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Preservation of your research work

In 200 years, it could be your study that provides the answers. Preserving your research work, is not just about leaving an impression, as the research you are conducting today could prove invaluable for future researchers. Below, you can read about the research documentation that is to be preserved and what is to be disposed of or weeded out.

Research documents that must be preserved

Discuss the practical aspects of how to manage your documentation with your line manager.

Documents that must be preserved include:

  • Basic information about aims, methods, and results. This may include project descriptions, method descriptions and instructions, interim and final reports, and reports on conferences or seminars that have been organised.
  • Financial and other administrative records. This may include grant applications, research funding decisions, contracts, agreements, financial reports, and ethical reviews.
  • Reprints, reports, and preprints.
  • Important notes and correspondence. These may be of value in order to understand other documents.
  • Laboratory logbooks.
  • Documents consisting of primary material collected through experiments, measurements, surveys, interviews, observations or suchlike, and which are unique or can only be reproduced with great effort, or which have otherwise been deemed to have continuing scientific or cultural-historical value.

Research documents with possible preservation value

The preservation value of certain research documents is to be assessed. This is to be done in consultation between the principal investigator (PI) and the head of department.

Primary material can be disposed of if it is not unique, if it is deemed to have no future value for the research field in question or any other research field, or if it is of no cultural-historical interest. One example could be laboratory work that can be repeated. For disposable research documents, the retention period is 10 years. For drug trials, the retention period for disposable research documents is 15 years.

Research documents that are to be disposed of or weeded out

Research documents that are to be disposed of or weeded out include:

  • Copies.
  • Sketches, drafts, calculations, notes, correspondence, and similar of a temporary nature. These can often be termed as temporary materials or memoranda and are therefore not considered to be public documents.


Jesper Zimmerman
Archivist at the Faculty of Science
jesper [dot] zimmerman [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se
Telephone: +46 46 222 08 82