Storage & Archive: FAQ

How much space can I get for 'free'?

The University provides up to 3TB of working storage space for a research project, with more capacity available at a cost. See BEAR Research Data Storage Costs for the latest prices.

The University also provides 1TB of archive storage space in UBIRA eData (Birmingham’s institutional research archive) for data underpinning a research paper. This service is managed by the Library.

We also provide the BEAR Archive which offers a tape facility for archiving other valuable research data which is not currently being used and is not required to support a publication. Up to 20TBs is offered ‘for free’ to a project but this is on the basis that data will be very rarely accessed and not in the near future.

How do I get space/register for the service?

The project’s Principle Investigator (PI) will need to complete the 'Register a New BEAR or CaStLeS Project' form. See 'How to Apply' on the BEAR Research Data Store page for more information.

Who is the service for?

  • The BEAR Research Data Store and BEAR Archive are available for all research projects.

For the purposes of BEAR Services what is a research project?

BEAR resources are typically allocated to research projects. Advanced Research Computing take a fairly broad view on what constitutes a research project; it does not need to be funded by an external body to qualify. Essentially a project revolves around an intellectual endeavour to answer a core research question. It may have just one member or many and may include research students and external collaborators who are registered as Contingent Workers.

Is my data safe?

Yes, your data is backed up to tape across multiple data centres on campus though you need to consider what your collaborators will do with any data that you share.

Working Offline: Why can I only see some of my data on the RDS?

To prevent problems with data syncing, please ensure that you do not set your RDS to be available offline. If you require any assistance with turning this setting off then please log a ticket with

Please note that if you have worked on these files, then you must ensure you can make a backup of this before making any changes.

For further information please review our blog post

Is data encrypted in the BEAR Storage Services?

BEAR storage is not encrypted. If your project requires encryption, talk to your College IT Manager or consult the Information Security policies, standards and guidance section of the IT Services Security web pages.

How do I access data in someone else’s project?

Speak to the PI of the project and ask them to request that you are added as a member of their project. The form for them to fill in is here: Add BEAR or CaStLeS Project Members

Can I access data when not on campus?

To access your data in the Research Data Store when you are not on campus, you will need to use the University’s Remote Access Service. See the Knowledge Base article here to find out how to register for the service.

Can I give external collaborators access to my Research Data Store?

Yes, but they will need to have a University of Birmingham username and password, so that we can add them to your BEAR project. If you have BlueBEAR as a service on your BEAR project, they will also be able to access BlueBEAR. As they are not on campus, they will need to use the University VPN to access the storage/BlueBEAR. There is a form to request that a collaborator is made a Contingent worker, along with details on who you should give the form to on the 'Contingent worker' section of the Service Desk. If you are working on a large collaborative project with many external collaborators, you may find Microsoft Teams an easier way to share data with them, but make sure that you still keep the research data in the Research Data Store - see our Knowledge Base article on 'Where should I store my research data' for more details. However you can also ustilise BEAR Data Transfer to collaborate without the need for them to become contingent workers.

Who manages the BEAR services?

Advanced Research Computing (ARC) designs, builds, manages and supports the services - see Research Support for more information.

What must be in my grant application for storage/archive funding?

Suggested summary wording for inclusion in grant applications where storage requirements exceed the default provision can be found at: Research-bids-guidance-model

Where can I get further information or help?

If you have any other questions about the service, we recommend you view the 'How to RDS' webpage to see if your question has already been answered – if you do not find the information you require then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Last Modified: 04 February 2022


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