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Preserve your research data


March 20, 2020 update: While the physical SFU Libraries are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 measures, we are happy to continue to support you with any research data management questions remotely. Please feel free to contact us by email at during this time, and we can set up a meeting via video conferencing or telephone.


For long-term preservation and storage of research data, dedicated online data repositories can be a great option.

While personal cloud storage (e.g., SFU Vault, DropBox, or Google Drive) might be useful for storage of your data while in the collection or processing stages, it is not recommended to use these services for stable long term preservation.

Instead, data should be preserved either in institutional repositories, such as SFU's Research Data Repository (Radar), or in external data archives and subject-specific repositories.

Why preserve your data?

Protect your investment

Researchers invest a great deal of time, effort, and resources in collecting data to support their projects. This investment means research data has significant value in addition to its intrinsic value as a record of human knowledge.

Ensure your files can be accessed and read in the future

Having an appropriate preservation strategy will ensure that your digital files remain accessible and readable, and will mitigate the risks from loss of files or obsolescence of any particular file format.

A stable and established data repository will typically manage all aspects of data preservation for you.   

Depositing data

Canadian funding agencies and research institutions will soon enact policies requiring researchers to deposit their data, following established protocols that already exist in other countries. Increasing numbers of journal publishers are also requiring research data that supports publications to be shared by depositing with openly accessible online repositories, whether institution- or discipline-specific. 

As a researcher, you have several options for preserving your research data by depositing it in an online repository. 

SFU Library's Research Data Repository: Radar

SFU's Research Data Repository Radar houses complete datasets and other research objects created by SFU researchers, for preservation, publication, and sharing purposes.

Radar currently accepts most audio, video, image, tabular data, and document formats.

When data is deposited, it is automatically transformed into a preservation-friendly copy.

Materials can also be immediately made available exactly as they are deposited. SFU Librarians may occasionally review the metadata of deposited files for suitability, but we do not inspect the files themselves prior to deposit, or make any structural modifications.

Preservation and indexing of research objects in Radar is provided as a free service to the SFU community, and will be exposed by the Library Catalogue, as well as indexed by Google and other research data search services.

As a researcher,  you decide whether to restrict access to your data; however, the default setting is to allow public access. The SFU Library requests, at a minimum, that the metadata be public.

Other options for preserving research data

In addition to Radar, there are a number of other repositories you may want to consider:

The Canadian Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR)

The FRDR platform provides a centralized access point for Canadian research data. Developed through a collaboration between Portage, Compute Canada, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the FRDR platform provides data ingestion, curation, and preservation services.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

The preeminent North American Social Science data repository, ICPSR primarily accepts tabular data formats from the social sciences. All deposited files are manually reviewed for errors in the data. ICPSR is supported by a subscription model, and SFU Library is a member of this consortium.

Re3data repository search

Re3data provides searchable discovery and access to discipline-specific data repositories, enabling researchers to identify platforms for data curation and access that best meets the needs of their area of study. Use this service to get a sense of the kinds of data repository options available that specialize in your research area.