Archiving data

Archiving research data means submitting them to a data centre, archive or repository where they will protected in the long term against loss, deterioration, unauthorised or inappropriate access, obsolescence and future incompatibility. Archiving is a necessary first step towards data sharing, but it is still important to archive data even if you do not plan to share them with others.

There are a number of benefits to archiving your data:

  • It demonstrates compliance with University policy, funder policies and national information access legislation.
  • It ensures that your data will remain available long into the future, with an appropriate level of guarantee about their ongoing authenticity, integrity and completeness.
  • The archive can provide a level of quality assurance; this varies from archive to archive, but may include integrity checks, documentation proofing or normalisation to specific standards.
  • It allows you to share data in a robust manner, so that your data are visible, discoverable, accessible and citable at a reliable location.
  • It allows you to share data in a controlled manner without having to monitor all requests for access yourself (unless you want to).

For more information about the wider societal benefits of archiving data, see 'Why Deposit Data?' from the UK Data Archive.

At the University of Bath, archiving data is a four step process:

  1. Select a dataset to archive from among the data you have gathered, processed and derived.
  2. Register the dataset in Pure, the University's current research information system
  3. Either submit the dataset to a subject-specific data archive, or upload it to the University of Bath Research Data Archive
  4. Complete a catalogue record for your dataset in the University of Bath Research Data Archive

Research data are typically submitted to the archive by the data creator, though in exceptional circumstances it might be appropriate for you to archive third party data you have used. You should also consider archiving your non-digital data.

It is important that readers of your research papers know if and where they can access the underlying data, so you must include this information in a data access statement in each paper, referencing the archival copy.