Working with data

Your data are some of your most valuable assets, so as you work with them it's worth investing some effort in keeping them safe. To do this, consider what risks your data might face, and what actions might be performed to mitigate those risks.

Preventing loss and corruption

Files can be lost in many different ways:

Even if they remain available, they can occasionally become corrupted. If a file is severely corrupted it may be unusable, but even subtle corruption may introduce errors which go unnoticed while affecting the outcome of your research.

Things to think about

For more information, see the following guidance:

Preventing unauthorised access

In many cases, you may wish to restrict access to your data to a specific list of individuals. This might be because it is commercially sensitive to you or an industrial partner, or includes sensitive personal information covered by the Data Protection Act.

If you are collecting or using research data about individuals, you should read the University's Data Protection guidance, which includes information about academic research and data security.

Things to think about

For more information, see the following guidance:

Ensuring usability

Even if data remain available and intact, they may be rendered useless if no-one understands them or remembers how to process them. Students and staff arrive and leave on a regular basis, and often it can seem easier to repeat a whole set of expensive experiments rather than try to understand data left behind by researchers who have left the university.

Things to think about

For more information, see the following guidance: