Making the decision to preserve your data over the long term will include consideration of the following factors:

  • Have research results been published from this data?
  • Are the data historically significant?
  • Are you planning to share your data?
  • Are the data vulnerable – including use of secondary data?
  • Are data part of ongoing long-term research projects?
  • Are you legally required to preserve (or destroy) your data?
  • What costs are associated with preserving your data?

Depositing Data in a Repository

There are many options available to secure data deposition. For information and guidance, book a consultation with us.  A brief guide to local data preservation services has been created for your convenience.

Local options include:

Advantages to local deposits include:

  • Assignment of a persistant URL (link) to your data
  • Control over who can access your data
  • Ensures others will be able to find your data
  • Option to have your data cited in Research Data Canada’s DataCite Canada database
  • Knowing your data is secure in the long term

International repository options include:

  • Deposit in discipline specific repository
  • Post online via an institutional website
  • Submit your data with your results to an online journal
  • Deposit in a journal-specified repository

Repository Discovery Tools:

A number of sites offer guidance, tools, and/or links to online data repositories including:


Many long-term preservation platforms and services require a varying amount of structured metadata to accompany deposited data files.

Metadata refers to that data or information that supports the discovery, understanding, and management of your research data. Good quality metadata is essential for accurate and informed usage, especially if data is to be reused or shared in the future. Metadata initiated during the planning stages of a research project decreases risks associated with data loss during and after project completion. It is critical, therefore, to start documenting your data from the very beginning of your project.

Generally speaking there are three categories of metadata:

  • Descriptive: including fields such as title, author, abstract, keywords (which help others discover online sources similar to yours)
  • Administrative: access conditions and terms of use, preservation information, and technical metadata about formats
  • Structural: how different components of a data set relate to one another. For example, a scheme that describes relations between tables and figures