Research Data Guide

Managing research data

IT administration of the University of Oulu

IT services: Data storage: Personal storage at the University of Oulu


Naming and managing files. File formats

RD files and folders need to be organized in a systematic way so that they are identifiable and accessible for yourself, your colleques and for future users. Therefore pay attention that names of files and folders are consistent but unique. Consider including e.g. following elements

  • project name/acronym
  • experiment/instrument type
  • initials of researchers
  • date
  • version number

Avoid special characters and spaces when naming files and folders.

Data versioning is about saving new copies of your files when you make changes so that you can go back and retrieve specific versions of your files later. E.g. rd1; rd2; re2.1. etc.  or  naming files like final or final_revised etc.

Read about naming and managing files and about physical data storage  by Finnish Social Science Data Archive

File formats that are suitable for long terms storage of research data by CSC

File naming and folder structure by CESSDA

Document your file naming conventions and folder structure




Licensing research data

It is recommended to make all research data, code and software created within a research project available for reuse e.g. under Creative Commons, GNU, MIT or another relevant license. The recommended CC license according to open science principles is the CC-BY.

Research data. How to license. Training materials by OpenAIRE.

Storing research data during the research project

Research data are a valuable resource, even after the research projects has ended. Research data are also viewed by many research funders as a public good which should be openly available to the academic community and preserved for future re-use. Consider e.g.:

  • Lifespan of the research process? Data during and after the research process?
  • Use of local, national or international data storage service(s)?
  • What is the needed length of storage period?
  • Are there any limitations determined by the data storage service provider?
  • Data security?

Researchers and research groups should have basic knowledge of what data preservation and physical storage entail. Physical preservation requires careful monitoring of data quality and system integrity, upgrade and validation measures, disaster preparedness, and constant development of the system. At least

  • Document your data carefully
  • Create regular back-ups
  • Migrate your research data into newer formats on a regular basis. 
  • Save files in a format suitable for long-term storage.

Need support?

Data repositories

Criteria for choosing data archive

Is the data archive intended to specific discipline?

  • If yes also metadata is discipline specific.
  • If multidisciplinary searching may be more challenging.

For what kind of data is the archive aimed at?

  • Variables are more detailed if data is of specific kind.
  • Sensitive archives have restrictions concerning the access for research data.

Is the archive international? Is Finnish archive part of international archive consortium?

Data archive offered by science journal?

  • Linking to actual publication (article) works well.
  • Continuity of the archive may be uncertain.
  • Suitable for short term research data archiving.

Finnish research data archives are one option as well as data archives offered by your own research institution.

Consider also

Read more: OpenAIRE: How to select a repository?