1. Preparing a DMP
2. Documenting and Organizing Data
3. Storing Data and Data Security
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Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do not use generic file names that may conflict when moved from one location to another (e.g. ‘Data.csv’). Ensure filenames are independent of your location.
  • Do not use special characters in a filename suchas *8 * % S£]1{! @* The characters are often used for specific tasks in different operating systems.
  • Do not assume that the software application or instrument uses case dependency when naming or renaming files. Instead, assume that TANGO, Tango and tango are the same, even though some file systems may consider them as different.
  • Make sure that file names outlast the file creator who originally named the file.
  • Consider how scalable your file naming policy needs to be, e.g, if you want to include the project number, don’t limit your project number to two digits, or you can only have ninety nine projects.
  • Format dates consistently.
  • Use fixed and short coded elements to build your filename and have a separate document explaining these coded elements. Determining content from filenames is efficient and easy this way. When developing a file naming strategy, the following elements, captured in a short code, could be considered:
    • Date of creation
    • Name of creator
    • Description of content
    • Name of research team/department associated with the data
    • Publication date
    • Version number
    • Project number
  • Use hyphens or underscores instead of full-stops or spaces because, like special characters, these are parsed differently on different systems;
  • Keep file names short and relevant. Generally, about 25 characters is a sufficient length to capture enough descriptive information for naming a data file;
  • Where possible, use default file extensions to accurately reflect the software environment in which the file was created and the physical format of the file. E.g.. use .por for SPSS portable files, .xls or .xlsx for Excel files, .ssd or .sas7bdat for SAS files, .txt for text files, etc.

An example of a good file name is for instance 20160912_Pr01_WP4_MA.txt (date, project 1, workpackage 4, Microarray data)