Archiving research

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Why archive research?

To be able to verify research results and handle the administrative processes that allows the researcher to do their research the correct documentation has to be preserved. To start up a new project, get funding and ethical approval during the progression of the study and verify the results one has to preserve documents regarding funding, ethical approvals and the research itself.

To archive research also enables us in the future to go back to the material and get an understanding of the research that has been done at KI, within a specific field and by the individual researcher him/herself.

How is a research project delineated?

The National Archives of Sweden (Riksarkivet) define a research project as being delineated by a specific purpose and timeframe, and often connected to a certain assignment and/or individuals.  Because a study is often funded from many different sources a better possible delineation/end-point for a research project is when the results are published.  The publication is thereby what delineates one project from another.

Who does what?

It is the lead researcher who knows the material best and it is therefore they who should do the initial sorting of the research material before the documents are handed over to the registrar/archivist for archiving.

How is the sorting done?

Research documents should be divided as follows:

  • Registered research documents
  • Research documents which aren’t registered but still have to be preserved
  • Research documents which can be discarded after a period of time. Different document types are to be discarded at different times and therefore have to be labeled with the respective throw-away dates. (See the document plan for specific instructions)

How do I know which documents to archive and which ones to discard?

In the document plan (process 4) are listed which document types are to be archived or discarded. In the document you also find information of which documents are registered and which ones go in the personal archive.

Digital documents

A large part of the information flow today is digital. In cases where you have applications, decisions, publications and other document types which have to be preserved these have to be printed out on paper.

Documents which can be discarded does not have to be printed out but can be kept digital until the time of destruction. (For example research data which can be discarded after 10 years)

Regardless of the digital documents are to be archived or discarded it is important to store the information in a safe way. Here are some tips:

  • Store digital data on a secure server with backup functionality. (For example the department central server.)
  • Have a good folder structure  (See “Folder structure for digital research documentation” )
  • Metadata -  Label the material so that even a layperson can find information about:
  1. Project name
  2. Name of doctoral student and/or lead researcher
  3. Dates of the study
  4. Separation between disposable material and material that is to be archived
  5. Date when disposable material can be discarded (10 years)
  • Make sure the digital file formats are kept readable
  1. Convert/migrate/update or risk losing the informational content.
  2. ​Use open, non-program-dependent formats

As of yet we do not have a digital archive and the central archive can therefore not take care of your digital research documents which are to be archived. Guidelines for ELN are currently being issued.

What do I do if I want to preserve a larger amount of primary/raw data?

Research data can be discarded 10 years after the project is finished. But, according to the National Archives of Sweden’s provision  (RA-FS 1999:1 § 7) , research data should preserved if it is deemed to.

  • Have a lasting interdisciplinary value or value for another research area
  • Be of great historical value in terms of science, culture or individuals
  • Be of great interest to the public
  • It is you as researcher together with you department/unit who can decide whether your research data should be preserved.

How should the material be submitted?

  • Well-arranged in binders or boxes
  • No paperclips, folders, post-its, duplicates
  • Print one side only.
  • Label it! – label the material with what type of document it contains, which project it belongs to, name of the researcher, volume number and date.
  • Disposable material should be labeled with the date it can be discarded. (10 years after project is finished)

What if I want to keep my documents?

The originals have to be archived but you can always make copies or borrow the originals from the archive.

Should I include the printed thesis?

No, it is already archived.


General questions about archiving at KI:

Questions about archiving routines at your department: Turn to your local document controller or registrar.