Store and access

Whether you are collecting new data or accessing existing data, you need to consider:

  • where data will be stored
  • who will have access to the data
  • how they will be able to access the data

However simple or complex the dataset, it is important to think about managing the data with respect to any legal, ethical or contractual terms relating to data storage and access, in particular, protecting the confidentiality and anonymity of research participants.

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There are a number of storage and collaboration options available for all University research staff:

  • Staff can save work on the F drive or V drive
  • Request storage space on the V: drive through the IT Service Desk
  • Request a SharePoint site through the IT Service Desk, to facilitate collaboration and store project documentation
  • PGRs have an Office 365 account which facilitates collaboration, enables file access across multiple devices, and includes 1 Terabyte of storage through OneDrive.

IT Services have allocated a total of 10 Terabytes of University managed storage to research projects not funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Before requesting some of this storage Principal Investigators (or their delegates) should complete a Data Management Plan and contact the Research Data Management Team – email or telephone 0161 29 56707.

In addition, the University supports off campus working through the Salford Portal which provides access to shared network drives, staff email and SharePoint. It is also possible to set up Exchange on mobile devices for syncing University email, calendar and contacts. Refer to specific user guides for more information.

N.B. For research involving ‘illegal’ data (e.g. terrorist information) please contact the Information Governance team for details of where this should be stored. A record of the permission to store this data will be required.

Email: ITSERT@salford.ac.uk

Tel: 0161 295 5910

Estimating data storage

There are a number of factors that determine how much storage you will require for your research project. Different applications will generate very different files types and sizes. You should use the following guidance on typical file sizes for common file types if you need help estimating your storage requirements. Note this is only a guide and file sizes can vary significantly.

Common file types and sizes

  • MS Word 300 KB
  • MS Excel 700 KB
  • Webpage 1.6 MB
  • MS PowerPoint 2 MB
  • Digital photo 3 MB
  • MP3 audio 5 MB
  • CD 650 MB
  • DVD 4.38 GB
  • Blu-ray 25 GB

1 GB can store 250 - 1100 photos from an 8 and 2 mega-pixel camera respectively, 5 - 25 minutes of video at 1080, 1073741824 characters in a text file which is approximately 900000 pages, 40 million lines of code, or 130000 pages in word (based on 200 words per page). This is also equivalent to 15 FITS images (approx. 65MB each).

Some file sizes explained:

  • 1 Megabyte (MB) is 1,024 Kilobytes
  • 1 Gigabyte (GB) is 1,024 Megabytes
  • 1 Terabyte (TB) is 1,024 Gigabytes

The following Research Data Management Systems are available to researchers who are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to enable compliance with the EPSRC expectations:

Responsive image SharePoint 2013 – a co-authoring collaboration platform creating the central hub for all Research Data Management Services. SharePoint 2013 is primarily used for the storage of, and collaboration on, project documentation of various file formats.
Responsive image Syncplicity – a secure cloud file share and sync service for storing and syncing active research data between users, computers and mobile devices. Syncplicity offers unlimited data storage.
Responsive image GitHub Enterprise – a service for source code management and collaboration, through desktop and mobile platforms. GitHub Enterprise offers distributed revision control and unlimited storage.
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Figshare – a data repository to manage and share research data outputs, such as figures, datasets, images, and videos. All file types are supported. Using Figshare enables research data to be discoverable, reusable and citable, through the creation of a DOI with each deposit. Support and guidance for using Figshare is available here. Long term storage is covered by Arkivum, an archiving tool which compliments Figshare by working behind the scenes to ensure long term accessibility and integrity of research data.

These services are available to researchers involved in EPSRC funded research only. If you think you should have access to these systems please contact us.

If you are not funded by the EPSRC please see the alternative data storage options which are available to you.

Keeping backups is a crucial data management task. There is a real risk of losing data through hard drive failure or accidental deletion.

Remember that if you are storing your research in the University managed network drives, your data will be centrally backed up every night – this is certainly the most straightforward option. You will still need to think about how you manage version control.

If you aren’t using network drives, backups are your responsibility, so consider the questions, document it in your Data Management Plan (DMP) and most importantly, follow your DMP.

A backup strategy should consider the following questions:

  • How will you back up your data?
  • How regularly will backups be made?
  • Will all data, or only changed data, be backed up?
  • How long will backups be stored?
  • How much space will be required to maintain this backup schedule?
  • How you can keep track of different versions of data, especially when backing-up to multiple devices?
  • If the data are sensitive, how will they be secured?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring backups are available?

Important! To ensure that your backup system is working properly, you should regularly restore your data files from your backups and check that you can read them.