To maximise sharing, use and re-use of your research data ensure that your data are accessible, understandable and usable. Data files should be organised and named in a consistent and practical system to make it easier to find and keep track of data. This can save time and frustration by helping you find files quickly, reduce errors from confusion between file versions, understand the data you hold and identify any gaps, identify duplicated data files and provide verification – evidence of logical processes and methods.

The UKDS has detailed guidance on File Formatsfile structuresversioningdocumentation and metadata.

Not all research data is digital. Hand drawn sketches, hand-written laboratory notebooks, journals and other materials are at particular risk of loss. Digitisation can help organise and protect non-digital data: See this guide for researchers on How to deal with non-digital data.