Data Considerations

This page is intended to give individuals who perform research at UW-Madison a better idea of where the data and notes generated during the research process should be stored to best comply with UW-Madison, State, and Federal granting agency policies. Also information on large dataset options.


 Where is data placed into the UW-Madison instance of LabArchives stored?

The UW-Madison instance of LabArchives’ ELN software is a cloud service accessible using a standard web browser from anywhere in the world. It is not located on the UW-Madison campus, LabArchives hosts all of their software instances and customer data at Amazon data centers located in two regions, primary is US East (Virginia) and their failover is US West (Oregon). Data is always stored within the United States and does not travel outside of US borders. Security and availability of research data is a top priority for UW-Madison and LabArchives, and there are numerous technical and administrative safeguards in place. Read more about Data Security in LabArchives.


What kinds of data are appropriate to place in the UW-Madison instance of LabArchives?

A large majority of research performed on campus generates data, procedures, observations, and other notes that are appropriate to be stored in the UW-Madison instance of LabArchives, where precautions to maximize redundancy, security, and availability have been taken.

Some types of data may not be appropriate for the ELN or may require guidance from compliance and/or security stakeholders on campus.

  • Sensitive Data. At this time most sensitive information (according to the campus definition) should not be stored on the UW-Madison instance of LabArchives. Please consult with the ELN Service Team to determine if the ELN is appropriate for use with your data.
  • Human subjects data gathered under the guidance and approval of a campus Institutional Review Board (IRB)(http://www.grad.wisc.edu/research/hrpp/) Consult your IRB for guidance on use of the ELN with this type of data.
  • Other data subject to government regulations such as FISMA or data from research on select agents, etc. Consult with your department’s data security officer.

Please read the page on Sensitive Data to find out more on these data types, and possible options for data storage and ELN usage on campus.

Remember that your responsibility of protecting the data remains the same as it would if you were accessing UW data on your personal machine (Responsible Use Policy).


My data storage needs include files that are larger than allowed on the cloud service. What are some other options?

While the data storage within the LabArchives ELN is unlimited, the maximum individual file upload size is 250MB, anything larger should be placed elsewhere, and you should provide a reference link in the notebook to the file. This brings up a good point about making certain that files linked remain intact, unaltered, and accessible for many years. This can be difficult for smaller IT units to accomplish successfully. The ELN team, in alignment with campus policies and improvements in existing and upcoming services, is currently researching ways that individuals and labs might be able to permanently archive large files on campus and link them in the notebook.