Storing and using research data

Storing your research data securely while maintaining ongoing access can be a challenge, especially for large or sensitive datasets.

The University has many different filestores for storing your data. Sensitive or valuable research data - for instance, data of a commercial nature or containing personal information - often requires extra security measures.

Short term - you may be acquiring or transporting data on portable devices (e.g. laptop, voice recorder, USB or external hard drive) in the lab or in the field. Data should be encrypted as early as possible, and you should transfer these files to a secure, institutionally-backed up cloud-based storage platform as soon as possible, and wipe the original storage device(s).

Medium term - a stable, secure, institutional storage space such as the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF) (see below), a University OneDrive account (institutional, not personal), a legacy departmental Filestore or Sharepoint Filestore space, or a team Sharepoint site that is restricted to your research team only. These medium-term spaces are appropriate while working on and processing your raw data. You should always aim to keep research data and personal information stored separately. Any data for long-term storage should be transferred to the RDSF.

Long term - the recommended long-term storage solution is the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF), managed by the Advanced Computing Research Centre (ACRC). This is intended for research data only and is meant for long-term research data storage up to 20 years.

Data analysis

Data analysis can be carried out on the High Performance Computing facility's BlueCrystal. If you are finding that it takes several days or longer to run a job on your desktop, BlueCrystal can help you by enabling you to use many processors at once.

Contact ACRC directly to find out how you can make use of BlueCrystal and the Research Data Storage Facility.

Data-intensive research

The Research Data Service works closely with the Jean Golding Institute to support research in applied data science and data-intensive research. If you need help to make better use of data through interrogation, modelling and application techniques, or have data science queries on statistics, computing or visualisation, contact the Ask JGI service at

Research databases

The University offers a database service for staff and PGRs. Databases can be provided for individual research projects. There are currently no size limits, however if the dataset is very large or is expected to become very large (over 50Gb), the database team should be notified of this in advance.

A PGR database requires the student involved to take responsibility for data within the database. At the close of a project, management of the database should either passed to an academic supervisor or, if no longer required, a database can be retired. When a database is retired the database team take a final backup – a copy of this can be provided if required.

If a research project is to become a service (i.e. have numerous users who rely upon it) the database owner is required to discuss this with their Faculty IT Support Team Leader.

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