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Research Data Management for Health Sciences

Backup and Storage Tenets

  • Any backup is better than none.
  • Automatic backup is better than manual.
  • Storage run by experts is more reliable than storage you run yourself.
  • Your research is only as safe as your backup plan.
  • Your backup system is only as good as your capacity to get your data back from it.
    • Test your ability to retrieve backup data on a regular schedule (one or twice a year may be enough).
    • The test frequency should be increased with more data or more complex data.
  • Have multiple copies of your backups and archives, in case one copy fails.

Why Perform Backups?

  • Limit or negate loss of data, some of which may not be reproducible
  • Save time, money, productivity
  • Help prepare for disasters (accidental deletions, fires, natural disasters, software bugs, hardware failures)
  • Reproduce results of past procedures (if they were based on older files)
  • Respond to data requests
  • Limit liability

Backups vs. Archiving

Backups Archiving
Used to take periodic snapshots of data in case the current version is destroyed or lost Used to preserve data for historical reference or potentially during disasters
Backups are copies of files stored for short or near-long-term Archives are usually the final version, stored for long-term, and generally not copied over
Often performed on a somewhat frequent schedule Often performed at the end of a project or during major milestones