How long should I keep my data?

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 21 September 2015

Two official documents are here to help UCL researchers and students understand their responsibilities regarding the preservation (or “archiving”) of the data that they produce. Check the definition of research data if you are not sure what is meant by it.

  • The UCL Research Data Policy gives general recommendation about length of time for data storage that researchers must observe. It states that research data should be “retained for a minimum of ten years after publication or public release” (p.3).
  • The UCL Retention Schedule prescribes how long each type of records or data should be held. Section 2 (p.4) applies to Research Data in particular. This Schedule deals with ALL types of data and records, whether electronic or not. For instance, your data may include clinical trials, emails, artefacts, video files, lab books or photographs. You will find the answer in this Schedule.

Your funders may have their own policy regarding the preservation of data that were collected as part of a project that they funded. Check our list of links to funders’ policies. Your funders’ policies generally take precedence over UCL’s policies.

For support and advice about storage & long-term preservation please see our dedicated how-to guide.