Preparing Your Data for Preservation

You will need to transfer your data and related documentation in a form that facilitates long-term storage and reuse for secondary research. In the ideal situation, your research project started by formulating a data management plan that foresees future data preservation and availability.

Fundamental steps in data preparation:

  • To comply with personal data protection laws, your data must be anonymised (any variables indicating names, addresses or telephone numbers of individuals must be removed).
  • Description in line with existing conventions is required to make your data and its individual segments comprehensible for other users. On one hand, one should be able to easily link your research instrument to data (typically, which variable is based on which questionnaire item). On the other hand, quality description of any variables subsequently constructed and derived by your research team is required (ideally, for example, your data will be accompanied by the syntax used in constructing those variables).

Data format: CSDA can accept data in any format if it can be converted to standard formats used for preserving data in archival databases. CSDA workers responsible for negotiating the depositor’s data submission are also responsible for ingesting your data in a form that ensures their integrity and allows for both long-term preservation in the original format and convertibility to formats used for preserving data in CSDA’s internal storage. In the ideal case, it is from the very beginning that your data have been processed in the same format in which they will subsequently be preserved in the data archive.