Research Data - Support and Guidance

We provide you with support when documenting, storing and archiving research data, and making it accessible to others. Here you will find guidance on the management of research data and on what you need to consider at the time of application, at the start, during and at the end of the project.

What support is available? 

Your Dalarna University colleagues who work with the archives, in the library, with IT and with legal matters can assist you with the management of your research data. They offer these services as part of the university-wide research support that is now in place. You can contact them for assistance if you have questions with such matters as the following:

  • drawing up data management plans,
  • documenting data during the research process,
  • choosing a storage location for research data,
  • choosing a file format,
  • archiving research data,
  • publishing research data,
  • applying regulations related to the management of research data.

About research data

What is research data and what is metadata?   

This is the definition of research data and metadata as given in Swedish by the Swedish Research Council (our translation).

Research data can come in a number of types and formats, such as results from measurements and experiments, observations from field work, responses to questionnaires, interviews, pictures, films and texts [...] the term “research data” here is used in a broad sense to mean digital information that is created or collected so that it can be analysed for the purposes of research.

Research data is described and documented using various forms of metadata, which means data about data. Metadata can comprise descriptive or contextual information or information about the origin of the data (provenance), such as how variables are defined, how data is structured and how different amounts of data relate to each other, as well as information about how the data has been produced and by whom, or if special software is required to read or analyse data.

What is the meaning of open access to research data?

Open access to research data means research data...

  • that is financed by public funds and
  • that has been created during the research process and
  • that may be made accessible according to legislation

... must be published with free (open) accessibility on the internet.  

By opening and sharing your data, you promote the transparency and reliability of your research because other researchers can then apply it and reuse it. 

Access to research data should be as open as is possible and as limited as is necessary. Exceptions to open publishing on the internet are made when, for example, there are legal or ethical aspects to consider, such as when research data is covered by confidentiality or when it contains personal data or copyrighted material.

More about open access to research data

In a Swedish government proposition from 2016, a goal was set stating that the transition to open access to research data should be fully implemented by 2026.

In 2017, Sweden’s government commissioned the Swedish Research Council to coordinate the national work to establish open access to research data. 

Learn more about open access to research data at (Swedish Research Council handbook)

What do the FAIR principles mean? 

FAIR is an internationally recognised concept that has 15 guiding principles for research data and data management. According to the so-called FAIR principles, research data must be:  

  • Findable: how do you find the data?
  • Accessible: how do you gain access to the data?
  • Interoperable: are data and metadata interoperable?
  • Reusable: is it possible for others to use the data in the future?

In 2016, the EU adopted conclusions that encouraged member states to follow the FAIR principles in their research programmes and funding principles.

Read more about the FAIR Data Principles on the Swedish National Data Service website

Regulations for research data management

The management of research data is regulated by, for example, legislation on ethical review, personal data/data protection, copyright laws, public access to information and confidentiality, and archiving regulations.

Read more about the lawful bases for the processing of personal data in research:

Swedish National Data Service (SND)

The Swedish Research Council - Good Research Practice

Project application and project start

Data management plan

What is a data management plan?

A data management plan documents and describes how research material will be handled, organised, stored and made accessible throughout the research process. Well-structured data material also helps others to navigate the material before they continue with the research, and it also facilitates final archiving. Documentation may differ depending on the subject area: as a project develops, the content of the data management plan will also change.

Producing a data management plan - Swedish Research Council

Data Management Plan Checklist - SND

Science Europe Report with Core Requirements for Data Management Plans

Why a data management plan?

Both public and private research funders have begun placing demands on data management plans and on making research data accessible – if the legislation allows for this.

This is about research data being managed in the correct way, about researchers being able to build on existing data, and about the efficient use of the funding provided by funding bodies. 

Often, funding bodies require that a complete data management plan be drawn up for the application to be granted funds: often they require only a short "general plan" at the application stage.  

Processing of personal data in research

Since May 25, 2018, the processing of personal data in research has been regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Read more in the Dalarna University guide on personal data and data protection (in Swedish)

During the project period

Storage options for digital research data

  • When everyone involved in the project is a Dalarna University employee
    Your project will get its own catalogue on the University server. You can decide for yourself who should have access rights to the catalogue. Larger projects can have several catalogues with separate access rights. This set-up is suitable for all types of information, both standard information and personal and/or sensitive personal data.

  • When at least one person in the project is not a Dalarna University employee
    Your project will have its own place in Microsoft Teams with file functions and collaboration functions. Note, however, that you cannot use this for the management of personal data in the project.

  • When the project contains sensitive personal data and at least one person in the project is not a Dalarna University employee
    You can create your own separate desktop via the Microsoft Terminal Server where the project can process data with standardised software such as SPSS. Contact the IT department by emailing to discuss this. 

    Rules for the storage of digital information

Storage of non-digital (analogue) research data

All research data is considered critical for the University and should therefore be stored securely (under lock and key) when not in use: i.e., when you leave the room for lunch or after office hours. Your room must, of course, also be locked. The type of cabinet you use to store your research data securely depends on how sensitive the data is. Unless otherwise specified, you can use a standard wooden or metal office cabinet.

  • Documents with personal identity numbers
    Store these in locked shutter cabinets or metal cabinets that do not have a special security class. Contact if you need such a cabinet.

  • Confidential documents/sensitive data
    Lock up in an approved secure filing cabinet in your office/department.
    Contact if you need a secure cabinet.

These cabinets are not intended for long-term storage; instead, they are intended to prevent unauthorised access while the data is being used: i.e., the documents are used daily and therefore it is not yet time to store them in the central archive.

Researchers should regularly check through their material to assess what they no longer need on a daily basis. They should then send the material they are no longer using to the archives for secure storage. Contact university archives before sending in material

How do I publish research data?

Once you have reached the point where you plan to publish all or parts of your research data, you can register datasets via the SND data organisation and information system DORIS.

See information on

Search the SND national research data catalogue

Guides for good management of research data on

Final stages of project

What research data should be archived?

As a general rule, primary material/basic data must be retained and stored; however, in some cases it can be destroyed, but not until after ten years have elapsed.

The processing material (processed research data) is in many cases considered to be working material and part of the work process. This can be deleted on an ongoing basis. However, note that this material must be retained if it is needed to understand context or to provide factual information, or if it for other reasons is needed for the results to be understood.

In addition to the researcher's own assessment of what data must be retained, the researcher can consult a directive from the National Archives (RA-FS 1999:1) for guidance. It states that research data must be retained if it is judged to have continued interdisciplinary value, to have value for another research field, to be of great scientific-historical, cultural-historical or personal-historical value, or to be of great public interest.

For example:

  • particularly extensive primary material that is unique or that can only be recreated with great effort;
  • records and databases of data with a particularly high level of coverage and controllability;
  • documents that highlight the historical development of an academic discipline;
  • documents that highlight the academic environment in a cultural-historical perspective;
  • documents that highlight the work of a notable person; and
  • research that has attracted a lot of attention in the public debate or that can be expected to do so when the research results have been more widely disseminated.

How should research data be archived?

Archiving is done when you submit the data to the the university archives. Contact the archivist ahead of time:

Digital documents (though not all) can also be archived at the University: for example, recordings and other digital files.

Please note that publication or depositing in a national or international data archive does not eliminate the need to archive your data at the University. The archive also receives research data for storage that can be destroyed.

Why should research data be archived?

It should be archived so that

  • it can be reused in new research;
  • it can be audited: for example, in the event of a review or upon suspicion of scientific misconduct;
  • the researcher and the higher education institution where the research was conducted can have secure long-term access to the information; and
  • laws and regulations are followed.

Research carried out as part of an employee’s work at an authority, such as the University, results in official documents (allmänna handlingar). This is the case with research data as well. Official documents can then be categorised as either public or secret – i.e., confidential.

Dalarna University's publication database DiVA

Open Access: Start (Dalarna University webpage)


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