Retention and Preservation

It’s important to think about what you will do with your data once your research project is complete. In some cases you may be required to retain or deposit your research data to meet funder or journal requirements. Absent any such requirements, there are other reasons you may choose to keep your research data:

  • Your data can support the integrity of your research by providing evidence of your research methods and findings
  • Your data may be unique or irreplaceable
  • You may want to reuse your data in the future
  • You may want to share your data with other researchers

Data retention refers to the act of keeping your research data after the completion of a project for a set period of time. It is an intentional decision that includes designating a custodian who will be responsible for the data. The custodian may be you, a member of your research team, or a third-party. 

Data preservation refers to a series of activities that ensure continued stability and access to data for as long as necessary. This may include activities such as data integrity checks, format migrations, file recovery, and more. Data preservation is usually carried out by a service provider such as a data repository or library.

No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to package and curate your data so that it can be understood by yourself or future users (go to Preparing for deposit for more information). 


Library resources

Library services
The library provides support for:

  • Digital preservation and workflows
  • U of T Dataverse in Borealis, the institutional data repository

External resources