data background

Research Data Management

store your dataStore Your Data

Storing and backing up your data according to good practices gives you confidence that your hard work won't be lost to a computer crash, theft, disaster, or other misfortune. Help your future self by practicing solid storage and backup strategies. Take this advice with you with this storage and security one-page handout (pdf).

Store your data according to the 3-2-1 Rule:

  • Maintain 3 copies of your data
  • Keep 2 copies locally on different kinds of media
  • Keep at least 1 copy in a different geographic location

Choose reliable storage media for your files.
Servers, computer hard drives, and external hard drives are more reliable than ephemeral media such as USB drives, SD cards, and optical discs (CDs or DVDs). Also consider who is responsible for managing the storage medium. In the case of your personal computer, you are responsible. In the case of cloud services and storage offered by KU Information Technology, professionals with training in security and hardware management are responsible. It's a good idea to include at least one professionally-managed option in your storage portfolio.

Consider the level of security that is appropriate for the data you need to store.
Data may be appropriate for public visibility, may need password protection, or may need special security because of its sensitive nature. KU's Data Classification and Handling Guide (pdf) contains helpful guidance for thinking through the security levels and storage resources your data need.

Backup strategies can help you know that any copy of your data is up-to-date and ready to use.
Abiding by the 3-2-1 rule will help you store multiple copies of your data, but it can't help you if you don't keep those copies in sync. Follow these steps to help ensure the safecty of your files:

  • Back up your files automatically, if possible, by using a backup utility on your computer or a sync function on your cloud service. Note that cloud services usually are NOT appropriate storage locations for sensitive data!
  • If you can't back up automatically, copy files manually.
  • Schedule your backups at regular intervals, using your computer's backup utility (for automatic) or your calendar (for manual). Choose a time frame that's appropriate for how often you are changing your files and how important those files are. For example, you might back up critical, frequently-changed files every day but back up infrequently-used files only once per week.
  • Periodically check and test your backup copies. Can you find, open, and use your files? A backup that isn't working doesn't help you.
  • Back up your physical materials, too, such as notes, notebooks, and sketches. KU Libraries offer public scanners in many locations across campus. You can also scan physical materials using an app on your mobile device. The OneDrive app includes a scanner and can save files directly to your KU OneDrive storage space.

Create and practice a storage and backup plan for your data.

"I will save my files on my personal computer and copy them to KU OneDrive for Business and my personal external hard drive. I will schedule OneDrive to sync my changed files automatically and will manually copy files to my external hard drive twice per week. I carry my computer with me; my external hard drive will remain at my house; OneDrive is stored on Microsoft's servers in the cloud."


KU offers the following storage plans, in addition to a list of other data repositories. Contact us if you need assistance determining which is right for you.

Service Storage Type Access Cost Space Qualification Confidential or Sensitive Data?
OneDrive for Business Working Web, File system sync None 1 TB (with limitations) All KU Yes
Research File Storage Working Mapped network drive Yes 250 GB+ KU Departments, Faculty, GTAs, GRAs Yes, by arrangement
Research Archive Storage Archival Mapped network drive, Globus Yes 1 TB minimum KU Departments, Research Centers, Faculty, Principal Investigators No
ScholarWorks Archival Web None 500 MB / file All KU No

GIS and Data Contacts

Geographic Information Systems
Rhonda Houser, Senior GIS Analyst
Watson Library

Research data
Jamene Brooks-Kieffer, Data Services Librarian
Watson Library

Digital humanities
Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities
Watson Library

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