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Research Data is often unique and irreplaceable. Typically, it has value extending many years beyond the termination of the project from which it was generated.
Researchers must ensure that all research data, regardless of format, is stored securely and backed up or copied regularly.
Storage and backup arrangements need to cover the life of the research project, and also the statutory minimum period of retention.
In most cases, data will need to be kept for a minimum of 5 years after publication of the research results, so understanding your storage options and documenting your backup regime is an important part of data management planning.
By following the guidelines listed below you can make sound decisions regarding storage of your research data.
DATA STORAGE TYPES
These are managed by IT staff centrally or within your School or College. It is highly recommended that you store your research data on regularly backed-up networked drives such as:
This will ensure that your data will be:
Personal computers and laptops
Storing files on individual desktop or laptop PCs is not recommended.
Local hard drives (e.g. "the C: drive") are convenient for temporary working copies of data, but should not be used to permanently store master copies of research data. From time to time, local hard drives do fail and are often not backed-up. Local machines may also be replaced, upgraded, and/or re-allocated to other people, at which time data on those machines may be lost or at risk of being inappropriately accessed.It is not recommended that you store files on individual desktop or laptop PCs.
Local drives in PCs and laptops may be lost or stolen leading to an inevitable loss of your data with minimal or no chance of recovery.
External storage devices
The low cost and portability of removable media like CDs, DVDs and flash memory devices (i.e. USB memory sticks) makes them an attractive option for storage. These are rarely a suitable option for long-term retention of your research data, especially master copies:
If you choose to use CDs, DVDs and USB flash drives (for example, for working data or extra backup copies), you should:
Remote or online back-up services
These provide users with an online system for storing and backing-up computer files e.g. OneDrive or Tulane.box.com by using your @tulane.edu account (Dropbox, Mozy, etc are not supported and may be prohibited by terms of your research) Typically, they: