Data preservation consists of a series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued stability and access to data for as long as necessary. For data to be preserved, at minimum, it must be stored in a secure location, stored across multiple locations (e.g. ‘Rule of Three’), and saved in open file formats that will likely have the greatest utility in the future. Part of the preservation process can include depositing data in an institutional, discipline-specific, or generalist data repository, all which allow for publication and preservation.
The new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy requires data be preserved and shared, so a medical researcher submits their COVID data to the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), as listed in the Open Domain-Specific Data Sharing Repository.
For data preservation to be effective, it is necessary to use research data management practices, follow the FAIR Principles, and, if possible, submit to a data repository. Here are some resources that can help with that process:
The NIH maintains a list of NIH supported repositories.
Data Curation Primers from the Data Curation Network are peer-reviewed, living documents that detail a specific subject, disciplinary area or curation task and that can be used as a reference to curate research data.