries can also be found in the spaceranger count documentation.

Every download also includes a single spatial_metadata.tsv file containing metadata for all libraries included in the download.

sample download with spatial