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Research Data Management Toolkit: Store active data

Best practices in Research Data Management promote research integrity and collaborative opportunities. A Research Data Management Plan ensures data security, accessibility and validation of results.

Store active data

Before commencing your research project you will need to consider how you will store your active data during the project. Active research data is data that is currently being collected, used, and analysed during your project/activity. This page takes you through:

Where to store your research data

The intellectual property your research creates is just as valuable to cyber criminals as it is to you. Adversaries may steal your data to make a profit, advantage other nations or disrupt research activities on ideological basis. Ensuring adequate security measures are in place is therefore paramount. 

Security starts with you.  You are responsible for safeguarding your own data and your research project, as well as UWA’s reputation. The University provides you with multiple options to securely create, store, collaborate on, and publish, your data. It is important you carefully establish the information protection classification of your research and utilise tools and systems that cater for the sensitivity level of your project.

The following storage matrix provides an overview of common data storage options. The Supported and Recommended Section outlines UWA’s preferred options and their key features to help you make an informed choice.

This table displays possible storage platforms for research data, their features and suitability. UWA Teams and Sharepoint, UWA OneDrive and IRDS are listed as 'Supported and Recommended at UWA'. This is because these options are suitable for storing Highly Restricted data, have no cost to the researcher, the data is stored in Australia and is backed up. The Local 'C Drive' storage on a computer, Removable Media such as USBs, Google and Amazon Drives and Dropbox are all listed as 'Not Recommended'. For the C Drive and Removable Media, the reasons they are not recommended are that they are not suitable for Highly Restricted data, can be lost, have no inherent backup, and all other features would vary based on the device. Google, Amazon and Dropbox storage are not recommended as they are only suitable for storing public data, require purchasing a subscription, are not stored in Australia, and all other features would vary based on the subscription purchased.
  Supported and Recommended at UWA Not Recommended
STORAGE PLATFORM UWA Teams & SharePoint UWA OneDrive IRDS Local Storage (C:) Drive Removable media (incl. USB drives)  Google and Amazon Drives Dropbox
  Recommended for storing active data &  collaboration Recommended for individual day-to-day work Recommended for long-term storage & archiving Easy to lose & not backed-up Easy to lose & not backed-up Lacks multiple data protection controls Lacks multiple data protection controls
Suitable Data Classification Red circle represents Highly Restricted classification Yellow circle represents Confidential Restricted classification Blue circle represents Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Up to Highly Restricted
Red circle represents Highly Restricted classification Yellow circle represents Confidential Restricted classification Blue circle represents Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Up to Highly Restricted
Red circle represents Highly Restricted classification Yellow circle represents Confidential Restricted classification Blue circle represents Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Up to Highly Restricted
Grey circle indicates not suitable for Highly Restricted classification Yellow circle represents Confidential Restricted classification Blue circle represents Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Up to Confidential Restricted
Grey circle indicates not suitable for Highly Restricted classification Grey circle indicates not suitable for Confidential Restricted classification Blue circle represents Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Up to Confidential
Grey circle indicates not suitable for Highly Restricted classification Grey circle indicates not suitable for Confidential Restricted classification Grey circle indicates not suitable for Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Public data only
Grey circle indicates not suitable for Highly Restricted classification Grey circle indicates not suitable for Confidential Restricted classification Grey circle indicates not suitable for Confidential classification Green circle represents Public classification
Public data only
Easy Access for External Collaborators
No Cost to Researcher As per subscription As per subscription
Default Storage Space 1TB 1TB 0.1TB (100GB) Device dependent Device dependent As per subscription As per subscription
Expand Storage Space Up To 5TB 25TB1 Device dependent Device dependent As per subscription As per subscription
Data Stored in Australia Device dependent Device dependent
Backup & Disaster Recovery As per subscription As per subscription
Post-Project Data Retention Period Indefinitely Indefinitely Indefinitely None None As per subscription As per subscription
Syncing with Local Copy
Version Control
Metadata Tagging Limited

1 - Increased IRDS storage can be requested from Uni IT via ServiceNow

Microsoft Teams/SharePoint for active research data

Research Projects

UWA staff and HDR students can have access to a dedicated workspace for research projects in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. Called a “Research Project,” this workspace will provide:

  • A secure place to store your active research data (up to 1TB in size) that can be accessed via Teams and SharePoint– suitable for all data sensitivity levels and facilitating multiple levels of access to research data for different team members.
  • A Teams workspace for project team collaboration, including with external researchers.
  • Microsoft 365 tools integration, including project management tools

For researchers who have been using AARNet CloudStor to store research data, Research Projects in MS Teams offer a suitable replacement. 

External (non-UWA) collaborators can be invited to be part of a Teams site. Once your Teams Research Project is established, project owners can set up external access by submitting a Digital Guest Access Service Portal form.

Completion of a RDMP in the UWA Research Data Hub is required before you will be allocated a Research Project workspace in Teams. 

Case Studies

View short case study videos from UWA researchers on how they have been using Teams to manage their Research Projects.

Play video: case study MS Teams Michael Burton Westport project

Professor Michael Burton, an Agricultural Economist, explains how the Westport project are using Teams for collaboration and data management.

Play video Case Study: Beekeeping PhD Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson, a PhD Doctoral Student studying the geography of Australian Honeybees, discusses how she used MS Teams to manage her research workflow and collaborate with her supervisors.

Play Video: Teams Case Study Holly Winkle PEAT Project

Holly Winkle, Project Coordinator of the PEAT Project demonstrates how Teams has supported collaboration across a diverse team, working remotely across South-West WA.

Your new Research Project workspace in Teams provides a secure location to store and work on your research data. Learn more about working with files in your new workspace, including saving, sharing, deleting, recovering and version control. 

*Note: To view the LinkedIn Learning videos in this section, you will need to activate Linkedin Learning. Here are the instructions

To allow external colleagues from outside of UWA access to the Teams Workspace, you will need to submit a Digital Guest Access Service Portal form to request access.

 

Saving files

To start saving files to your new Research Project space in Teams, follow these steps:

  1. Open the MS Teams application and navigate to the Teams tab in the left-hand menu. You should see your new Research Project  workspace listed under 'Your teams' with a default channel called 'General'. This channel will be accessible to every member of your Team and is a good place to store data that everyone needs to access. If you need to limit access to a subset of people in your Team, see private channels
  2. To start saving or creating files, open 'Files' folder from the top menu
  3. Use the +New and Upload options to add content to your Files folder.  As soon as they are created or added, your new files will be available for your team members to edit as well. You can also drag and drop directly into the file space. 

Alternatively, if you would prefer to work in SharePoint, select 'Open in SharePoint' from the menu. Your SharePoint site will open in a browser.

 

Learning more about working with channels by watching this LinkedIn Learning video: Working with channel files from Managing Projects with Microsoft Teams


Sharing files

As files uploaded and shared to a team are accessible to every member of the Team, there is no need to check files out or worry about if one of your colleagues has the document open. Just open the file you need to edit and if other team members are editing it too your changes will be seamlessly merged as you work.

For more watch this LinkedIn Learning video: Coauthoring in files from Managing Projects with Microsoft Teams.

 

If you want to share files with people outside of your Team, watch this LinkedIn Learning video: Share files outside of Teams from Microsoft Teams: Working with Files.


Delete and recover files in Teams

See this Microsoft support page on how to delete and recover files in Teams.


Return to an earlier version of a file in Teams

Watch this LinkedIn Learning video: Managing file versions from Managing Projects with Microsoft Teams.

Sync Teams files with your computer

If you are accustomed to using the UWA network drive through File Explorer to save your research data, you can sync your Project's Team channel to your computer to achieve a similar workflow. This also enables you to work on your documents offline. 

  1. Go to your Teams channel with the files you want to sync. This may be the main 'General' channel or another channel you have set up. 
  2. Click the ‘Files’ tab.
  3. Then click ‘Sync’ to sync your channel to your computer. (You only need to do this once on a computer to set up syncing on that computer. After you set up syncing, the files sync automatically.)

  1. Open your File Explorer. You will find a new option titled 'The University of Western Australia' in the left-hand menu, under which your files will now be saved and accessible for easy access.

  1. To work on files offline, you will need to download them onto your computer.  The cloud icon means it's currently stored in the cloud. Either double click the cloud icon or open the document in File Explorer to download onto your PC. Once the icon changes from a cloud to a tick, it means your document is ready to be worked on offline. And when you go back online, any changes made to those files will sync automatically.


Watch this video demonstrating the same process: How to Sync Teams Files to File Explorer

Research Projects support

For further support setting up your Research Projects workspace in MS Teams, contact your Library team:


Microsoft Teams support

There is a wealth of information available to help you with making the most of your MS Teams workspace for collaboration and confidential data use, management, and storage.

UWA Intranet pages

LinkedIn Learning courses. Note: To view LinkedIn Learning videos through UWA's subscription, you will need to activate Linkedin Learning. Here are the instructions


Teams, Onedrive and SharePoint - what's the difference? 

Watch this LinkedIn Learning video: Understand the differences between OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint document libraries from Modern Project Management in Microsoft 365

UWA Institutional Research Data Store: IRDS

The UWA IRDS provides researchers with a centralised, secure and UWA approved data storage facility to store electronic research data, enabling ongoing access to these valuable assets at no cost to researchers and in a broad range of file types.

A share in the IRDS can be requested once you have completed a RDMP in the UWA Research Data Hub for your research project/activity. Once set up, additional storage can be requested via the through the ServiceNow self-service page.

Store owners can assign access permissions to their UWA collaborators during the Storage Request process from the RDMP. If new collaborators come on board later in the project/activity, they can be added to an existing store via the form available at the ServiceNow self-service page.

An IRDS share can be mapped to your drives for use on campus:

External collaborator access to your IRDS can now be achieved by asking your external collaborators to complete a human resources form.

For assistance contact staffsupport-lib@uwa.edu.au 

Storing physical data

What is physical data?

Physical research data is anything collected for the purposes of a research project that is not stored and accessed using a computer. This can include:

  • Hand-written lab notebooks or journals
  • Soil or rock samples
  • Biological samples
  • Artworks
  • Physical photographic film or other analogue audio-visual media

 

How do I safely store and manage physical data in active use during a research project?
  • Follow any protocols required by your School or research group with regards to the type of physical data.
  • Physical data needs to be kept in a secure, temperature controlled place, away from windows, light, water pipes and away from dust.
  • Ensure to use lockable rooms and/or cabinets, and keep a record of who is able to access the physical data - for example who has access to the key or swipe card.
  • Accurately label the data and keep it organised to facilitate use for researchers who need to access the data.
  • You can assign a unique identifier (igsn.org) to physical objects and samples to record the location and storage information about the data digitally, even if the data itself is a physical sample.

See the Finalise Dataset page for information on long-term archiving of physical research data.

UWA data storage compliance statements

UWA-managed storage platforms meet standard security, backup, compliance and management requirements for research funders and ethics approval. Some standard text is provided below for use in applications and agreements to assist when researchers are requested to describe UWA data storage compliance.


For projects storing data in the Institutional Research Data Store:

The data generated in the proposed research project will be stored according to UWA’s Research Integrity Policy.

This policy was developed to ensure that UWA research aligns with the principles and practices of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research including those relating to research data storage.

The research data for the proposed project will be stored in the UWA provisioned IRDS service. This is located on Australian servers, is backed up, includes disaster recovery provisions, and can store data classified up to Confidential Restricted. Research data stores holding Confidential Restricted information have additional monitoring and logging applied to them that record when and where changes are made to the store, potential malicious activity, and enable UWA UniIT to be proactive in preventing loss or unauthorised exposure of data.

Data is accessible only to project collaborators identified by the project owner and access requires multifactor authentication using institutional usernames and passwords.

Additional security monitoring software is applied to all stores classified as Highly Restricted and Confidential Restricted to protect as against unauthorised and/or malicious access, use and disclosure.

Data stored in the IRDS is subject to the Western Australia University Sector Disposal Authority (WAUSDA) for retention and disposal.

 

For projects storing data in Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint:

The data generated in the proposed research project will be stored according to UWA’s Research Integrity Policy.

This policy was developed to ensure that UWA research aligns with the principles and practices of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research including those relating to research data storage.

The research data for the proposed project will be stored in UWA provisioned Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint service. This is located on Australian servers, is backed up, includes disaster recovery provisions, and can store data classified up to Highly Restricted. All stores are monitored for unauthorised and or malicious access, use and disclosure.

Data is accessible only to project collaborators identified by the project owner and access requires multifactor authentication using institutional usernames and passwords.

Data stored in Microsoft Teams/SharePoint is subject to the Western Australia University Sector Disposal Authority (WAUSDA) for retention and disposal.

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