We offer advising on questions about archival or data publication.
How can I archive my research data?
Good Scientific Practice requires saving research data for at least ten years. Storing files on a USB stick in a drawer, for example, is not an appropriate solution!
If there are no suitable services in your discipline, e.g. discipline-specific repositories, or any institutional solutions, you can use the ITC archival service. it is important that archival always includes documentation of the data along with all of the information necessary (metadata) for understanding the data.
What does long term archival mean?
Long term archival includes all measures that ensure that data is stored for a period longer than ten years. Aside from maintaining the data conent at the bit level, one should also consider the requirements for future interpretation:
- Is the data format suitable for long term archival?
- Is special software needed to interpret the data?
- Is the metadata complete?
Technical and descriptive metadata is increasing in importance, in order to make it possible to use the data in a future technical infrastructure that is currently unknown. Metadata makes it possible to understand the selection of the object of investigation; the investigation, measurement, and survey methods; their application; and the results fo the investigation. Comprehensive data management is needed to avoid a high amount of effort when putting together this information at the end of the project.
If you want to make your data accessible to all researchers outside of your discipline, data publication is necessary.
Additional detailed information can be found in the NESTOR publication Long Term Archival of Research Data.