Adapt your DMP: part 4


This is the fourth of seven 'Adapt your DMP' sections in this tour guide. For easy reference, we have put together a list of DMP-questions for all chapters in this tour guide. You can view and download the checklist as pdf (CESSDA, 2018a) or editable form (CESSDA, 2018b), and keep them as a reference while you are studying the contents of this guide.

After working on this chapter, you should be able to define your storage and backup strategy for your data and metadata. To adapt your DMP, consider the following elements and corresponding questions:

Short-term storage strategy

Are you collecting personal data or do your data in any other way require special protection?

  • Is it necessary to have remote access to the data? Are you e.g. transmitting data from the field?
  • How important is fast access?
  • Is simultaneous and synchronised access by several people required?
  • How much data are you going to generate and how much storage capacity will you need, including backups?
  • Which media types will you use and how often will you replace them?

For how long is storage required?

  • How will you protect your data? (passwords, encryption, physical, network and computer security measures?)
  • How will the data be disposed of (if need be)?

How many backups will you make and where will these be stored?
How will the integrity of backups and disaster recovery be tested?

What is the associated cost of storing and backing up data?

Long-term storage strategy

Thinking about storage as part of data management planning also entails considering what will happen to your data and files after the project ends. Where and for how long will data be retained? While the recommended route is to archive and publish your data at the end of the project by handing it over to a data repository, for some data this may not be possible or desired. Maybe no consent was given for sharing, or publication would infringe intellectual property rights of third parties.

To ensure that your data remains accessible even after the end of the project consider the following questions:

For how long after the project is the data and the documentation to be kept? 10 years after you last published an article based on the data is commonly considered the minimum period for retention unless legal or ethical issues require shorter or longer retention periods (e.g. see the funder retention requirements of UK funding council policies listed on a Libguide by the University of Southampton (2017)).

  • Where will the data and documentation be kept after your project ends?
  • Can you or your employer guarantee sufficiently secure storage and backup for the data for the envisioned retention period without losing access?
  • Are you certain that your data and files are stored in a format for which there will still be suitable software available to access and process the stored information in ten years?
  • Which file formats will you use to minimise the risk that current software can no longer read your data files? See 'File formats' for further information.

What is the associated cost of storing and backing up data and documentation after the project has ended?