BEAR DataShare


BEAR DatashareBEAR DataShare will be retired on 21st January 2022.
For options on where to migrate data to, see

BEAR DataShare is a file synchronisation and sharing service provided by Advanced Research Computing. Based on PowerFolder - the service allows you to securely save and sync your files between your devices and to work collaboratively with other researchers anywhere in the world, from any device. A web portal is provided for access as well as an application (Client) that can be installed on other devices which allows updates to automatically be synchronised.

What's included?

  • 50GB storage capacity (for each eligible user)
  • Web portal:
  • Hosted in data centres on campus
  • Share and send files easily via any device or web browser (tested up to 8GB)
  • Autosync your folders
  • Recover documents without the need to contact IT Services
  • Self-administer your collaborators and the access they have to your data
  • Ability to set a password to restrict access to a file
  • Limit the number of times a file can be accessed
  • Give expiry dates to your data

Who can use the service? 

BEAR Datashare is primarily available to University research staff and postgraduate research students. Based on data coming from the HR systems, accounts are automatically created for these staff and students. External collaborators can use the service to access files shared with them by University research staff and students. They can also upload files to a shared folder if read/write permission is granted, however they are not given any storage quota so cannot create their own folders. 

What platforms are supported?

BEAR DataShare Client Software is available for the following systems (see the Installation Guide for Windows and Mac for further information): 

  • Windows (10 / 2012 / 2012 R2) 
  • Linux (Debian, Redhat) 
  • Mac OS (10.8 and higher) 

Compatible web browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari (OS X version 10.9)

Is there a charge?

No. The service is centrally funded as part of BEAR and provided free of charge. 

Why is UK hosting important?

The security of your data is important. Advanced Research Computing works hard to maintain and secure our multisite datastores. Many existing cloud services that are in use lack basic security features and store the data in varying foreign jurisdictions; some not GDPR compliant and potentially exposing the data to significant risk.

Where should I store research data?

Although you may expect to produce less than 50GB over the course of a research project, BEAR DataShare is not intended as a store for research data. Instead, we have the Research Data Store which provides up to 3TB of data per project and which can be accessed off campus by using the Remote Access Service. Collaborators can also be given access if they have a Contingent Worker account.

Sensitive data on BEAR DataShare

Personal data and the General Data Protection Regulations

Research data that collects any kind of personal information is subject to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which states that personal data must not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (the European Union member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), unless the country or territory to which the data are to be transferred provides an adequate level of protection for personal data.

Whilst we understand that many cloud services do operate under the Safe Harbour scheme, we are not generally notified if an external service has lapsed its compliance. To be sure that your data is compliant, you should use BEAR Datashare.

Can I use BEAR DataShare to store/share sensitive data?

See our ‘Guidance on storing sensitive data’.

Are there any regulations for the service?

Users must adhere to the IT policies and procedures for the University of Birmingham 

Expiration of user accounts

Due to the limited number of user accounts we have available, accounts will expire through non-use in the following ways:

  • If a registered University of Birmingham user of BEAR DataShare has not logged into this service for 2 years, their account (and any associated data, files, folders etc.) will be removed from BEAR DataShare.
  • If an external (invited) user has not logged into BEAR DataShare in the last 6 months then their account will be removed.

How to use BEAR DataShare

All research staff and postgraduate research students have their own BEAR DataShare account automatically created for them. To access the service login to with your University username and associated password. See our user and installation guides in the 'User Guides' section for help on getting started. We also have weekly drop-in sessions where we can answer questions on using BEAR DataShare. 

If you are unable to login then please contact us.

Mailing Lists

There are times when the service will be down due to essential maintenance. To enable us to keep you informed of service downtime, when you access the service you will be added to the beardatashare-announce mailing list. If you do not login to the service for 12 months, you will be automatically removed from the mailing list. 

Canvas Course - How to use BEAR DataShare

We now have a Canvas course which takes you through how to use BEAR DataShare via the new web version and the Client. University of Birmingham staff and students can self-enroll on the course here

User Guides

Further help - FAQ's

If you have any other questions about the service, we recommend you view the BEAR Datashare Frequently Asked Question list to see if your question has already been answered -  if you do not find the information you require then please don't hesitate to contact us.


Professional Services