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Research Data Management

General information on research data management at the University of Calgary

Storing Your Data

During the active phases of a research project, you need to consider where you will store your data and how you will back it up.

UCalgary IT has a File sharing and collaboration - Storage usage guide that can help you identify the best storage options for your data. Research Computing Services offers active storage solutions that comply with the Information Security Classification Standard. If you're doing clinical research, the Clinical Research Unit in the Cumming School of Medicine can also provide active storage solutions.

Keep the 3-2-1 rule in mind for active storage and backup:

  • Have three copies of your data
  • On two different types of storage media (e.g., a hard drive, a flash drive, a cloud-based server)
  • With one of the storage media kept in a different location.

Sharing Your Data


What is data sharing? 

Data sharing typically entails depositing your data in a publicly accessible data repository. Data repositories accept data files and the accompanying metadata that allow other parties to use and understand the data. These repositories usually assign a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or other unique identifier, and ensure that your data is securely stored, can be found by search engines, and is downloadable by interested parties.  Some repositories also provide private working space that you can use to securely store your data, remotely access it, and collaborate with colleagues without making this data publicly available.

The Portage Network, now associated with the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, created several short learning modules on research data repositories, including some specifically related to the Dataverse platform used for UCalgary's PRISM Data repository.

There are other ways to share your data: e.g., by making them available on a website you manage, or by sharing them directly with other researchers only on request. However, data repositories are generally the most efficient and effective way to share your data. 

Why share data?

Sharing data is useful to both you and everyone else as well: 

  • Making data accessible allows others to verify your research
  • Available data encourages others to cite your research
  • Deposited data is a primary research object and can be cited just like a publication
  • Sharing a dataset can lead to new contacts from potential collaborators, funders, and other interested parties
  • It provides a securely-stored, authoritative copy of your data that will be easy to find in future
  • Funders are beginning to mandate data sharing, and some journals also require data-sharing as a condition of publication
  • Sharing data may increase the likelihood of your paper being cited.

When sharing is difficult

There are several factors that may inhibit sharing your data: 

  • Ethics considerations concerning human research subjects or sensitive information, such as breeding grounds of endangered species.
  • Data licensing issues where you might have integrated data that you are not licensed to distribute
  • Confidentiality agreements where collaborating scholars or organizations do not want data publicly distributed.

See the Sensitive Data Tools section of this guide for assistance with sensitive data.

Data Licensing

You can stipulate the terms and conditions for use of your data by applying a licence. One commonly used set of licences are the Creative Commons licences, which offer several options for both unrestricted reuse, and reuse under certain specific conditions. The Open Data Commons also offers data-specific licences.

For more information, see our FAQ on data licensing options.