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Managing Your Research Data

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

Tips

Why do I need to worry about security? Doesn't UITS take care of that?

Securing research data means that first you need to know your ethical and legal obligations as a researcher, then take necessary steps to protect data that must be kept confidential or private. Some of the reasons that data must be kept private or confidential include:

  • the data may be protected under local, state, or federal laws
  • the data could identify a research participant
  • the data include sensitive information, such as personal or financial information, ethnic or racial origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, memberships, etc.

As a new researcher, you are not expected to be an expert. Talk to the person supervising your research, the IRB for human subjects research, the Animal Care & Use office for animal research, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, or the appropriate office in research compliance. They are the experts, don't be afraid to ask for help. If your research data includes institutional data, check out the data classifications to understand those requirements.

Basic Tips

  • Don't store research data on your phone or on an unencrypted flash/thumb drive.
  • If you have to store or work with research data on your laptop, encrypt it.
  • Don't share your username and passphrase with anyone.
  • Don't reuse your IU passphrase for other sites.
  • Use a system managed by IU like IU Box or the Research File System to store your data (and all your research files).
  • Make sure you are using a system that is approved for the highest level of security required for your data. See Using Box for sensitive data & Protecting sensitive data in Box.

For more tips, check out the Protecting Data guide