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Research Data Management and Sharing

This guide addresses good practices for research data management and sharing.

Storage of Active Data

A key aspect of a data management plan is a storage strategy for active data and archival data. This is important because data is easily lost, digital files are fragile, and formats and storage media become obsolete over time. This study illuminates the importance of secure storage in managing data.

"Active" or "working" data refers to your data as you collect and access it during the course of a project. Your datasets may be expanding as you collect new data, and you may need to access data regularly for processing and analysis. An important item of data management planning is deciding where and how you will store your active data so that it is readily accessible to you but also secure. When making this decision, consider these factors:

  • Anticipated size of the dataset
  • Computational requirements: Large-scale analyses may require high-speed processors and a substantial amount of disk space.
  • Backup: Back up your data regularly and keep the LOCKSS principle (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) in mind.  There is also the 3-2-1 rule:
    • 3: Keep one original copy and create two backup copies
    • 2: Save the backup copies in two types of storage
    • 1: Store at least one backup copy in a different location
  • Security: If you are working with sensitive data such as medical data or other human subject data, ensure that the storage system you use meets security standards.

This classification matrix provides an overview of sensitive data types and appropriate storage options. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Center for Digital Scholarship.

Data Storage Options at UChicago

Below are some data storage options available to the UChicago community.  Contact IT Services or the Center for Digital Scholarship for more information.