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Closer - The home of longitudinal research

Storing data

When deciding where and how to store research data, there are a number of important things to consider. These include:

Data security

  • How secure do the data need to be?
  • Can the data be deposited without access restrictions, or will they need to only be accessed securely? 

Data backup strategies

  • Are there automatic backup strategies to protect against data loss?
  • Where could you store a backup of the raw data files to protect the files from being overwritten?
  • Encryption, access controls, and protection for sensitive data

Can sensitive data be accessed by other users?

  • What type of encryption and access controls will be applied to more secure data?
  • How will other users gain access e.g., following an application, only through a trusted research environment?

Organisation and accessibility

  • How accessible are the data to other users?
  • Is the repository easily found and accessed?
  • Are the folder structures easy to navigate and conducive to programming during data processing and analysis?


  • Can the storage method cope with a larger amount of data if more data are collected?

Compliance with ethical and legal requirements

  • Does the storage method comply with data protection regulations and other regulatory requirements?

Types of storage

There are various types of data storage that can be used for research data, each with their own strengths and limitations.

Specific legal requirements may apply for the storage of data, depending on where you and the data are based, especially where personal data are concerned—be sure to check the data protection laws that apply to your area. For example, see the Data Protection Act in the UK and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.