Comment on:

The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 17


Researchers back up research data and results made publicly available, as well as the central materials on which they are based and the research software used, by adequate means according to the standards of the relevant subject area, and retain them for an appropriate period of time. Where justifiable reasons exist for not archiving particular data, researchers explain these reasons. HEIs and non-HEI research institutions ensure that the infrastructure necessary to enable archiving is in place.


When scientific and academic findings are made publicly available, the research data (generally raw data) on which they are based are generally archived in an accessible and identifiable manner for a period of ten years at the institution where the data were produced or in cross-location repositories. This practice may differ depending on the subject area. In justified cases, shorter archiving periods may be appropriate; the reasons for this are described clearly and comprehensibly. The archiving period begins on the date when the results are made publicly available.

Archiving in the life sciences

Information and research data that is important to understanding the published results should ideally be archived for at least ten years for the purpose of verifiability. In some cases, it may be more expedient to hold the central samples for re-analysis than to archive the data sets. As research data is often unverifiable without access to appropriate software used in its generation or processing, or is closely linked to materials, tissues or organisms, these sources must also be stored. Compliance with the archiving period of ten years is not always possible due to the perishable nature or wastage of materials, tissues or organisms in the life sciences. For this reason, support structures such as computer centres, databases and biobanks that are operated at institutions are particularly valuable and should be used. In the life sciences, it is also important to note that documents required by the approval authorities must be archived for much longer than ten years, e.g. in connection with clinical studies or the use of genetic resources. The institution at which the publication was created should provide the infrastructural conditions or resources to ensure that this requirement can be met.

In order to prepare research data, software or central samples according to the FAIR principles for subsequent use by others and enable them to be archived on a long-term basis, special expertise and advice is required, as is the use of infrastructures that should ideally be subject-specific and appropriately certified (data centres, archives or collections), thereby enabling national and international interoperability. As the requirements here are considerable in terms of time, personnel and financial resources, advice should be sought as early as possible in the planning and conception of research projects so as to be able to allow for these costs when applying for project funding.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL17 (Life sciences)