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 on request. More capacity is available but at a cost. See Bids and Costs Guidance for the latest prices.

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

BEAR Archive also 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.

BEAR Data Share (available to research staff and post graduate research students) – the University’s DropBox type solution provides 25GB of space to individuals. It allows you to share files securely with others.

How do I get space/register for the service?

The project’s Principle Investigator (PI) will need to submit an IT Service Desk ticket for RDS and BEAR Archive space by selecting:

  1. Make a request
  2. Under ‘Advanced Research Computing Service’ within the Service Catalogue
    bcastle-projectsSelect BEAR/CaStLeS Projects and fill in the form, giving brief details of the research project and detailing requirements, including all those who should have access to the data.
    Where possible, the PI should supply a University/funder project number though note that projects do not need to hold grants to be eligible for BEAR services. PIs must be current registered members of research staff.

Who is the service for?

  • The Research Data Store and BEAR Archive are available for all research projects.
  • BEAR DataShare provides accounts to individual research staff and post graduate research students

Can I have more that 25GBs in BEAR DataShare?

No. This limit is dictated by the practicalities of the sync n share process.

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

BEAR resources are typically allocated to research projects. ARC take a fairly broad view on what constitutes a research project; it does not need to be funded by an external body to qualify. We encourage enquiry and experimentation. 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 as well as research staff (and external collaborators who are registered as associates in College).

Why use a BEAR DataShare instead of DropBox?

BEAR DataShare provides 25GB of space to share your files securely with others so that you can collaborate, and it is free to research staff and post graduate research students. The data is stored in University data centres, on campus.

Is my data safe?

Yes, your data is mirrored between two data centres (based on-campus) and backed up to tape though you need to consider what your collaborators will do with the data you share.

Is data encrypted in the BEAR data stores?

ARC does not encrypt data in the BEAR data stores.
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.

How do I share data with Collaborators?

To share your documents and small files (where this is permitted by your DMP, any ethics approvals, your funders etc) you can use BEAR DataShare our ‘sync and share’ service. This is particularly convenient for sharing with external collaborators or those off site. You can also provide one-time links to specific documents.

As BEAR DataShare accounts are specific to the individual, it is recommended that you do not rely on BEAR DataShare as the primary data store for a project but use the RDS where a project can request 3 TBs or 120 times a BEAR DataShare quota.

Can I access data when not on campus?

To access your data in the RDS when you are not on campus, you will need to use the University’s Remote Access Service. To register for this service, use the IT Service Desk. Go to ‘Request’ and select ‘Remote Access Service’ and complete the form.

You can access DataShare via the internet at

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found on the BEAR webpage by [clicking here]

Who manages the BEAR services?

Advanced Research Computing (ARC) designs, builds, manages and supports the services.

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:

Who can I talk to and how do I get help?

Please log a call via the IT Service Desk  to let us know how we can help. For more advice on getting in touch see our Contact Us page.

Last Modified: 8 August 2018


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