Universiteit Leiden

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During your research

Good organisation of your research data is time investment that will surely pay itself back, when you finish your research and find your data easily and fully intact, without any difficulty to understand, archive and share with your colleagues and journal editors.

Data storage

Most data will be stored on the University network, or J-drive. The ISSC will take care to make a back-up every night.

There may also be exceptions, for instance in the case of data from field work, patient data from hospitals, or data that are generated by a piece of instrument. For those data a suitable plan must be devised: how often should the data be transferred to the network, which data can be placed on the network, and which data are not suitable for network storage; when should you make a back-up yourself?

A virtual research environment may be a good solution for groups of researchers working together from different locations outside the University network.

Filenaming, structure and version control

With logical and unambiguous file naming you ensure that your data will be intelligible by your colleagues, or after a period of time even by yourself. Do take care to follow standard procedures and workflows in your specific field of research. This does not only apply to file names: the structure of your folders, fields in your spreadsheets also deserve solid naming.

By using version control you will be able to tell the data from different stages in your research apart and prevent unnecessary doubling or overwriting of data.

Metadata and documentation

Metadata and documentation make your data findable and intelligible for other people. The methods applied vary per subject area: this may be a database, an xml file according to international standards, or even a readme.txt. It is important to make use of the expertise in your field and to stick to standard working procedures.

Access to data

Access restrictions may be applied to some data: there may be privacy issues concerning  the information that is stored, or limitations due to commercial interests, or pending patents. You will need to take these restrictions into account, when you choose your place for storage  and when you do or do not give other people access to your data. Anonymisation and/or encryption may be helpful and sometimes even necessary.

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