Research data should be stored securely in durable formats and backed up regularly from the commencement of a research project. Storage arrangements need to comply with the QUT statutory retention period (Section 7 of the Guidelines for the Management of Research Data (PDF, 271KB)). Things to consider when selecting where to store digital research data include:
- How long does the data need to be stored?
- Is security an issue?
- Could the hardware, software and media fail or become obsolete within the timeframe?
- Would the impact of such a failure be disastrous?
- Is support for the hardware, software or media available?
You may choose to store data on removable media, hard drives, and networked drives and store non-digital data. Refer to Digital Data Storage Options for QUT Researchers (PDF, 109KB) for additional information.
Common storage devices
Removable media Top
USB drives, memory cards, CDs and DVDs are convenient and affordable. Their smaller, portable size means they are at greater risk of being lost or damaged; removable media are not very robust; the data can be damaged by magnetic fields, water and high temperatures. For large quantities of data, you may need to use multiple disks or USB drives making it difficult to retrieve specific files (especially if the documentation is poor). If portable media are used for transporting copies of data, use only high-quality products and ensure that any confidential data is encrypted or password protected. USB drives are not considered suitable for working copies of data.
Hard drives Top
Storing master copies of research data files on the main drive of individual desktop or laptop personal computers is a convenient option for working copies of data. However, protect data by backing it up regularly to networked storage.
Networked storage Top
QUT's Research Data Storage Service provides all QUT researchers (staff and Higher Degree Research students) with a secure data repository. To discuss or request Research Data Storage needs, submit an IT request online and an analyst will call you to further discuss your needs. You may require Research Data Storage because it:
- helps achieve compliance with research grant conditions
- maximises overall value from entire research lifecycle
- unlimited storage capacity for research data
- easy on-campus and off-campus access to your data
- controlled access to your data.
A number of options exist to help QUT researchers store research data:
- Networked drives: provides different data storage drive locations:
- The H drive provides 10GB of personal storage to QUT Higher Degree Research students and staff for personal use. Access to the H drive is restricted to your account only. This is not considered a good place for your research data.
- The U drive is restricted to your peers and colleagues within your organisational unit and is handy if you wish to share data within your faculty. There are different areas with U:, some are suitable for faculty work, others more suitable to research.
Network drives may be accessible to a large number of people or can be configured for use by a single user or group of users (contact the IT Helpdesk for more information). Decisions about storage for highly confidential or highly sensitive research data should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with faculty IT support staff. The storage method and location may also need to be approved by a research ethics committee.
High Performance Computing & Research Support (HPC) provides QUT staff and Higher Degree Research students with specialised advanced computing facilities, storage and support, including HPC File Store. Request an HPC account or contact the HPC team.
- Cloud Storage:
- QRIScloud: is a merit-based cloud computing and data storage service hosted by the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF).
- CloudStor is an AARNet web service that allows you to store and share files in the cloud. It gives individual researchers at AARNet-connected institutions (e.g. QUT) up to 100GB of storage free of charge.
- QUT Media Warehouse is a rich media repository that houses re-usable multimedia.Types of media to house in Media Warehouse include:
- Images may be original creative digital works or digital photographs of physical creative works, or digital photographs of places, people and events.
- Videos may be original creative works, such as movies or animations, or video recordings of places, people, events or performances.
- Sound may be original creative digital sound works or recordings of performed works or sound recordings of places, people or events.
At the conclusion of your research you should consider the possibility of storing your data in a data repository (if it can be made publicly available), so it can be shared.
Use repositories for datasets accompanying manuscripts, where you can make the data underlying scholarly publications discoverable, accessible, understandable, freely reusable, and citable for all. Multidisciplinary repositories include QUT Research Data Finder, FigShare and Dryad. Find other repositories at the Registry for Research Data Repositories.
Why share data?
Publishing your data and citing its location in published works can allow others to replicate, validate and ensure accuracy of results. Sharing data improves scientific record and increases scientific integrity. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research advises that researchers should share their data wherever possible. Sharing data has many benefits to researchers including:
- promotes the research and the researchers, who created the data
- publically available data is associated with an increase in citation count by 69% (see Sharing detailed research data is associated with increased citation rate)
- increased collaboration and networking opportunities between researchers
- greater opportunities for grant funding as grant funding bodies encourage data sharing.
Australian National Data Service (ANDS) provides further reasons to share data in Sharing Data Ethically (PDF, 746KB).
Consider making the metadata about your data available to the public (e.g. via QUT's data registry, QUT Research Data Finder). The metadata should include a description of the data, conditions of access, your contact details, and the location of the data.
In QUT Research Data Finder, you can list the following information about your dataset:
- your data collection (e.g. a description of the data, conditions of access, and the location of the data)
- the activity (e.g. details about the research activity/project that produced the data)
- the service (e.g. details of software or specialised instruments used to collect your research data)
- parties (e.g. information about you - research interests, contact details, collaborating partners).
Non digital research data Top
Data in non-digital formats (e.g. biological samples, analogue recordings) should be stored in secure facilities located in the school, faculty, and institute or off-campus research facility. Refer to the Records Management section of the QUT Governance Services web page for more information about dealing with non-digital research records.
Activity - data protection Top
Go to the Data Management Planning Tool and complete Sections 4 and 6 relating to data protection, sharing and reuse.
Stage 2 proposal and your data management plan
'As a researcher you need to be confident about the data you are collecting, ensuring that you store it in a way that complies with the requirements of your project, confidentiality considerations and potential access requirements' (QUT Research Student Centre). As part of your Stage 2 Proposal you are required to indicate one of the actions listed below:
For more information on your Stage 2 requirements refer to the Research information on the QUT Students site.