BEAR Archive

(formerly known as the Research Data Archive or RDA)

 BEAR Archive@640px

Archiving data associated with Research Projects

Note that the BEAR Archive is not a service for the storage of data associated with publications for the purposes of satisfying open data requirements. Instead, you should use UBIRA eData, the University of Birmingham Institutional Research Archive.

The purpose of the BEAR Archive is to store valuable data associated with your research project (current or completed) which may be needed in the future but which is not currently being actively used and is not needed to support a publication.

Data stored in the BEAR Archive will be archived to tape and retained for 10 years. The data will only be accessible upon an application for restoration by an appropriate person (e.g. the PI). After this period the data will be permanently deleted. If you require the archive to last for a different length of time then please specify it clearly in your request and we will discuss options with you.

The Technical Solution

The solution uses an enterprise class ‘data protection platform’ (software) and tape storage media. It has been created to be fault tolerant, with data duplicated between two data centres to minimise the risk of data loss. Tapes are periodically and automatically verified to help maintain the integrity of the data. All tape media is encrypted as data is written to the tape. The use of tape media provides a low-cost storage medium for long term retention of data.

Data is automatically expired from the archive once the retention period specified at injest has passed - see our BEAR Archive management policy.

How to Apply for the Archive

Applications for storage in the BEAR Archive should be made by the project’s Principal Investigator (PI), using the IT Service Desk (

  1. Complete the 'Other BEAR Request form' adding 'Archive' as the subject.
  2. Under 'Request Details' describe which folder needs to be archived from your Research Data Store
  3. Give a brief desciption explaining why the data should be archived and the minimum retention period.
  4. Specify any special requirements or conditions; this being particularly relevant if the data to be archived contains sensitive, personal or commercial content.
  5. Finally, each applicant will be asked to confirm the BEAR Archive meets the requirements of the project’s Data Management Plan.

Note that as an archive solution, the data will be removed from the active storage system and access to the data in future will require a request via the IT Service Desk. As the solution is intended for cold storage of data, recalling data can take a significant amount of time.

Archive Costs and Funding

The University funds a reasonable allocation for the archive requirements of projects i.e. for storage capacity to retain and make available the data associated with research projects. However, IT Services reserves the right to charge for exceptional requirements i.e. more than 20TBs. Funding for additional space should be directly included in the research bid.

Sample text for an application is given below:

'The University provides a standard archive storage allocation for the retention of data associated with the project, however if this project is likely to generate data in excess of the 20TB allocation there will be a charge. The cost charged by the University is currently £40 per additional TB for up to 10 years storage.'


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