Store & Secure

RDM Consultation: Storage Guidance for Researchers

Simplify your work and help your researchers avoid data loss by supporting them in developing an early strategy for storing their research data. To do this, researchers should consider the following questions:

  • How much storage space do I need?
  • How long should the data be stored?
  • Who needs access to the data, and how can access be ensured?
  • Are these datasets that researchers from multiple institutions should be able to work on?
  • What precautions should I take to protect my data from loss?
  • What storage solutions are suitable for personal data?

3-2-1 Backup-Rule

This rule for storing research data states that:

  • there should be at least 3 copies of the data
  • stored on at least 2 different storage media
  • in 2 different locations,
  • with 1 of them being off-site


Usually, in order to store data online, cloud services or rental servers offered by web hosts are used. Most providers of this service work with strict backup requirements. Besides, these servers are often located in well-secured data centers. The most often weaknesses of these solutions are the lack of encryption, the lack of data protection regulations of the respective country, the server access of the respective employees of the services and unprotected clients . 

In order to find a suitable service, you should contact your institution’s IT department. It could be also worthwhile to do some research on the Internet. For example,‘s website presents alternative cloud services with a focus on security.

Sustainable Data Formats

Educate your researchers about the difference between proprietary and open formats. Proprietary formats are those that require paid software. To archive files sustainably, they should be stored in an unencrypted, uncompressed, patent-free, and open, documented format.

In the following video, you will find additional information about structuring and organizing research data, the specifics of research data storage, and data protection aspects: