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Research Data Management: Storage and Archiving


Storing your Active Data

There are servers located on campus which allow you to use the space to store your data, these servers are reliable and safe and are regularly backed up minimising data loss. You are able to access this storage on campus machines and laptops and also remotely through the appropriate systems. There is a moderate amount of space for storage; however it is encouraged that you backup your data more ways than one.

Box Cloud Storage

Box is an online collaborative cloud storage device which is the recommended solution for managing and storing your data during the research process. All Aston staff can access box at using their usual university login credentials.  Box allows you to securely share, collaborate and store your research data from any device with internet access including tablets and smartphones.


Key benefits of using Box

  • Unlimited storage space
  • Version control allows you to download any previous version of a document or access an earlier saved version
  • Share large files of up to 5GB in file size
  • Share documents/data with anyone, even those without a Box account via an account generated link
  • Ease of collaboration – lock a document for editing, add comments to documents/data
  • High security through password protected documents
  • Box Sync allows you to access your files from your desktop – even if offline. Once you are back online, your files will sync to Box automatically
  • Granular permissions – choose from seven different types of access permissions

For further information, please contact IT services


Laptops and personal computers

Personal computers and laptops may be used for storage and backup but only on a temporary basis. Master copies should always be stored in a more secure environment. Preferably the H:/ drive could be used as well as requesting storage space from the servers on campus.

Please see the downloadable PDF Box user guide below to get started

External Repositories

Repositories or data centres are a platform that will provide access to the data. The research discipline determines where the data can be deposited; this could be in only one repository or multiple.

A data repository is a chosen allocation where your data can be kept and securely stored. It may be comprised of various databases where certain data has been selected to be stored most often it is the raw data. Metadata is created in relation to the research data and datasets to provide a description for the available raw data.

Benefits of digital repositories:

  • Increases the accessibility of your data and raises the impact of your research
  • Preserves your data by ensuring it is secure and readable
  • Raises your research profile through open access
  • Required by your funding body

It is recommended that you store your research data once complete in Aston Data Explorer. You can however store your data in any other repository as long as the repository in question is open access, can provide persistent identifiers in DOI's and can store the data for a minimum of 10 years. Examples of external repositories include Figshare, Mendeley DataDryadZenodo and the UK Data Archive. A comprehensive list can be found at To increase the impact of your research and for ease of measuring compliance, it is strongly recommended that you either create a metadata record on Aston Data Explorer or you e-mail if you store your data in an external repository.


Access and Security

Having controlled access to research data is a very important subject due to notion surrounding commercial sensitivity and protection by IP agreements. This should be considered in good time prior to intended publications. Certain data such as information regarding individuals should be validated against the Data Protection Act.

To ensure your data is secure, you should consider the following issues:

  • The level of discretion required
  • Legal requirements
  • The impact of unauthorised access
  • Storage off campus
  • Backup and version control
  • Access to the data both internal and external of the university
  • Encryption policy

Risks can be minimised regarding the identification of research data containing personal information through the process of anonymising the data. This can be done through the correct frameworks of data and access control. It should be made apparent at the time of data collection if any data requires anonymisation. A copy of the original data should be kept alongside the anonymised data but should only be accessed by the research team and other authorised bodies. A log should be maintained of all replacements, aggregations or removals, and the log should be stored separately from the anonymised data files.

Personal Data

Personal data is data that relates to a living individual and where this individual can be identified from the data. The data controller may be in possession or likely to come into possession of personal data or any additional information regarding the individual, they may have a certain expression or opinion about the individual which is also addressed as personal data and this also includes any other person in relation to the individual (Data Protection Act 1988).

Confidential data

Confidential data is data that has been given with the rights to remain private. E.g. this could be an agreement formed between two parties stating the data provided should be secret and be publicly accessed or known. Confidential data could be data regarding business information, income, etc.

Sensitive personal data

In the Data Protection Act sensitive personal data means personal data consisting of information as to, the racial or ethnic origin of the data individual, political opinions, religious beliefs, physical or mental health or condition, sexual life, the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings (Data Protection Act 1988).

Copyright and Intellectual Property (IP)

Copyright is an intellectual property right assigned automatically to the creator that prevents unauthorised copying and publishing of an original work. Copyright applies to research data and plays a role when creating, sharing and re-using data UK Data Archive.

Archiving your Research Data

How to archive your data

Many funder policies and Aston's institutional research data policy require that data is archived for a minimum of 10 years from last access..

At Aston, all data from Aston Data Explorer is archived in Arkivum. Data is stored, managed and maintained in Tier-3 data centres based in the UK. Arkivum has a ISO 27001 data security certification, ensuring that your data is secure.

For further information on how you can archive your data using Arkivum, contact