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During Your Project: Storing and Backing Up Data

Where you store your data will depend on the nature of your data.  You should check the storage options to make sure it is appropriate for the type of data you will collect.  USU's Information Technology Office provides a  University Data Storage Matrix that includes the storage options available and the types of data each are authorized to house.

Wherever your data is stored, you need a plan for backing it up.  Document this plan and describe it in your data management plan.

The 3-2-1 Rule is a simple way to remember how to care for your important files:
Three Copies of your files on
Two Different Storage Types with
One Copy Off Site.

This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
Save your data to your desktop, to an external hard drive, and to Box.  Save your data to your desktop, a departmental sever and to Box.  For a short video explaining the 3-2-1 rule in more detail, see the University of Wisconsin Data Services Video.

If you are using USU's Box cloud storage as an option, you may wish to describe the features to your funders. Here is an example you can use or modify: is a cloud storage system used by Utah State University. Files are backed up nightly at multiple sites. ensures data integrity, includes version control, and is password controlled, encrypted and HIPAA compliant.

After Your Project: Archiving Your Research Data

Funder Compliance

If your research was funded by an agency with a data sharing requirement, archiving your data on a personal or lab computer at the end of your project is not compliant.  This applies to any federal agency with over $100M in R&D.

When determining where to archive your data long term, consider how it will be preserved and backed up, how it will be described (metadata), and it it will be discovered.  

Depositing your data in a recognized repository related to your discipline, or to USU's Digital Commons, where your data will be backed up and is discoverable, is recommended.

Useful Links:

Scientific Data's list of Recommended Repositories
DataONE Best Practice: Identify Suitable Repositories for your Data
re3data: Registry of data repositories
NIH Data Sharing Repositories 
Journal of Open Psychology list of Recommended Repositories

Data Archiving in DigitalCommons@USU

You may archive your data in the DigitalCommons@USU repository at no charge to you. The Library provides storage space for these files as part of the DigitalCommons@USU repository.

DigitalCommons@USU in Your Data Management Plan
Here is a description of the repository that you can use or modify for your data management plan.
Utah State University, through the Merrill-Cazier Library, provides institutional repository services through the bepress Digital Commons platform. DigitalCommons@USU supports all file types and formats. File are provided with persistent URLs, and if needed, Library staff can obtain DOIs for datasets. The system is able to produce license and copyright statement as needed, and creates standard citations. All files are backed up at multiple sites, including cloud storage. Preservation copies are stored in Amazon Web Services, with redundant storage across multiple facilities and are regularly verified for integrity of data using checksums.

Requirements for Depositing Data into DigitalCommons@USU

In order to facilitate discovery and longevity of your data, we require some information from you and ask you to verify that your data does not contain sensitive or personally identifiable information. Some things we consider are listed to below.

  • Are your data described and documented? You must include a README file. A template is available if you need one.
  • Are you using a standard file format?
  • Do you have any sensitive, personally identifiable information (PII), HIPAA, etc. information that needs to be removed before making data public?
  • Do you understand and agree to the Deposit Agreement?

We will discuss other aspects of your data with you, including obtaining a DOI if needed, using Bagit zipped format to preserve important directory structure, applying a license to your data, and will address any questions or concerns you may have.

Need Help?

Contact us if you have questions or need help.

Email Research Data