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  • 22 December 2015

    UNSW Delivers Safe, Searchable and Shareable Research Data Archive with Mediaflux and SGI

    UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales) has launched their Research Data Archive, an institution-wide long-term storage platform designed specifically for researchers to securely search and share data with colleagues, and to comply with research data policies and codes of practice. This platform is integrated with UNSW’s Research Data Management Plans and takes advantage of the advanced metadata management capabilities of Mediaflux and the extensible storage architecture of SGI to make storage both safe and smart.

    The Data Archive allows researchers to keep a complete and traceable copy of their data in a durable and accessible manner. Once files are uploaded, they are locked and versioned. Researchers can use the store to track the full history of their evolving projects and by integrating it with the self-service portal, it gives researchers direct control of who accesses their data. It also gives the University visibility on which research areas are generating and storing large amounts of data.

    The Data Archive is a key element of the UNSW’s long-term data service strategy, which goes beyond simply making simple storage available to providing a storage service aligned to institutional data management practice and other smart data capabilities. The move to a metadata-based store, using Mediaflux, takes care of many of the repetitive data-tagging issues faced by individual researchers and research projects; such as automatically linking project information to individual data files. Advanced metadata tools also makes searching easier to improve re-use of valuable datasets.

    “One of our goals over the next couple of years is to give researchers better tools to mine their own data and to aid data discovery across projects and disciplines” said Luc Betbeder-Matibet, Director Faculty IT Services at UNSW. “The aim is not just to provide file storage but to support research practice at all stages of the research lifecycle. Starting with Archive Data, which is a common problem for all the projects on campus, and aligning this service with our Data Management approaches is one more step we are taking towards making UNSW a great place to carry out data-intensive research work.”

    The service is available to both researchers and UNSW’s Higher Degree Research candidates. It is free to use and does not impose any quotas. It is a joint service launched by UNSW Research Division, the UNSW Library, and UNSW IT.

    “By taking a strategic view of how UNSW data is managed, it is not only building on its reputation as one of the top research-intensive universities globally,” said Jason Lohrey, chief technology officer of Arcitecta: “The University is enhancing the institution’s linkages with industry and, embedding data integrity and lifecycle management into UNSW’s research culture.”

    Using the Data Archive

    Accessing the UNSW Data Archive is simple. Researchers:

    • complete a Research Data Management Plan in which they decide who will access their data and how it will be managed;
    • login into the Data Archive service using their preferred method (a number of interfaces are supported including: Web Browser/HTML5, Mediaflux Desktop, SFTP client, or ATERM command line script); and
    • upload or download their data to folders created by their Research Data Management Plans

    Files uploaded to the Data Archive are automatically tagged with key project metadata. Researchers can also add their own tags and take advantage of the automatic metadata extraction capabilities of Mediaflux to make their data easier to find.

    How Researchers Interact with the Data Archive

    A key factor in the rollout of the UNSW Data Archive service has been the importance of providing researchers with a number of options for uploading and downloading data.

    Often, the size and frequency of data moves will determine which approach is preferred. UNSW provides detailed online guidelines on the Data Archive support website, to assist researchers.

    About the University of NSW

    UNSW Australia is one of the country's leading research and teaching universities. Established in 1949, it is ranked among the top 50 universities in the world, renowned for the quality of its graduates and its world-class research.

    UNSW is a founding member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australia's leading research-intensive universities, and of the prestigious international network Universitas 21. With more than 50,000 students from over 120 countries, it is one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan universities.

    The main UNSW campus is located on a 38-hectare site at Kensington, seven kilometres from the centre of Sydney. Other major campuses are UNSW Art & Design in the Sydney suburb of Paddington and UNSW Canberra at the Australia Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

    In addition to UNSW Canberra at ADFA, UNSW has eight Faculties - Art & Design; Arts & Social Sciences; Built Environment; Business School; Engineering; Law; Medicine; and Science – which offer an extensive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs.

    Visit www.dataarchive.unsw.edu.au/ for more information.

    Download the UNSW case study