Whether or not research data is published as part of a research project, you should always consider backup and storage. In this way you reduce the risk of data loss and find your way around your data more easily.
Data storage and backups of your work files are essential for protection against data loss. A hard disk is easily broken or the laptop with the almost finished essay may be stolen. It is therefore highly advisable to have a copy of files on your workstation, on an external hard drive or USB stick located somewhere safe as well as on additional online services. For example, many universities and data centres offer cloud storage. Network drives of your own institute/department may also be available. There also exist a number of commercial services, such as Dropbox. These may be used as well, although confidential and/or sensitive data should not be entrusted to these providers for reasons of data protection.
Consistent file naming and filing conventions simplify navigation through your data. For example, such rules may be as follows:
Not all data formats are equally suitable for archiving your research data. It is unlikely that less common data formats will still be readable and usable in ten or 20 years. For data formats used exclusively by one commercial provider, there is also a risk that the company will not be able to provide long-term support for the specific data format.
It is therefore strongly recommended to use only such data formats and associated software with a wide user base and, if possible, use open, standardised data formats.
You may find additional information and recommendations on data formats through the following links:
Metadata are data that describe other data. You are probably familiar with titles in library catalogues which represent metadata for books.
The main task of metadata, when describing research data, is to make them searchable and comprehensible. Accordingly, current metadata standards contain bibliographic information such as the title, date of publication or name of the creator. They also contain more detailed information on the contents of the research data, for example in the form of an abstract, the description of the methods applied or the topic.
The issue of metadata is fully described here:
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about a suitable metadata scheme for the description of your own research data.
 Examples for automatic renaming in Windows: "Rename It" https://sourceforge.net/projects/renameit/ or "Renamer" http://www.antp.be/software/renamer and for Mac "NameChanger" https://mrrsoftware.com/namechanger/.