Skip to main content

Store your research data

Find the storage method that best suits your project
Share
Share this page

Safe and secure storage of research data is essential in ensuring that all data is regularly backed up and data loss is prevented. Depending on the storage selected, it can also facilitate collaboration and data sharing between project team members.

You must protect your research data from accidental loss and unauthorised access. To safeguard your data, we recommend using storage systems provided or endorsed by the University, such as the Research Data Store (RDS), eNotebooks, and CloudStor. These systems are regularly backed up, have built in redundancy, and are covered by the University’s Information Security Policy. For information about safeguarding sensitive data, see Ask Sydney.

However, if you can’t store your data on University systems, then you should:

  • backup your data as you make changes to it
  • backup your data by storing at least two copies in at least two different locations
  • encrypt or password protect your storage device or individual files
  • be careful when storing sensitive research data on free, cloud-based storage solutions such as Dropbox or Google Drive, as they may not meet ethical requirements

Storage options

Research Data Store: Classic Research Data Store
  • The Research Data Store (RDS) is the main storage facility for research data at the University. The RDS has two modes of access, Classic RDS and Research Computing Optimised Storage (RCOS). Classic RDS is recommended for researchers wanting storage that isn’t integrated with Artemis High Performance Computing facilities (for storage that is optimised for use with Artemis, see the Research Data Store: Research Computing Optimised Storage below). All University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates are eligible to use Classic RDS.

    Features

    • Accessible on campus from your computer (using a network drive) or from home using a VPN
    • Unlimited storage
    • Stored on servers in Australia
    • Backed-up regularly with nightly backups kept for seven days, weekly backups kept for four weeks and monthly backups kept for twelve months
    • Storage easily shared with anyone with a UniKey, including other University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates

    Important notes

    Data that contain personal identifying information about research participants or that are commercially sensitive must be encrypted when they are being stored on the RDS as an extra layer of security.

    Access

    Access to the RDS via Classic RDS is provisioned after you have created and submitted a Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) using the online tool, and the plan has been approved. The researcher nominated as the Lead Chief Investigator on the RDMP controls access to the RDS project folder by adding and deleting contributors on the RDMP.

    More information

    Visit Ask Sydney for more information on the RDS.

Research Data Store: Research Computing Optimised Storage (RCOS)
  • The Research Data Store (RDS) is the main storage facility for research data at the University. The RDS has two modes of access, Classic RDS and Research Computing Optimised Storage (RCOS). RCOS is recommended for researchers who expect to make extensive use of Artemis High Performance Computing facilities. RCOS enables easier data transfer, data modelling, processing, and analysis between Artemis and the RDS. All University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates are eligible to use RCOS.

    Features

    • Accessible on campus and at home via command line using sftp, scp or rsync; or using FileZilla or Cyberduck
    • Unlimited storage
    • Stored on servers in Australia
    • Backed-up regularly with nightly backups kept for seven days, weekly backups kept for four weeks and monthly backups kept for twelve months
    • Storage easily shared with anyone with a UniKey, including other University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates
    • Optimised for use with Artemis High Performance Computing facilities

    Important notes

    Data that contain personal identifying information about research participants or that are commercially sensitive must be encrypted when they are being stored on the RDS as an extra layer of security

    Access

    Access to the RDS via RCOS is provisioned after you have created and submitted a Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) using the online tool, and the plan has been approved. Once requested, an ICT support officer will be in contact with the project's Lead Chief Investigator in the next 2 business days to finalise the provisioning of your storage.

    The researcher nominated as the Lead Chief Investigator on the RDMP controls access to the project folder on the RDS by adding and deleting contributors on the RDMP.

    More information

    Visit Ask Sydney for more information on RCOS.

CloudStor
  • CloudStor is a cloud storage solution (similar to Dropbox) that’s endorsed by the University. All University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates are eligible to use CloudStor.

    Features

    • Access via an app on your mobile device or via a browser
    • 100GB of storage
    • Stored on servers in Australia
    • Create links to share uploaded files
    • Sync a desktop folder with your CloudStor account

    Important notes

    Data being stored on CloudStor aren’t backed up, so you must back up data using the Research Data Store or another storage device.

    Data that contain personal identifying information about research participants should not be stored on CloudStor unless encrypted.

    Access

    Login to CloudStor using your UniKey and password here.

    More information

    More information can be found on the CloudStor website.

eNotebooks

  • eNotebooks are an online collaborative environment that are strongly recommended for use by students and researchers from all faculties at the University. The University eNotebook is provided by LabArchives. All University of Sydney researchers, HDR students and affiliates are able to create and share an eNotebook.

    Features

    • Access online via a browser
    • Stored on servers in Australia
    • Securely backed-up in primary and backup data centres
    • Easily share your eNotebook, or a section of your eNotebook, with anyone, including external collaborators
    • Full revision history for entries

    Important notes

    Data that contain personal identifying information about research participants should not be stored on an eNotebook.

    Data that must be deleted after a certain period of time should not be stored on an eNotebook.

    Access

    Log in to your eNotebook using your UniKey and password here.

    More information

    More information can be found on the eNotebook pages.

Non-University supported storage
  • Researchers should use storage provided by the University. In the case of non-University supported platforms being used, ensure that the platform satisfies the criteria provided in the Research Data Management Policy 2014.

    Storage should:

    1. comply with all applicable legislation, University policies, codes, and ethical, contractual and confidentiality requirements;
    2. maintain the security and integrity of the data;
    3. protect the personal information of research participants, in accordance with participant consent; and
    4. provide notification of any breaches of security.

    Key things to check include:

    • that sensitive data are being stored securely, e.g. that the data are being stored on a secure server that has strong security measures such as encryption;
    • that data are being stored on servers in Australia. In certain cases where data should not be stored or transferred interstate, servers should be restricted to NSW locations only (dependent on requirements from the data custodian of third party datasets);
    • that participant personal information is protected and not kept or used by the service provider in any way;
    • whether the provider of the tool will notify you if security is breached;
    • that data can and will be destroyed at the request of the creator, e.g. at the end of the retention period;
    • who has ownership of data that are entered into/stored on the tool; and
    • whether any ethical agreements made with participants may be breached by using the tool.
Personal storage devices
  • It’s not recommended that researchers store master copies of data on personal computers, or removable devices such as USBs, external hard drives or CDs. These items are easily lost or damaged. If you do choose to use personal storage devices, please see tips for safeguarding data at the top of this page.