Preserve Your Physical Research Data

Preservation refers to the managed activities needed to ensure continued access to data in the long term.

The RDM measures you put in place from the start of your research (e.g. secure storage, appropriate metadata, clear documentation and organisation) help preserve your data.

Focus your preservation efforts on those research data and records of research activities that must be retained for compliance reasons, and to ensure you can continue to validate your research findings.

Take steps to identify what needs to be retained (and for how long) as early as possible in the research process and ensure that formal requirements for retention and disposal (i.e. either secure destruction or depositing in a data repository) are met.

What Data Must You Keep?

Massey University’s Code of Responsible Research Conduct (p. 9) says it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine what records and data should either be kept or securely disposed of, in line with any requirements set out in law, funding agreements, publisher’s agreements or through disciplinary conventions.

Other factors guiding decisions on what to keep include:

  • Ethics
  • Other Massey University codes and policies
  • Contractual arrangements and
  • Your own appraisal of the enduring value of your research data; to yourself and to the wider research community.

Massey University retention policies

Further advice:

Data Preservation Options

Data that is stored on physical formats will deteriorate, whether on paper, photographic, digital or audio visual formats. While the rate of deterioration will differ, the lifespan of your physical data will depend on the preservation actions you apply.

You can preserve paper-based data by carrying out safe handling, transporting, display and storage in a controlled storage environment.

Digital data stored on physical formats (i.e. film or magnetic media) are particularly vulnerable to environmental conditions and format changes, and need extra care.

The National Library of New Zealand’s Preservation Office has a number of short guides on preserving different kinds of physical media, including disaster recovery advice.

The National Archives of Australia also provides format-specific preservation advice.

Preserve Your Research Data Tool Kit

Researcher Development

Contact Us

Research Data Management Librarian
Guidance, training opportunities and practical support.

Research Development Team
Data management (funder retention requirements) advice for current and future research projects.

Information Technology Services (ITS)
Data-related services and advice on storage, backup, security, data quality, and metadata identification. Limited software for home installation.

Contact a Subject Librarian
Personal research help by email, phone, or appointment.

Acknowledgements

These guidelines are informed by information provided under open licenses by other organisations including:

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