Storing and long-term preservation

During the research project, the project members are usually responsible for maintaining the data usable and storing of them. Sharing and archiving, instead, typically occurs after the project has ended. Each researcher should be aware of the recommendations of their organisation for data storing and information security.

Privacy protection and data security are needed to protect intellectual property rights, to keep personal or sensitive information safe and to prevent external access and misuse of the data. Data security also minimises the risks of data loss and damage.

Making back-ups of files protects against data loss and is an essential element of data management. Having a strategy for reliably erasing data files is a critical component of managing data securely. For hard drives, for instance, simply deleting does not erase a file on most systems. Files need to be overwritten to ensure they are effectively scrambled. Organisational IT Services can help you with these kinds of situations.

Data storing might be challenging when transmitting data between locations or within research teams. Also, transferring large files can be problematic. In these situations, consulting the organisational IT Services is advised.

The safest option to guarantee long-term data access is to convert data to standard formats that most software are capable of interpreting. This typically means using open standard formats. Researchers should use the most suitable data formats and software according to planned analyses, but once data analysis is completed and data are prepared for storing, researchers should consider converting their research data to standard, interchangeable and longer lasting formats. Guidance for selecting suitable file formats can be found from this study material.

The preservability and reusability of the research data can be ensured by depositing the data openly accessible to a data repository or archive after the research. In addition to the data itself, descriptive and technical information on the contents of the data, i.e. metadata, is needed to secure that the research data can be found and reused.

Read the UEF instructions:

Further information:

Storing research data. Research support. UEF Library.

File formats and software. Data management guidelines. FSD.

(8/2019 AK)