The demands of data-intensive research represent a challenge for diverse scientific communities. Today, some areas of science are facing hundred- to thousand-fold increases in data volumes, from satellites, telescopes, microscopes, high-throughput instruments, sensor networks, accelerators and supercomputers, compared to the volumes generated only a decade ago. Other research fields also face major data management challenges. In almost every laboratory, ‘born digital’ data proliferate in files, spreadsheets or databases stored on hard drives, digital notebooks, websites, blogs and wikis. The management, curation and archiving of these digital data are becoming increasingly burdensome for research scientists.

Moreover, The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) requires the reconsideration of research data storage options to ensure the protection of personal information relating to data subjects.

We are currently in the process of updating UCT’s catalogue of ‘storage as a service’ options, but the various storage solutions available include cloud storage, secure on-site storage, and online repositories. The eResearch Centre encourages the use of UCT approved and licensed services for each of these solutions. These include:

Cloud Storage                                    

  Microsoft OneDrive Google Drive
Login Login with UCT credentials. Login with UCT credentials.
Quota 1 TB 5 GB*
Cost It is free to UCT staff and students It is free to UCT staff and students
Storage location Data is stored in Microsoft data centres that are located in South Africa, which makes this the most POPIA-compliant cloud storage option available at UCT. This does not necessarily mean that it meets security requirements mandated by funders etc. Data is not backed up by UCT. Google data is hosted in the USA. Data is not backed up by UCT.

*Google updated their Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals licence terms of use, which has an impact on storage quotas. Storage quotas have decreased to a maximum of 5 GB.

If your drive is full, unfortunately, individuals or departments cannot purchase additional storage at this stage. Therefore, we encourage you to delete unnecessary or historical data that is no longer needed. Remember to empty your recycle bin once done.

You can continue to use Google Drive storage if your storage needs are below the quota, although we do encourage you to move your data  to either a local drive, or to your UCT OneDrive for Business account, which has 1TB of storage. For transferring large datasets, we recommend using Globus or MS Automate, and we encourage the use of MS OneDrive or SharePoint instead of Google Drive.

Secure on-site Storage

UCT Research Data Store

This option is managed by ICTS, and this infrastructure was established to provide huge pools of research data storage at a discounted price. The data is stored on Dell MD3060 storage arrays, hosted in the highly secure Upper Campus Data Centre. A copy of the data is replicated to UCT storage array in the Neotel (Liquid Telecom) data centre in Diep River, Cape Town. Secure access to your data is provided via your UCT credentials and data can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

UCT Research Data Store is a paid service, and you can find details about costs here. Log an eResearch request to set up storage.

How to request pricing and access to UCT's research data storage platform?

Service and infrastructure costs are linked to eRA Pre-Awards to assist in budgeting for research grant applications, and the details are listed on the eResearch website. For further enquiries or to request research data storage contact UCT eResearch, or log a request on the ICTS Service Desk.

Online storage in a repository

Researchers can store and publish research data in an online repository. All recommended repositories will generate a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), which is a secure and persistent identifier. This makes it easier for researchers to comply with institutional, NRF and other funder requirements. Once data is uploaded, researchers can assign licenses and control how their research outputs are accessed.

Importantly, UCT doesn’t mandate a specific repository, and depending on the discipline, there are various discipline-specific repositories to choose from. UCT’s recommended online repository is ZivaHub, which we offer support and guidance for. ZivaHub (Figshare) is an excellent generalist repository and is suitable for the widest range of data types and formats.  

Some funders may require using a specific repository, and other repositories may be more attractive because they are discipline-specific. We recommend using, an international registry of research data repositories, to search for a suitable alternative repository.

  ZivaHub Zenodo
Login Login with UCT credentials. Login with UCT credentials.
About UCT’s institutional data repository is an online, institutional data repository that serves as a publishing and access platform to research data and scholarly outputs. It is powered by Figshare for Institutions and is available to all students and staff at UCT. Using ZivaHub also simplifies the process of making data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable). Moreover, it has been shown that sharing data increases citations and boosts research metrics. Zenodo is another widely-used generalist repository. It was built and developed by researchers, to ensure that everyone can join in Open Science. There is an active UCT Community on Zenodo.