Data Sharing and Storage Options

The Texas A&M University Libraries can assist researchers in complying with funding agency requirements for data sharing and storage.  The information below may be used in preparing data management plans.

OAK Trust (Digital Repository) collects, preserves, and distributes the scholarly output of the university, including scholarly articles and books, electronic theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, multimedia, technical reports, and research data.  OAK Trust (Digital Repository) is built on the open source DSpacesystem, developed by MIT and Hewlett Packard and now with more than 900 installations worldwide.  The University Libraries also operate iRODS (Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System), a data grid software system developed by the Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) research group now at UNC Chapel Hill.   Together, DSpace and iRODS enable the Libraries to manage a variety digital objects and their associated metadata.

More information about OAK Trust (Digital Repository) is available here.  The details of the OAK Trust (Digital Repository) services pertaining to research data sharing and storage are outlined below, and the Office of Scholarly Communication unit can provide assistance with data management plans.

1.  Data Formats and Metadata

  1. OAK Trust (Digital Repository) lists preferred file formats for long-term storage and access, but researchers may deposit data in any digital format.  To ensure access to research data, you should select file formats that are based on open standards, are non-proprietary, or are commonly used by your research community.  Unencrypted and uncompressed files also facilitate access and use.
  2. OAK Trust (Digital Repository) metadata is a variation of Dublin Core.  The full list of available metadata elements is available on the OAK Trust (Digital Repository) information pages.  The metadata scheme may be extended to include additional information, if needed.

2.  Storage Costs

  1. The University Libraries provide up to 5 GB of storage at no cost to the researcher per project.  For data storage needs that are greater than 5 GB, the Libraries will assess a fee of $5 per GB per 3-year storage period.  Charges accrue after the first 5 GB.
  2. Research data will be stored for a period of up to 3 years.  Longer periods of storage may be purchased in 3-year increments. At the end of the 3-year term, the researcher may opt to renew for an additional 3-year storage period, or if the data are no longer needed it may be removed from the Libraries storage system.
Storage TermStorage AmountCost
3 years <5 GB $0
3 years >5 GB $5 per GB above initial 5 GB allocation

Examples:
Storage TermStorage AmountCost
3 years 4.6 GB $0 (less than 5 GB)
6 years 1 TB (1024 GB) (1024 GB - 5 GB) * 2 terms * $5 = $10,190
2 years 60 GB (60 GB - 5 GB) * 1 term * $5 = $275

3.  Access

  1. Storage is available for research data in its final form and ready for public distribution.  Researchers may choose to restrict access to one or more files, but all metadata will be publicly accessible. 
  2. At the time a file is written to the store, a permanent URL is assigned to the item.  OAK Trust (Digital Repository) uses the CNRI Handle system to provide unique, persistent URLs.
  3. While metadata and data may be publicly available (READ access), only persons authorized by the researcher will be allowed to add files in the system (WRITE).  Only administrators of OAK Trust (Digital Repository) can remove (DELETE) files, but files will be removed at the request of the researcher.
  4. Only authorized Texas A&M users may submit research data to OAK Trust (Digital Repository). Texas A&M affiliates may submit research data on behalf of co-investigators from other institutions. The University Libraries will ensure authenticated access to data as directed by the researcher.  Texas A&M NetID authentication is used to verify credentials, and authenticated users are expected to comply with Texas A&M IT Policy and University SAPs
  5. The researcher must agree to a non-exclusive distribution license.  Any copyrights in the research data remain with the copyright holder.

4.  Storage, Backup, and Preservation

  1. The Repository provides storage for the bits associated with the data, the metadata, and the deposit license agreement.  The Libraries will retain the data on disk with a tape backup for the agreed upon time frame.
  2. OAK Trust (Digital Repository) provides basic preservation of the files (bitstreams) and associated metadata as-is for the agreed upon time frame with no active effort made to monitor the format and associated risks or to normalize, transform or migrate the file to another format. The Libraries will provide periodic data refreshment to new storage media, and will provide fixity checks using proven checksum methods.
  3. For long-term, preservation storage, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) PresNet system is available.  PresNet is designed to provide long-term storage of digital information at geographically distributed storage nodes.  The Office of Scholarly Communication also provides this service.

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