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Managing Your Data

A guide on data management and reuse

Storing Data During a Research Project

When thinking about data storage when conducting a research project keep in mind the 3-2-1 rule. 

  1. Keep at least 3 copies of your data. 
  2. Store data in at least 2 different media. (For example on a hard-drive and in the cloud) 
  3. Keep at least 1 copy off-site

With multiple copies of data stored in multiple locations establishing a back-up protocol is essential. See the links below for resources on establishing back-up protocol. 

It is important to know the difference between tools for data storage and tools for data sharing. Tools for data sharing like Dropbox and Google Docs are great for sharing data with colleagues and collaborators, but are not ideal for long-term data storage. 

Long-Term Data Storage/Archiving

One of the elements of a strong data management plan is detailing what will happen to the data once the project is completed. The goal of many organizations have of mandating data management plans is also mandating data be accessible after a project is completed. Many publishers also now require the publication of data to support a paper. 

When planning for the long-term storage of data, and making it accessible consider: 

  • What repository will you deposit your data in? 
  • What is the file format of the data? Some file formats are better than others when planning for the long-term preservation of data (see links below) 
  • What data should be deposited? Should you deposit all the data from a project, or just the data that supports the major study findings? 
  • What contextual information should be provided with the data? Do you have a data dictionary that will allow users to make sense of your data? 


Choosing a Data Repository

The repository you select to house your data will depend on your personal preferences, your field of study, where you are publishing your findings. 

Faculty are welcome to deposit data in the FSU Digital Repository. The FSU Digital Repository was "established to provide open, online access to the products of the University's research and scholarship, to preserve these works for future generations, to promote new models of scholarly communication, and to help deepen community understanding of the value of higher education." If you are interested in depositing data in the FSU Digital Repository please contact

If you are interested in storing data in a discipline specific repository check out the Open Access Directory