Long-term storage (after the project has finished)

Once a research project is finalized, the collected data should be stored long-term. For instance, APA advises to store research data until five years after publication (see APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed., section 1.08, p. 12, Data Retention and Sharing). Before storing research data long-term, think about what should be retained and where the data can be stored?

What to keep?

Ideally, researchers try to curate their research data in such a way that the data sets are findable, the reported results are reproducible and the data can be reused. To reach these goals, try to:

  • preserve data in its rawest possible form.
  • document data and materials in such a way that they are understandable. 
  • document preserved data and make it findable (e.g. using a data storage fact sheet)

Where to store data?

Once a research project is finalized it is good practice to move the research data to a dedicated long-term storage location. Good agreements should be made about who will initiate this (e.g. the promotor in the case of a PhD). Plans for storing research data after the project and the accompanying responsibilities can already be written down in a data management plan.

Within UGent

  • Local devices (e.g. external harddisk).
  • DICT Central Storage: a copy of the research data can be stored on a network share. This has the advantage that maintenance and security are not a responsibility of the researcher. (Tip: a promotor can set up a share especially for the purpose of storing research data from finished projects).
  • Biblio: Datasets can be added to entries in biblio. However, this is not meant to be used for raw data and has a size limit of 200MB per file.

Outside UGent

Data can be put on (public) data repositories. Some data repositories provide permanent identifiers (DOI, Digital Object Identifier) guaranteeing the long term findability of your data set by providing a persistent link. Public data repositories come in many sorts and a good starting point for finding out which one fits best with your data is the Registry of Research data Repositories (Re3Data.org). There you can find information about all public repositories for research data organized per discipline.


  • openfmri.orgdedicated to the free and open sharing of raw magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) datasets.
  • zenodo.org: EC initiated catch-all repository for research data from every discipline.

Non-digital research data

FPPW researchers can use the Faculty Archive for Research Material for the preservation of analogue research material.