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 DSpace system, developed by MIT and Hewlett Packard and now with more than 900 installations worldwide.  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 Digital Services and 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.  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.
  6. Everything stored in OAK Trust (Digital Repository) will be retrievable.
  7. OAk Trust (Digital Repository) supports as many known file formats as possible as long as an appropriate file viewer for the submitted data is freely available on the Internet.

3.  Storage, Backup, and Preservation

  1. Data stored in OAK Trust (Digital Repository) will be preserved as is, using current data management techniques and best practices for digital preservation.
  2. OAK Trust (Digital 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.
  3. 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.

For more information, contact:

Bruce Herbert
Head of Digital Services and Scholarly Communication