What to consider
There are a number of options for storing data, and it will depend on the type of research and data you are creating. You might want to consider:
- The size and format of your data
- If you will need ongoing access for modification, analysis, compilation
- The potential sensitivity or identifiability of your data- does it contain identifiable information about people, is it medical data, is it politically sensitive, does it contain information that could have adverse impacts if made more widely available?
- If you are working with researchers outside La Trobe University
- Does your data need to be stored in Australia? Many grants and funding requirements ask for this.
- If you will need access to data offsite (e.g. working from home or outside La Trobe)
- You might also want to look at the backup options offered by whatever storage solution you choose.
Recommended storage space for research data
La Trobe University research drives (P: or R: drive)
The recommended location for storing electronic research data are the La Trobe University research drives (P: or R: Drive), both during your research and post-project. The benefits of using networked drives are that they are hosted on-site, highly secure, and automatically backed up daily. They can be accessed remotely via the VPN application. You can request access to these drives via ASK ICT.
Online Research Notebook
Online Research Notebook (LabArchives) is also a suitable place to store research data (including sensitive data).
To request storage space for your research data:
- Go to La Trobe University's Ask ICT page (Ask Services portal)
- Go to Get Help > Research Support > Research Data Storage Space
- Submit the form and somebody from ICT will advise you on the best storage space options available. The type of storage space allocated to you will depend on your specific requirements and the nature of your project.
Note: Only La Trobe University staff members can request storage space. If you are a graduate researcher, your supervisor can request storage space for you. They then become the owner and manager of this space and can share it with you.
You can contact ICT (ext 1500) to discuss your requirements prior to submitting your request.
Sharing data with external collaborators
It is recommended that you use the CloudStor FileSender tool to share your data with those who can't access La Trobe University's internal systems such as the University research drives (P: or D: drive). CloudStor FileSender is highly secure and allows for client-side file encryption option and a set expiry date. It can be sent to anyone worldwide with an email address.
Other data storage options
The following storage spaces may be appropriate for your research data under certain conditions:
AARNet Pty Limited "does not represent or warrant and to the extent permitted by law, expressly excludes any implied representations or warranties, that the Service is suitable for the storage of sensitive or confidential data, including but not limited to, medical research data, medical or Health Information, Sensitive Information or information related to security or defence purposes. Any storage of such material or data is entirely at your risk."CloudStor is therefore only appropriate for non-sensitive data.
For more information about the various data storage options (including technical specifications), see also the La Trobe University Office of Research Infrastructure Data Storage page.
Not appropriate for research data storage
- they generally have no assurance of meeting legal and privacy obligations;
- there is no recourse if data breaches occur;
- data will be lost if accounts are deleted or suspended;
- they are often not hosted in Australia.
You may, however, encounter situations where it is not possible to store your research data directly onto your a La Trobe University network drive. For example, you may be doing fieldwork in a location where there is no internet connection. In such situations the following recommendations should be followed:
- Store your data on the hard disk drive of your laptop.
- Also store copies of your data on external media. Store one copy on an external hard-disk drive and another on a memory stick. Copying to different external media decreases the risk of losing data due to data corruption.
- If you are able, keep the different copies of your data in separate locations. This way, if your laptop is stolen (for example) you will not lose your backups along with it.
- Use high quality storage.
- Transfer your data to your La Trobe University network drive at the earliest opportunity.