Perform your research

Searching and using scientific information

When doing research you will need time and effort in searching and using scientific literature and, in some cases, finding adequate sources of secondary data. 

For support contact the information specialist of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.

Literature sources

The digital library is your starting point for finding scientific information about your research topic. You can use the FindUT search tool to discover the collection of the UT library, most of it full text online available. Furthermore the digital library presents an overview of available literature databases and other (scientific) information sources. You can also find advice about searching for scientific information per discipline. 

Data sources

To discover data relevant for your research have a look at the following portals and/or data providers:

Table: data sources

name

short description

geographical coverage

disciplines/fields

Open Data Nederland

Descriptions of Dutch open datasets in a single searchable catalog

NL

all

Data.Gov and Socrata / Open Data Network (commercial service)

U.S. Government’s open data

US

government

Dataportaal van de Nederlandse overheid

Dutch government’s data (like CBS-data)

NL

government

European Union Open Data Portal

Open data from EU institutions, agencies and other bodies (like Eurostat)

EU

all

CERN Open Data Portal

Data, including accompanying software and documentation, produced through the research performed at CERN.

World

physics

Data Portals

A Comprehensive List of Open Data Portals from around the World

World

all

Open Access Directory

List of repositories and databases for open data

World

all

Google Public Data Explorer - Public Data sets

Public data search engine

World

governments/ international organizations

4TU.ResearchData

Research data from technical universities in the Netherlands

World

technical/beta sciences

ArcGIS Open Data

Open data available from ArcGIS community

World

geomapping

OpenAIRE / Zenodo

Research data from EU funded projects

World

all

Registry of Research Data Repositories

Overview of research data repositories 

World

all

Figshare

Research data shared by individual researchers 

World

all

DataCite Search

Metadata search facility for research data

World

all

DANS-Easy

Social sciences research data in the Netherlands

World

social sciences/humanities

B2Find

Metadata search facility for research data

World

all

Dryad

Research data linked to publications

World

all

GitHub

Open datasets in public domains 

World

all

ICSU World Data System

Metadata search facility for research data

World

geosciences

Storing and sharing research data

Storing and sharing refers to the dynamic phase of the data. As soon as your research datasets are stable and static they can be archived for long-term preservation. For more information see: archiving research data.

Storing research data for individuals

Many researchers use the local drive on their laptop or computer as the main storage medium for research data, without automatic backup or strict backup procedures. However, data on the local drive may be lost in case of malfunctioning or because the device is lost or stolen. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you save data to the UT central hard disks. 

Loss of personal or confidential data must be considered as a data breach. To avoid data breach always use an encrypted folder or encrypted data storage. For more information see: Cyber Safety.

Personal/individual UT Network storage

When you need to store data secure and reliable for individual use, you can use the network drive called "Home directory", also known as M:-drive, on the UT central hard disks.

Documents stored within the Home directory can’t be shared with others. The path to this network drive is \\AD.utwente.nl\HOME\<loginname> (for example \\AD.utwente.nl\HOME\wamozart).

Sometimes you accidentally overwrite or remove files. You can restore these files yourself in Windows Explorer (right click on the file: Restore previous versions)

Data are saved for one month on redundant hard disks. This backup will only be used for calamities like server failure or broken hard disks. It will not be used for restoring individual files. For more information see: Backups for employees.

Storing and sharing research data for projects and groups

Group/share UT Network storage

When you need to store and share research data, you can use the network drive called "Project and organization directory", also know as P:-drive, on the UT central hard disks.

Folders within this directory can be shared with others. The path to this network drive is \\AD.utwente.nl\ORG.

Folders within this directory are created by LISA, loosely based on the organizational structure or upon request. Access rights on these folders are automatically provisioned based on organization/department information or upon request of the folder owner. 

Sometimes you accidentally overwrite or remove files. On Windows you can restore these files yourself in Windows Explorer (right click on the file: Restore previous versions).

Storing and sharing large volumes of research data

Custom filesystem

Some research projects produce large volumes of research data like measurement or simulation data. It is possible to get a custom filesystem (network-share) on the UT central hard disks to store and share this data in a secure way.

LISA can offer custom network file storage in different ways and qualities at reasonable cost. 

For support contact the ICT account manager of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.

Storing and sharing research data in a UT-Database

Lightweight database

Lightweight database is a service for storing, manipulating and retrieving research data in a structured database. Every UT member of staff can apply for a lightweight database server. This member of staff can specify who should have access to this. The service is also open to participants from outside the UT, although they cannot apply for a new lightweight database server. No costs are charged for up to 5 GB data storage. A manual for the use of a lightweight database server is not supplied by LISA, but is general available on the Internet.

More information.

Storing and sharing research data in the cloud

Cloud services, for example, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, offer the possibility to quickly save and share data. However, while the cost of using an online Cloud service may be low, the expenses/costs associated with the repercussions of a breach could be very high. There are strict rules when transferring personal data from EU entities outside Europe under EU privacy laws. This is not permitted without complying with EU privacy laws. 

Two options for secure storing and sharing data (and other files) for researchers are:

SURFdrive

When you need secure file storage and/or share these with colleagues (also from other universities) you can use SURFdrive, a personal cloud storage service for the Dutch education and research community. You can simply login with your UT user name and password.

Dataverse

When you are looking for a place to safely store, share and even archive research data, text, whole databases or other scientific information, use DataverseNL. Compared to SURFdrive it offers you more facilities for describing the data.

DataverseNL allows you to share datasets with other scientists. You can determine who gets access to which materials and what their access rights are (user, contributor or curator).

You can archive the data and make them accessible to anyone, choosing  any license for use, including CC0 (CC Zero Waiver) or ODBL (Open Database License).

overview of data storage

Table: overview of data storage

Storage type

Advantage 

Disadvantages

Suitable for

 

UT central network storage aka M: and P:-drive

 

reliable, durable, secure; high speed data transfer

 

no sharing outside UT

 

storing large data files; master copy of data; sensitive/critical data (encrypted) 

PC or laptop

always available; portable; low cost; high speed data transfer

sensitive to damage and loss (no automatic backup); no sharing

storing large data files; only temporary storage; no master copy; sensitive/critical data (encrypted)

Personal storage devices 

(USB flash, external hard drive, DVD/CD)

portable; low cost

easily damaged or lost (no automatic backup); not for sensitive or critical data; difficult sharing

storing large data files; temporary storage; no master copy; no sensitive/critical data

Non-commercial cloud services (like 

DataverseNL, SURFdrive)

automatic synchronization on several devices; easy access; external sharing

medium speed data transfer; not for sensitive or critical data (SURFdrive: when encrypted)

large datafiles; storing and sharing (no sensitive/critical) data with external parties; master copy of data.

Commercial cloud services (for example, 

Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)

automatic synchronization on several devices; easy access; external sharing

medium speed data transfer; not for sensitive or critical data; unclear access to data; unclear privacy regulations

storing and sharing (no sensitive/critical) data with external parties

Sending (data) files

When you want to send large files in any format to other people you can use SURFfilesender. With SURFfilesender you determine who has access to your valuable files.

You can send files up to 250 MB extra securely using encryption (500 GB not encrypted).

Data analysis

Compute servers

Thera are different solutions for computing power. The suitability of each solution depends on the type of work you need to do. For example: big data analysis, performance, high volume data sets, costs, working in the life sciences, support and visualisation.

  • Surf offers computing power services.
  • At the UT some faculties or research groups have computing power. In some cases you can make use of this.

In both cases you should contact the ICT account manager of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.

Data analysis in social sciences

Researchers from the behavioural, management and social sciences can make use of specific data labs. See IGS datalab or BMSLab.

Visualization of data

Visualization makes it easy to identify connections between data or gain other insight into your datasets. SURFsara offers a powerful remote visualization service that combines high performance with ease of use.

PSEUDONYMIZING AND ANONYMIZING RESEARCH DATA

When working with personal data (data on identified or identifiable natural living persons) you need to comply with Dutch Personal Data Protection Act (Wet Bescherming Persoonsgegevens) based on the European regulations regarding privacy (AVG). In many cases you need to pseudonymize or anonymize the data.

In short, pseudonymization is a method to substitute identifiable data with a reversible, consistent value. Anonymization is the destruction of the identifiable data. More detailed information you find below.

Pseudonymization

Wikipedia: "Pseudonymization is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field. The purpose is to render the data record less identifying and therefore lower customer or patient objections to its use. Data in this form is suitable for extensive analytics and processing. [...] The application of pseudonymization to e-health intends to preserve the patient's privacy and data confidentiality. It allows primary use of medical records by authorized health care providers and privacy preserving secondary use by researchers. However, plain pseudonymization for privacy preservation often reaches its limits when genetic data are involved. Due to the identifying nature of genetic data, depersonalization is often not sufficient to hide the corresponding person. Potential solutions are the combination of pseudonymization with fragmentation and encryption."1


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonymization, retrieved August 31, 2017.

Anonymization

Wikipedia: "technology that converts clear text data into a nonhuman readable and irreversible form..."2. In the context of medical data anonymized data refers to data from which the patient cannot be identified by the recipient of the information. The name, address, and full post code must be removed, together with any other information which, in conjunction with other data held by or disclosed to the recipient, could identify the patient3.


[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_anonymization, retrieved August 31, 2017

[3]: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Anonymized+Data, retrieved August 31, 2017

Collaborating 

At the UT there are three facilities available for collaborating on data or documents: Sharepoint, UT-wiki and a version control system.

Sharepoint

UT Sharepoint is a web-based, collaborative platform where you and your colleagues can collaborate on Microsoft Office documents and see everyone’s changes as they happen.   

UT wiki

Every UT staff member can apply for a wiki. The applicant must specify who should have read-only access and who can make changes to the wiki. The service is also accessible to UT students and, in mutual consultation, also to participants from outside the UT. 

For support contact the ICT account manager of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.

VERSION CONTROL SYSTEM

A version control system (VCS) is for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. It consists of a client and a server. It is primarily used for source code management in software development, but it can be used to keep track of the changes in any set of files. As a distributed revision control system it is aimed at both the speed, the data integrity, and the support for distributed, non-linear workflows.

A SVN, Mercurial or GIT client (OpenSource software) is required in order to use a version control system. No costs are charged for up to 1GB storage on the server.

For support contact the ICT account manager of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.

Organizing an event, workshop or conference

Setting up an organization for an event, workshop or conference

CongresAssociatie Twente, located in Drienerburght Hotel, has experience in organizing conferences, symposia and events. 

making and publishing proceedings

UT proceedings is a platform for making publications of a workshop or conference organized by you or the organization you represents, available. You can choose to make these publications available before or after the event. Especially if you want to make the publications available before the event, please be aware of the planning of depositing and ingest of the publications.

For support contact the information specialist of your faculty or send your question to the Research Support Desk.