Research: Data Storage

Every good project begins with a plan. Planning for data management involves the active organization and maintenance of data throughout the research process, and suitable archiving of the data at the project’s completion. Planning includes consideration of many elements including how to organize data, how to produce metadata, how to store active data, legal and ethical considerations, finding ways to reuse data in other research, citing data, and long term storage and preservation considerations.

When thinking about where to store your working data, consider how much data needs to be stored, whether it needs to be accessible from multiple locations and by multiple users, how you will deal with backups, controlling access, and whether and how you will move it for long-term storage.


OISE researchers are advised to use the available Microsoft Office 365 tools such as OneDrive and SharePoint for your working data storage. Reach out to Education Commons for Office 365 advice, training, and support.

SharePoint can be used to store sensitive information (level 3) as classified on U of T’s data classification table.


SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service, part of the Office 365 suite operated and managed by EASI, part of U of T’s Information Technology Services (ITS).

Sharepoint is available to staff and faculty who are using Office 365.

Departments or units may request, through Education Commons, the creation of a SharePoint site where faculty and staff can collaborate online.

Designated staff members will act as SharePoint site “owners,” designing and managing their site to best serve the needs of the faculty, staff, and students who will use them.

Access to the files in the site, and varying levels of permission to use those files, will be distributed and managed by the site owners.

To request a SharePoint site, send an email request to with a brief description of your project.

Education Commons will support the site owner(s) through the seven steps of this process.

  1. Requesting the site at
  2. Conducting a needs assessment with EC experts
  3. Determining the project’s scope and developing the Sharepoint site
  4. Building the information infrastructure of the site
  5. Training the users of the site
  6. Migrating or uploading data into the site
  7. Ongoing support


Education Commons hosts virtual sessions on the use of SharePoint. Visit our page for information on Education Commons’ virtual sessions.

You can also book a SharePoint consultation with an Education Commons expert.


View ITS’ (U of T’s central IT department) checklist related to the process of preparing to launch your SharePoint site.

View EASI’s SharePoint information pages (but remember that members of the OISE community can address their SharePoint inquiries to Education Commons at

Data storage tools are also available to Canadian researchers through ComputeCanada. The service is free of charge and can provide storage space from 1TB – 20TB.

Data preservation is an activity within archiving that ensures access to, and use of, enduring data sets – this includes making sure data sets can continue to be understood despite changes in technology.
(Source: The CASRAI Dictionary)


You can use one of the following options to deposit your data:

  • Dataverse: A repository supported by the University of Toronto Libraries.
  • Use this tool to find subject-specific research data repositories that cover different academic disciplines.
  • Multidisciplinary data repositories, such as Zenodo or Figshare.


Dataverse: A self-serve data repository where you can create an account and deposit your data for sharing with others.


Introduction to Research Data Management (School of Graduate Studies, Graduate Professional Development)


Below are guides for selecting a data repository:

  • This table lists cost and size limits for University of Toronto Dataverse and multidisciplinary data repositories.
Repository NameCostSize Limits
Dryad$120 for first 20 GB
$50 US for each additional 10 GB
None stated
figshare• 1 GB at no cost
• See other pricing options at the figshare pricing page.
• 250 MB at no cost
Other pricing options allow increased file size limits.
University of Toronto DataverseNo fees2.5 GB per file, multiple files can be uploaded
Zenodo• No fees
• Donations towards sustainability are encouraged
50 GB per dataset

General Repository Comparison (
A tool for researchers to help select the best general repository for their data or other digital objects

Online research data management resources