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Research data management

Store data securely

The best thing you can do for yourself is to plan for the storage and safe keeping of your data including making copies and regularly backing up your data. This will prevent accidental loss and unauthorised manipulation of your data and will save you time, money, and many headaches.

Data storage

To ensure the safety, integrity and accessibility of your data, you will need to take into consideration your data needs:

  • Data format: Is your data in a physical or digital format? Does it require special equipment to access or may become obsolete in a couple years?
  • Time scale: How will you store the data during your research project? How will the data be archived for future use and usability?
  • Size: How much storage space will you need?
  • Access and security: Will other researchers need access to your data during the project? How will data be transferred between collaborators securely? Due to confidentiality or sensitivity, is access to the data restricted to authorised persons? Are there legal issues, such as IP rights, that determine where you store your data during and after the project?
  • Funder requirements: Are there any requirements on the location or type of data storage for finished data?

For more information, visit the UK Data Service website on Data Storage


Copies, versioning and backup

Apart from storing your data, it is vital to make copies as well as keeping a record of versions. Regularly and frequently backing up your work is useful too. This will safeguard against data loss, theft, or damage.


Tips for best practice
  • Use at least two types of storage media and keep these in different locations
  • Make at least three copies
  • Regularly make backups so the data are up-to-date
  • Replace storage media after 2-5 years. Migrate to new formats when appropriate
  • Check the data integrity regularly

There are a variety of storage options supporting active research data storage. It is important to be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages across different solutions as well their various capabilities.

  • Local Hard Drive: The local University hard drive (H:Drive) is your personal storage space. It is secure and regularly backed up by the University. However, there is a maximum 10GB of storage space. Files are not easily shared internally or externally.

  • Central University storage: The University's central storage (R:Drive), while secure and regularly backed up by the University, it should not be used for data because of limited space. Internal file sharing is possible, while external is not.
  • University cloud storage: OneDrive is the University's cloud storage hosting system. This is a secure solution and appropriate for storing sensitive data. There is 1TB of space with a 15GB limit for each file. Sharing files internally and externally is possible.
  • Portable storage devices: External devices such as USB sticks and laptops are low-cost but are not resilient and easily lost or damaged. If they are used as a copy, they should employ strong password protection and encryption, but they are not recommended to transfer data and must not be used for storing sensitive or personal data. 
  • Online storage options: Not recommended as not all cloud services are secure nor have sufficient control or backup. These services should never be used for personal, confidential, or sensitive data as they may be located overseas or claim rights over your content.


End-of-Project solutions

For storing data at the end of a project, you will need to check your funder requirements. See also the page on depositing data.


If you have questions, Information Systems and Digital Services can provide more information on live research data storage solutions at Manchester Metropolitan University.

All data is valuable, but it is important that you are aware of specific security issues surrounding your data so that it is protected from unauthorised access.  Measures you can take include:

  • Password protection
  • Encryption
  • Firewall and virus protection
  • Not using unlicensed Cloud storage for sensitive data
  • Secure file sharing methods
  • Care when accessing data remotely or on public computers
  • Appropriate data disposal

If you have any questions, Information Systems and Digital Services have support for information security at Manchester Metropolitan University.

You can also find more information about how to handle these issues at the UK Data Service webpages on Data Security


Personal Data

Personal data is especially sensitive and its safeguarding is dictated by legislation. Manchester Metropolitan University is responsible for complying with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) whenever personal data is processed. The University has a Data Protection Policy setting out our compliance statement.

If you have queries about sensitive data at Manchester Metropolitan University and would like more support contact Information Systems and Digital Services

You can also visit their webpages on Information Security

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