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Research Data Management at Charles Sturt: Store and Manage

Store your active Data

 Part of managing data is planning how it will be stored, secured and accessed.

Think about the file formats you are using, will these be durable and still be accessible in ten years time? In addition, you will need to provide metadata to describe your data to aid future discovery.


There are two types of storage to think about. Working storage, where you put the data you are working with or on (active data), and at the end of your project, archival storage, where you put the data you've finished with (it must be kept for 5 years).

Charles Sturt Researcher Working data storage options

OneDrive: you have 1 Terabyte (1,000GB) of storage available once you access your Microsoft Office 365 account


  • You can share your active research data with collaborators (internal and external)
  • You can access your data from anywhere, anytime
  • OneDrive is encrypted
  • There is a maximum file size limit of 2GB and a file/folder count limit of 20,000 files.
  • Make sure you archive your data at the end of the project as your OneDrive is decommissioned 30 days after completing your degree

OneDrive: Part of Office 365, a cloud service to store and share files - see notes above for further details

P-Drive and S-Drive: Charles Sturt's shared (networked) drive

Teams: A Microsoft 365 SharePoint site to store and share files

There is further information on Data storage provided by DIT.

Hard-copy documents must also be stored in a secured, university environment. Talk to your supervisor about having these placed in a locked cabinet.

Archival storage (see Evaluate and Archive) will be in a data repository (see Share and Disseminate). 

How much storage do I need?

To estimate the amount of storage, the best approach is to look at the size of similar data files you or colleagues are collecting or use the image below. For extremely large data storage requirements (>1TB) arrangements should be made with DIT prior to commencing your project.

approximate MBs of different data formats

Back up

As a researcher, you are responsible for ensuring your research data is backed up regularly. If you store working copies of research files on your personal devices ensure you perform regular backups.

Top Tip: Make at least 3 copies of your work. Save at least 2 of these in different locations e.g. the University's P-drive and a secure external hard drive. This is where file naming and version control are also important!

File formats

File formats are important to think about when archiving, preserving and making your data accessible long-term.

Choose durable file formats such as:

  • Text documents - .TXT; .DOCX
  • Spreadsheets/tabular data - .CSV; .XLSX
  • Web pages - .HTML; .XML/.XSLT
  • Images - .PNG; .JPG; .TIFF
  • Audio files - .FLAC; .MP3; .WAV
  • Video files - .MP4; .AVI; .MPG

Examples of closed proprietary file types are those used in the pre-2007 Microsoft Office Suite, which have been replaced with open (archive) XML-equivalents:

  • .doc -> .docx (Word)
  • .xls -> .xlsx (Excel)
  • .ppt -> .pptx (PowerPoint)

See also the UK Data Service recommended formats table and choosing the right file format quick guide.

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