As part of the research process, hypotheses are formulated and tested by collecting and analyzing data, possibly from many different technologies and sources. With measurement technologies moving at a very fast pace, it is now easy for a single lab to generate several TBs of data in a short time.

Research groups invest a lot of time, money and effort into collecting and analyzing these data, and to publish new discoveries. However, it is common that less attention is given to preserving the data at the heart of a discovery and to ensuring that the published results can be reproduced at a later time. Reproducibility of results, however, is a prerequisite for sound scientific progress.

Data management is the process of safeguarding the data and of annotating it with enough meaningful information, metadata, to allow anyone in the field to make sense of it at a later point in time. This comprises two phases: 1. Active data management, i.e. the daily management of research data and related information during the lifetime of a research project; 2. Long-term preservation, i.e. the annotation and storage of data in appropriate repositories or institute infrastructure.

How can SIS help you with Research Data Management?

We provide consultingservices and software solutions for active data management to scientific facilities, groups and research projects to safely and reproducibly manage their research data. As handling of research data is highly dependent on the research domain, there are no general solutions for this problem. However, there are best practices and concepts that can be applied to many domains for organizing their data. Moreover, we work closely with the Research Data Management and Digital Curation team of the ETH Library to provide trainings and education in research data management.

Data Management Consulting

We can provide advice on how to best manage the data produced in your lab. We usually arrange a meeting to discuss the work done in the lab or facility, understand the workflows and then make suggestions on how to best manage the data. Funding agencies tend to more and more require data management plans from applicants as part of a project proposal (e.g. in the EU Horizon2020 program). We can work jointly with you on the data management plan, combining your expertise on your data with our experience on research data management and best practices. This data management checklist data management checklist created by the ETH and EPFL libraries can also assist you in your planning. Together with the ETH Library we offer consultancy on data management plans for grant applications (contact:

Data Management Services

We provide data management services based on the openBIS platform to scientific facilities and research groups to manage their research data.

ETH Research Data Hub

The ETH Research Data Hub (ETH RDH) is an openBIS-based platform, available to all ETH research groups working in quantitative research fields, to help them in the process of annotating, storing and managing all experimental and computational data at any stage, from initial collection onwards (see IT Service Catalogue for more information).

Access to the ETH RDH for a research group is subject to the following admittance criteria:

  1. Quantitative experimental or computational laboratories with medium data volumes (less than 50,000 objects and/or datasets).
  2. No lab-specific customisation required.
  3. No confidential data (human data or any other sensitive information).

Groups that do not meet these criteria can have a private openBIS group instance (see ETH RDN below). The ETH RDH service is free up to 100 GB of data per research group. Storage up to 1 TB will be charged at half the regular rate of the NAS storage provided by ETH IT Services. Regular rates apply for any additional storage. 

Access to ETH RDH can be requested via the IT Shop and must be authorized by a fund owner, due to costs associated with the storage. Trainings will be provided on a case-by-case basis or in organized training sessions.

ETH Research Data Node

The ETH RDN is a private openBIS instance for a research group. This is available to research groups that do not meet the admittance criteria for the ETH RDH, as well as to groups who prefer to have a private solution.

The ETH RDN standard service includes openBIS installation and maintenance with regular upgrades, initial training and support. Requests for ETH RDNs can be sent directly to

DMP template for ETHZ openBIS users

Users of openBIS at ETH can download a DMP template for SNSF grant applications with pre-filled answers related to data storage, backup and preservation.