Research Data Store (RDS) | Cloud Storage | Online Repositories

Storing Research Data

The demands of data-intensive research represent a storage challenge. Various storage solutions available to UCT researchers include secure on-site storage, cloud storage, and online repositories. The eResearch Centre encourages the use of UCT-approved and licensed services for the storage of research data. 

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 researchers.

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.

Secure on-site Storage: The UCT Research Data Store (RDS)

Managed by ICTS,  this infrastructure was established to provide huge pools of research data storage at a discounted price. Secure access to your research data is provided via UCT credentials and data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. 

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.

How to request access to the RDS?

The RDS is a paid service, and you can find details about costs here. Service and infrastructure costs are linked to eRA Pre-Awards to assist in budgeting for research grant applications.

For further enquiries or to request research data storage, email us or log a request on the ICTS Service Desk.

Documentation for users and prospective users of the RDS can be downloaded here - RDS Documentation V1.0

Cloud Storage   

  Microsoft OneDrive Google Drive
Login Login with UCT credentials Login with UCT credentials
Quota 1 TB

Students 500MB 

Staff 5GB

Cost Free to UCT staff and students 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. Data is stored on Google servers which are not located in South Africa.
 Google updated their Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals licence terms of use, which has an impact on storage quotas. If your drive is full, unfortunately, individuals or departments cannot purchase additional storage at this stage. 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 encourage you to move your data  to either a local drive, or to your UCT OneDrive/SharePoint  account, which has 1TB of storage. For transferring large datasets, we recommend using Globus or MS Automate.

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.

UCT-supported online repositories

  ZivaHub Zenodo
Login Login with UCT credentials. Login with UCT credentials.
Quota 20G

50GB limit per record 

Higher quotas can be requested and granted on a case-by-case basis.

Cost Free to UCT staff and students Free to UCT staff and students
Storage Location ZivaHub runs on the Figshare for Institutions platform, which is ISO-certified as a trusted digital repository.  All files uploaded to Zenodo are stored in CERN's EOS service in Switzerland. 
About UCT’s institutional data repository serves as a publishing and access platform to research data and scholarly outputs. ZivaHub simplifies the process of making data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable). Read more about using ZivaHub. Zenodo is a 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. Read more on Zenodo Policies.