Skip to Content
Preservation refers to the managed activities needed to ensure continued access to data in the long term.
The RDM measures you put in place from the start of your research (e.g. secure storage, appropriate metadata, clear documentation and organisation) help preserve your data.
Focus your preservation efforts on those research data and records of research activities that must be retained for compliance reasons, and to ensure you can continue to validate your research findings.
Take steps to identify what needs to be retained (and for how long) as early as possible in the research process and ensure that formal requirements for retention and disposal (i.e. either secure destruction or depositing in a data repository) are met.
Massey University’s Code of Responsible Research Conduct (p. 9) says it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine what records and data should either be kept or securely disposed of, in line with any requirements set out in law, funding agreements, publisher’s agreements or through disciplinary conventions.
Other factors guiding decisions on what to keep include:
Digital data is particularly vulnerable to threats such as media degradation or obsolescence, which compromise your ability to maintain access and usability.
One way to preserve your data for the long term is to deposit it in a discipline-specific data repository or archive. Find out more about discipline-specific repositories and archives.
You should also ask your supervisor or school to recommend any long-term storage options; your journal or funder may also specify preferred data repositories.
A file format describes the way information is organised in a computer file. File formats apply to the following types of files:
File formats and the software needed to open and use the files can become obsolete, leaving the data inaccessible. Before you store your data, consider the longevity of the file formats you choose. Select formats that are:
Such formats are typically developed and maintained by communities of interest, and technical information about the formats is publicly available.
|Standard image formats||JPEG 2000; PNG; SVG|
|Text||ASCII; PDF; Open Document Format; Office Open XML format (the native format for recent versions of Microsoft Word)|
|Web||HTML; XHTML; RSS; CSS|
|Some scientific data||Net CDF|
Often, research disciplines have a mandatory or preferred standard for saving and storing research data (e.g. SPSS data files for social science data sets).
Page authorised by University Librarian
Last updated on Friday 17 January 2020
Contact a Subject Librarian
Your first point of contact in the library for RDM guidance, training opportunities and practical support. Subject librarians also provide personal research help by email, phone, or appointment.
Research Development Team
Data management (funder retention requirements) advice for current and future research projects.
These guidelines are informed by information provided under open licenses by other organisations including: