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Managing Your Research Data

Tips & tools to help you manage your research data with less stress


Archiving data is an extension of your storage and backup plan. The difference is that archiving keeps your data around after the project is done. It's important to do this in case questions come up related to your capstone, thesis or dissertation, or publication. You need to be able to show the data to support your results. Archiving key snapshots of your data and study documentation is the best way to do that.

IU offers a great system for archiving research data, called the Scholarly Data Archive. Some best practices for archiving data and other key study files to the SDA are:

  • Gather up all the files you want to archive. This should include your data snapshots throughout the project, documentation, analysis, and reports.
  • Create a readme file that lists the files and describes the project. Check our our template below if you aren't sure how to get started.
  • Zip up all the files to be archived plus the readme file into a compressed folder.
  • Upload it to the Scholarly Data Archive using the right connection.
    • If you have critical data, encrypt the files first and use a tool like WinSCP that supports encryption like Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP).