In order to keep research data secure, findable and readable, you, as a researcher, must carry out various activities. On the one hand, activities related to storing the data and, on the other hand, activities related to organising the data.

Data Storage and Access

When storing your data, you need to pay attention to data backup, data access, data transfer, and keeping data readable. All research data can be safely stored during the research using the Research Drive tool. By using Research Drive, data backup and access are well organised from the start.

If you haven't previously used Research Drive, there is no direct access. Instead, you will be added as a user by the functional administrator of Research Drive:the datastewards of the library. A user account does not grant permissions to create new project folders. Only subfolders.

For each new research project (with or without funding), an initial meeting with the data steward is scheduled. See below for details of the meeting (Research Drive startup)

A project folder in Research Drive can be requested via

Research Drive startup
  1. After your request through, the data steward schedules an initial meeting to discuss the research data management plan and guidance on using Research Drive. A minimum of one hour will be scheduled. 
  2. During the initial meeting, the data steward creates a project folder. You will immediately receive an invitation to add your account details to Research Drive. Once you accept this invitation, the data steward can designate you as the owner of the project folder, and the owner can then invite (research) staff internally or externally for access to Research Drive.
  3. These individuals can (upon accepting the invitation) be granted rights to the project folder or only specific folders within the main folder. This is determined by the owner of the project folder.

For each research project, a project folder is created, where you can create your own folder structure or use a recommended folder structure. Backup is well managed through our supplier SURFSara. We also have a support agreement and a data processing agreement with SURFSara for the secure storage of personal data.

Project folders are only provided for research projects (with or without funding). Educational projects do not receive project folders, as the purpose of Research Drive is to secure research data and associated personal data.

Shortcut to Research Drive and manual with short tutorials. 

Data access authorization

When organising access to your data during the course of your research, you should take into account the nature of the data. Personal or sensitive data require a higher level of security than anonymised or non-confidential data. When using data from an external party, you must comply with the specific restrictions (e.g. protected by intellectual property) that this data may have. Research Drive offers the possibility to set up settings and authorisations in a way that complies with these conditions and applicable legislation. Periodically check that no unauthorised access takes place and verify who has access to which folders and files.

Questions related to data access:

  • Who has access to the data?
  • Who owns the data?
  • How do you deal with possible terms of use of the data?
  • Who is allowed to edit the data?
  • Who controls the data?
  • How do you ensure that the data remains accessible when you or other people leave the research?

In case of research collaborations (with institutions, organisations or companies) it is necessary to mutually agree which party has access to specific data and in which format. These mutual agreements are required to be included in a collective data management plan and in a consortium agreement. Periodically ensure that all parties continue to comply with the agreed procedures. For more information about THUAS consortium agreements/collaboration agreements contact

Security Measures

Share research data securely using Research Drive. You can share data with externals, colleagues and student assistants in various ways by: 

  1. Granting access to specific subfolders with expiration dates. 
  2. Public link for downloading/viewing/uploading or just a file drop with expiry date and password  
  3. Sharing with other Research Drive institutions using federated cloud id

Adding Research Drive in Windows explorer  

Add Research Drive as a drive in your explorer under 'This PC/This PC' using the webDAV link. The advantage of this is that you work directly with your research data in your Research Drive environment, without copying the data to your desktop PC or laptop. The research data remains in one place. E-mail the data stewards of the library to help you assist with the WebDAV link.  

Other points of attention 

  1. Keep in mind that you can securely access your data via Research Drive from all locations where you work. 
  2. A decent firewall and reliable antivirus software are a must. 
  3. Avoid using unsecure internet connections. 
  4. Always lock your device when you walk away and never leave your device unmanaged/unsecured for long periods of time. 

Organising Data

The time you invest in thinking about how to organise research data, the associated (personal) data and project documentation will pay off in the long run. It makes the data easier to find and understand. For yourself, for the researchers you work with and later for others who will reuse your data. It is therefore important to store the data in a consistent manner and to provide accurate documentation and metadata. Make sure your folders and files are clearly structured with informative and meaningful file names.

File Names

As a researcher, you determine the strategy you want to follow when giving out file names. Different approaches are possible, but it is important to consider them carefully. A file name is in fact the most important element with which you can identify the file.

The following elements can be used as a basis for file names: project name, project number, research team name, measurement type, subject, creation date, version number. This list may be supplemented by other variables.

However, there are points and rules you should keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Take into account the possibilities and limitations of the (storage) system you are working with. Sometimes, for example, the system determines the length of the file name.
  • Choose one naming convention and apply it consistently by including the same information in the same order in the file names.
  • Make file names specific, detailed and unique. This way there is no conflict when the files are moved to another folder and you avoid working in the wrong file without realising it.
  • Observe the following fixed rules: the same number of digits (001...100...), fixed notation for dates (YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM or YYYY-YYYY), underscores and hyphens instead of spaces, standard terms (get inspiration from, no special characters and leave file extensions unchanged.
  • Keep file names as short and relevant as possible. Generally, about 25 characters long is enough to capture sufficient descriptive information. If necessary, you can encode file name elements.
  • File names can be automatically generated by software you use (e.g. file names assigned to photos by your photo camera). Change these file names according to your chosen naming convention. Software such as Ant Renamer and NameChanger is available for renaming multiple files simultaneously.

In summary, therefore, file names should contain useful clues as to the contents, status and version of the file. The file name helps to distinguish files from each other and it provides assistance in classifying and sorting files.

Document your entire strategy with regard to giving file names. This documentation helps to remain consistent and to continue to understand the strategy long after you have completed your research. It is especially useful when you are working with several researchers on the same data.

Folder structure

The above guidelines for file names naturally also apply to the folder names. In order to keep an overview in your folder structure, the best approach is to reflect the different phases of your research. The names of your folders reflect these phases such as preparation (administration and documentation of research project, including your data management plan), raw data, manipulated data, reports of analyses and final products such as publications. It is also the start of your folder structure.

By reflecting the research phases in your folder structure, the structure also reflects the different versions of your research data. Always save the raw data file and ensure that no further changes can be made to it (e.g. save read-only or configure access rights). It is also wise to have a separate folder for the most advanced version of your data. This way, you can be sure that you are always working with the right version.

The hierarchy of folders must remain simple and clear. It is therefore advisable not to have too many levels in the folder structure.

Document the choices you make in terms of folder names and folder structure, including all changes in the folder structure and the associated arguments.


Documenting both your research process (in the form of protocols, methodology descriptions, etc.) and your data (in the form of inventories, descriptions of relationships and manipulations, etc.) is important to avoid errors and to interpret data correctly during your research and after your research is completed (validation). README.txt is a file in which an overview is given of the data set. Here you describe the contents of each file in your data set. Reach out to for more information about the THUAS README.txt file. 

Version Management

Be consistent in the file naming of different versions, for example by adding the date (YYYY-MM-DD) in the file or the version number. In addition, record the differences between versions. You can do this using a simple table that contains the following columns: version number, a brief description of what was done with the data, who did it and the date it was done.

More Info

Support by a Data Steward

Researchers can receive support in research data management. The research data steward(s) of THUAS can be contacted at