Skip to main content

Research Data Management: Manage your data

Data and the cloud

Cloud computing solutions may be useful for storing and sharing your data files, particularly files that do not require a high level of security.

Care should be taken to consider the security and privacy of cloud storage options. Visit the University's Secure IT webpage for further information on managing your data securely.

High performance compute


How will you organise your data? The term 'metadata' refers to descriptive information about data. It includes information such as the creation date of the data, the version, the units of measurement if applicable, and so on. Metadata should be descriptive, consistent and meaningful so that you and other people can interpret the data at a later date.

Metadata may be inherent in the data. For example, survey data would usually include information about the date of the survey, number of participants and the survey questions. However, in other cases the metadata may need to be separately recorded. For example, data generated on a tool or instrument should be accompanied by metadata about the calibration and settings or parameters under which it was generated.

Storage and access

Digital storage space is available to all University IT account holders. IT&DS provides an overview of the different storage locations and quotas. Drives are backed up nightly, except for the R Drive which is backed up monthly.

Access is available off site via ADAPT (Any Device, Any Place and Time). ADAPT allows staff and students to access their learning and teaching applications on personal devices: desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones, anywhere:

  • On campus via the UofA wireless network; and
  • Off campus via broadband access and 3G/4G Mobile networks.

For enquiries about storage at the University, contact IT&DS.

eResearch SA also provide a data storage service to the University's research community.

Portable storage options, such as USBs and external hard drives, may provide storage solutions if you need to transport and access your data across multiple locations. However, these storage options pose a risk of data loss through damage and deterioration. Additionally, these media may easily be lost or stolen.

Storage requirements

Consider the questions on the 'Evalute your needs' tab. These will help determine what you need to look for in storage and access.

When you evaluate your storage options consider:

  • How is the storage accessible?
  • How do you log on or authenticate?
  • How secure is the storage?
  • Is it backed up or replicated?
  • What recovery options does the storage have?
  • Does the storage have version control capability?
  • How much does the storage cost?
  • Will the storage become obsolete in the near future?
  • Who controls the storage and under what terms and conditions?

Key contacts

Research data storage

Data Security

Remember to consider data security when evaluating your storage options.

Technology Services provides a three step guide to data protection: Identify > Classify > Protect!

Or view the University's Information Classification Guidelines which covers public, University internal and confidential data.