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Preserving research data helps to keep it accessible and usable into the future, despite changes in technology and possible hardware failures. Preservation planning should be a key element of your research project.
Well-managed data ensures your research findings can be replicated, and your conclusions backed up with evidence. Long term, preserving research data saves time and money by preventing duplication of research, and improves the quality of future research by providing new opportunities for existing data.
Preservation of research data should include not just the datasets themselves, but any related files giving the datasets context; for example, email discussions, methods of analysis, research parameters.
Data preservation is critically important as the cost of acquiring, processing and analysing data in the first place can be very high. There are also various institutional and funding body requirements that may require data be preserved for certain periods:
It is strongly recommended that, wherever possible, research data be stored in the University’s data store or network storage, ensuring it is backed up regularly and readily available to team members when required. It will also ensure long-term access by providing persistent identifiers.
Sometimes personal hard drives or external storage devices such as DVDs or USBs suit are more convenient than network storage. If you do choose to rely on non-network devices, always ensure you store the master copy of your data on the network, as it is all too easy to lose portable devices, or the data corrupted.
You should prepare for data preservation from the start of your project. The earlier you start planning, the easier it will be to ensure your data remains durable and accessible into the future.
Here are some things to consider:
At any stage of your project, you can deposit your data in a data repository such as Deakin University’s data store, Deakin Research Online (DRO) or a subject-specific data centre or archive. This can be a requirement of the funder or publisher of your research. Some examples of subject-specific archives include:
Deakin University CRICOS Provider Code: 00113B