Funders have different criteria for how long research data should be kept after a project has finished.  RCUK guidelines state that  "Data with acknowledged long term value should be preserved and remain accessible and useable for future research...data that underpins findings in publications should be accessible for at least ten years after publication. Data related to potential future legal liabilities may need to be stored for substantially longer"

Choosing which data to archive is subjective.  Ideally, you should consider what data should be retained as part of your data management plan.  Things to consider are:

  • Long-term value of the data
  • Does it underpin a published research output?
  • Legal requirements for retention

More information

Digital Curation Centre Guide: Five steps to decide what data to keep 

Heritage and Information Governance Toolkit