A data repository stores data that may be in a variety of forms including Excel spreadsheets, hierarchical databases, or even text files. The repository uses metadata in order to provide access and indexing to the data. Repositories can be open or proprietary, primarily for preservation or for access, and charge a deposit fee or are free.
Many granting agencies and some journal publishers request that researchers provide data through a repository. This guide is to assist you in identifying the right repository for you and your data.
Your research data needs to be stored in a place that is secure and accessible while it's actively being collected and analyzed. Source (raw/original) data and active (working) data should be kept separate from each other. Working data is particularly susceptible to data loss. Separate physical copies and set a schedule for frequent data backups so you are not relying on a single copy of your source or active data. See the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team guide of data backup options for digital data, and the DataONE guide for documenting a backup policy.
Best practice: follow the 3-2-1 Rule and keep 3 copies of files in 2 different media formats with 1 copy in a different geographic location.
Hardware storage/backup options:
While good candidates for maintaining working data, these storage options may not support granting requirements of openness and accessibility to data. This is where a repository comes into the picture.
The University of Arkansas IT Services provides access to software to assist in storing your files and collaborating with others.
The Arkansas High Performance Computing Center provides high performance computing hardware, storage, and support services including training and education to enable computationally intensive research at the university. To find out more about the hardware and software available at the Center, please review their Resources page.