Best practices in data storage and preservation entail several factors:
Read more below on how to implement these criteria below. Read more on how to submit datasets for publication in W&M ScholarWorks on our library data services page.
Data documentation, also known as metadata, helps you understand your data in detail, and also helps other researchers find, use, and properly cite your data.
You have several options for storage and processing of your data during the active phase of research:
Unencrypted security is ideal for storing your data so that you and others can easily read it, but if encryption is required because of sensitive data:
Uncompressed is also ideal for storage, but if you need to do so to conserve space limit compression to your 3rd backup copy.
To make sure your backup system is working properly, test your system periodically. Try to retrieve data files and make sure you can read them.
Need more help? The UK Data Archive provides additional guidelines on data storage, backup, and security.
As technology changes, researchers should plan for both hardware and software obsolescence and consider the longevity of their file format choices to ensure long term readability and access.
File formats more likely to be accessible in the future have the following characteristics:
Examples of preferred file format choices include:
Consider migrating your data into a format with the above characteristics, in addition to keeping a copy in the original software format. If you deposit your data in a repository, your files may be migrated to newer formats, so that they’re usable to future researchers.