Research data management

Store and secure data

Throughout the life of a research project it is essential to store data securely to ensure you and partner researchers have access and can locate data as needed, and to protect the privacy and integrity of research data created and analysed. It is important to protect your research data from accidental loss and unauthorised access.

How can I secure my research data?

The expected size or volume of data to be collected, dependent often on the format, is a consideration in determining the most appropriate means of storage.

Storing research data in places such as Dropbox or Google Drive may not be secure or meet ethical requirements for sensitive data, for example, information that may compromise the physical, cultural or emotional safety of participants. See the Human Ethics Guidelines and Dealing with Sexually Explicit Material Procedure, along with other ITS Policies and Guidelines.

Long term storage of research data on personal devices such as laptops, external hard drives, CDs and USBs is not recommended because of potential for loss, damage and unauthorised access.

To secure your data throughout a research project, we recommend the use of storage systems provided or endorsed by Victoria University of Wellington, such as:

  • Home (H) Drive (PCs) or Usernames (Macs)
    – Backed up and secure network drive for individual research. Access when not on the Victoria University of Wellington network via the VPN;
  • Shared (M) Drive (PCs) or Faculty Drive (Macs)
    – Shared network drive, designed for use within a school or research centre;
  • SOLAR (Storage fOr Learning And Research) - used for large scale research data, shared project spaces and secure individual research folders and has large storage capacity (terabytes);
  • Bespoke SharePoint site (1 tb)
  • Office 365 Groups
  • OneDrive 
  • GitLab for private data/code
  • GitHub for open data/code for version control. For training in the use of Git, contact the ITS Learning and Research Technology Team

External storage option:

For publishing code and datasets:

  • GitHub – for code sharing/collaboration
  • FigShare - for sharing datasets
  • FigureNZ - for publishing open data 

If you use a third-party service, ensure that this does not conflict with any funder, institutional, departmental or group policies, for example in terms of the legal jurisdiction in which data are held or the protection of sensitive data.

Encrypt or manage passwords

For information on managing passwords see the ITS FAQ 

For highly sensitive data, consider using a Password Manager such as LastPass and end-to-end encryption tools such as GPG. Consult the ITS eResearch Specialist for training and advice.

What are procedures for backup and retention of data?

Determine backup procedures

Avoid storing research data on the local (typically C: or D:) drives of computers or devices, as these are not backed up.

For version control, consider using OneDrive for simple requirements, or Git for a more fully-featured platform

For more information see the ITS Storage FAQ.

Data disposal and retention

Network drives: By default information saved on Victoria University of Wellington network drives is duplicated and archived for the purposes of protection and recoverability. Back-ups can be turned off for highly sensitive data where multiple copies are prohibited.

 For more information see the ITS Storage FAQ.