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Research Data Management at OCAD University

This guide will provide information on research data management (RDM) including policy, planning, security, description, and sharing based on best practices.

Resources for Data Storage and Security

Proper data storage and security precautions are designed to prevent theft, modification, breach of confidentiality agreements or privacy legislation. Information on data storage options available to the OCAD U community is available in the Knowledgebase article, Research Data Management - Storage Options.  

File Naming and Formats
Meghan Frazer in the ACRL TechConnect Blog recommends the following conventions for file naming:

  • Do not use spaces or special characters (other than “-” and “_”)
  • Use descriptive file names.  Descriptive file names include date information and keywords regarding the content of the file, within a reasonable length
  • Date information is the following format: YYYY-MM-DD

The University of Edinburgh further recommends including file extensions (often defaults) to accurately reflect the software environment in which the file was created:

  • .por for SPSS portable files
  • .xls or .xlsx for Excel files
  • .ssd or .sas7bdat as appropriate for SAS files
  • .txt for text files

Backing Up Your Data

DataONE suggest the following best practices for backing up research data:

  • Create a detailed and thorough backup policy
  • Review your backup policy and plan periodically to ensure it is still valid and applicable
  • Minimize or remove reliance on users to perform manual backups
  • Don’t assume backups are being made for you
  • Use non-proprietary, standard formats
  • Check your backups manually
  • Have multiple versions of backups on multiple formats in multiple places
  • Practice good data management to limit the amount of data rescue that needs to be done to older data


The UBC Research Data Management DataGuide notes that security regulations differ depending on the confidentiality of your data. The more confidential your data, the more access controls will be required to limit access. For example, personal data cannot be stored on servers outside of Canada so cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox are should be avoided. For guidance on thinking through confidentiality and steps required to securely store your data we recommend consulting The University of Guelph's Guidelines for Categorization and Security of Research Data. In it you'll find a helpful categorization system to assess the level of risk and security controls required. 

Additional Resources: