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Collaborative working

In this section:

  1. Research data management considerations for collaborative working
  2. Collaboration using University managed systems

Research data management considerations for collaborative working

When working collaboratively on a research project, the main considerations for research data management concern:

  • Infrastructure
    • Which shared storage for files and datasets will be provided?
    • Will different storage options be required for different types of data?
    • How will collaborators access files and datasets?
    • How will data be transferred between collaborators and institutions?
    • Where will the data be preserved?
  • Administration and procedures
    • Who is going to take the lead for writing a data management plan?
    • Who will take the lead for addressing potential ethical/legal issues?
    • What will conventions for file naming and versioning be?
    • Which strategies for documenting data and metadata will be used?
    • Which backup procedures will be followed?
  • Responsibilities. Who will be responsible for
    • collecting the data;
    • ensuring consistency in data collection/acquisition;
    • documenting procedures and data;
    • maintaining data storage and backup;
    • data sharing and preservation?
  • Legal and ethical obligations
    • Are data or material transfer agreements required?
    • Do legal or ethical agreements (e.g participant consent) permit the sharing of data between collaborators?
    • Are there contractual obligations which determine how data can be shared?
    • Who will own the intellectual property to the data?

The Research Data Management team will be happy to discuss the options that are available to you for your research project. Additional information can also be found on the UK Data Service website.


Collaboration using University managed systems

Internal collaborators: University network storage

The University's central file space for groups and units is well suited for sharing and working together on data and documents with collaborators from within the University. It can be accessed from anywhere within the University or by using a VPN connection from outside the University network.

Additionally, research data storage is available upon request. Each principal investigator is entitled to 0.5TB of free, centrally managed storage. Additional storage can be purchased for a one-off cost of £600/TB from IT Services.

A University of St Andrews computer account is required to access the central file store. However, in some cases, external collaborators can be provided with a sponsored account to access the University's central file store. IT Services will be able to assist with this.

Internal and external collaborators: OneDrive

The University offers OneDrive for Business to all staff and students, which can be used to share and collaborate on files with internal as well as external collaborators. Data protection legislation and data security may make this type of storage unsuitable for some data (see Information Classification). In these cases, we recommend the use the University network storage.


Please don't hesitate to contact the RDM team for further information and advice.