Safe storage of research data

Safe and secure storage of research data is essential in ensuring that all data is regularly backed up and data loss is prevented. Depending on the storage selected, it can also facilitate collaboration and data sharing between project team members. This page contains information on:

Safeguarding data

You must protect your research data from accidental loss and unauthorised access. To safeguard your data, we recommend using storage systems provided or endorsed by the University, such as the Research Data Store (RDS), eNotebooks, and CloudStor. These systems are regularly backed up, have built in redundancy, and are covered by the University’s Information Security Policy.

However, if you can’t store your data on University systems, then you should:

  • backup your data as you make changes to it
  • backup your data by storing at least two copies in at least two different locations
  • encrypt or password protect your storage device or individual files
  • be careful when storing sensitive research data on free, cloud-based storage solutions such as DropBox or GoogleDocs, as they may not meet ethical requirements.

Storing research data

The University provides facilities for safe and secure storage of research data. Selecting which storage is appropriate can depend on various factors, including if the project involves internal or external collaboration, if data contains confidential information, and the volume of data. Use the grid below to work out what storage will work best for your project. If you’re unsure what storage best fits your research data, contact the .

Research Data Store

The Research Data Store (RDS) is the recommended research data storage facility for the University. All University of Sydney researchers and affiliates are eligible to use the RDS, making it a useful collaborative storage environment for research projects. Access to the RDS is provisioned after you complete and submit a Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) online. The researcher nominated as the Lead Chief Investigator on the RDMP can then control access to the project folder on the RDS by adding and deleting contributors on the RDMP. The RDS is accessible on campus from your computer (similar to using a network drive) or from home using a VPN. All data on the RDS is stored on servers in Australia and is backed-up for one year.

CloudStor

CloudStor is cloud storage (similar to DropBox) that’s endorsed by the University. All University of Sydney researchers and affiliates are eligible to use CloudStor, which can be accessed via an app on your mobile device or via a browser. In CloudStor, you can store up to 100GB of data, which is kept securely on servers in Australia. CloudStor also offers users the ability to share uploaded files with others via an active link that can be protected with a password and expiry date.

More information can be found on the CloudStor homepage.

eNotebooks

eNotebooks are recommended by the University for use by researchers and are a great collaborative tool for people in all research areas. An eNotebook is an online notebook that allows for easy collaboration with both internal and external collaborators. An eNotebook can store small data files (max. 250MB), is accessible via an app or browser, is easily integrated with Microsoft Office, and has customisable widgets to make your research and data records more effective. All eNotebooks and their data are stored on servers in Australia.

More information can be found on the eNotebook page.

Personal storage

It’s not recommended that researchers store master copies of data on personal computers, or removable devices such as USBs, external hard drives or CDs. These items are easily lost and can become damaged or unusable easily. If you do choose to use personal storage, please see tips for safeguarding data.