Identifying Data for Permanent Retention

A small percentage of data and related records may be identified for permanent storage as a part of the historical record of a discipline, institution, or as intellectual property. Records eligible for permanent retention may be those that:

  • document a breakthrough
  • are generated by a lab or individual who had great impact on the field
  • are highly reusable in a particular area of research

Difference Between Archiving and Long-term Storage

Permanent Retention or Archiving

Permanent retention or archiving is the ongoing migration of electronic formats and storage costs, as well as care, maintenance, and access services for the records in perpetuity.

  • Often a significant investment for an institution
  • This is not the same as ensuring long-term storage or preservation of research data

Long-term Storage and Preservation

Long-term storage and preservation seeks to ensure that research data will be available to those who seek it (e.g. your sponsors, the public, other researchers) in a persistent and accessible format for the specific period of time outlined by your funder and parent institution

Appraising Data for Historical Context

In determining whether research data and related records are of historic value, the following questions are considered:

  • What are the essential records required to understand this research data and project?
  • What was the impact of this research on its discipline?
  • What had been the impact of the researcher in his or her field?
  • Is the research data replicable?
  • Is there an index to the data? How would future researchers understand the research?
  • Has this research been published? Where?
  • Has the data been kept in a research repository?
  • Are there additional records related to the data?
  • Are there any security or access issues?
  • Does someone else own the data?
  • Are there any related records which should accompany the data?

Services for LMA

The Center for the History of Medicine (CHoM) at Countway Library is one of the world's leading centers for the study of the history of health and medicine. CHM collects, maintains, and provides access to records of enduring value for historical and research purposes, including research records and data.