Name It! Store It! Protect It!: A Systems Approach to Managing Data in Research Core Facilities

J Biomol Tech. 2017 Dec;28(4):137-141. doi: 10.7171/jbt.17-2804-003. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


As the capabilities of technology increase, so do the production of data and the need for data management. The need for data storage at many academic institutions is increasing exponentially. Technology is expanding rapidly, and institutions are recognizing the need to incorporate data management that can be available for future data sharing as a critical component of institutional services. The establishment of a process to manage the surge in data storage is complex and often hindered by not having a plan. Simple file naming-nomenclature-is also becoming ever more important to leave an established understanding of the contents in a file. This is especially the case as research experiences turnover from research projects and personnel. The indexing of files consistently also helps to identify past work. Finally, the protection of the data contents is becoming increasing challenging. As the genomic field expands, and medicine becomes more personalized, the identification of methods to protect the contents of data in both short- and long-term storage needs to be established so as not to risk the potential of revealing identifiable information. This is often something we do not consider in a nonclinical research environment. The need for establishing basic guidelines for institutions is critical, as individual research laboratories are unable to handle the scope of data storage required for their own research. In addition to the immediate needs for establishing guidelines on data storage and file naming and how to protect information, the recognition of the need for specialized support for data management supporting research cores and laboratories at academic institutions is becoming a critical component of institutional services. Here, we outline some case studies and methods that you may be able to adopt at your own institution.

Keywords: data management; data security; data sharing; file naming.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Computer Security
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval*
  • Systems Analysis