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Shared Data Access and Data Sharing

Collaborative work requires the joint editing of and access to files. This can save a lot of time and all participants have access to the latest file versions available. When working collaboratively on data the following requirements exist:

  • Storage and sharing of documents and data files,
  • The ability to organize documents and files into folders,
  • An access control system that easily manages authentication and authorization,
  • Version control of documents and data files,
  • The ability to annotate metadata or define metadata templates, if applicable. 
  • Prevent file locking so that users can work on the same file simultaneously
  • Safeguarding of data protection laws

Saving Shared Data

Group Drive

An institutional drive

[+] an institution is responsible for setup, storage, backup, and access control
[+] certain parts can be accessed via a virtual private network (VPN)
[-] access control (may be difficult to handle)
[-] external project partners may not get access


A secure data transfer server (SFTP)

[+] one institution is responsible for setup, storage, backup and access control
[+] integrated access control independent of the Active Directory (central directory service) of the research institutions
[-] possible reservations about granting access to third parties (not belonging to the institution)


A cloud-based file sharing service

Cloud services can be used to share files within a group of researchers in an uncomplicated and location-independent manner. Due to data protection aspects, it is advisable to use institutional cloud services and federal state services such as bwSync&Share, Sciebo or Academic Cloud. Further state-specific offers can be found on the pages of the federal states.

In the case of commercial services, the terms of use should be read carefully. This is also relevent with regards to data protection, especially with non-European cloud services. Alternatives to Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft Onedrive would be e.g. OwnCloud, SpiderOak, Mega.nz, Tresorit or Wolkesicher.

[+] easy to set up and use.
[-] limited storage space
[-] security concerns about file retention and backups.

Collaborative Work on Documents

For collaborative work, the joint editing of documents and files is an indispensable necessity. There are numerous tools and utilities for this purpose, such as:

Are you missing an important tool? Feel free to contact us and contribute your experience and knowledge in handling research data.