To Toss or to Archive

To Toss or to Archive I enjoyed reading Jill Adams' article1 and it brought up a dilemma all researchers face: whether to save or throw away old data? In my opinion, the value of old data cannot be neglected; they are important for future research. Considering the consistency and integrity of the research, it is always good to save old data. The general composition of a research team involves technicians, graduate students, and postdocs, who come and go. Newcomers can follow well-kept

Yan Sun
Dec 1, 2003

To Toss or to Archive

I enjoyed reading Jill Adams' article1 and it brought up a dilemma all researchers face: whether to save or throw away old data? In my opinion, the value of old data cannot be neglected; they are important for future research.

Considering the consistency and integrity of the research, it is always good to save old data. The general composition of a research team involves technicians, graduate students, and postdocs, who come and go. Newcomers can follow well-kept old protocols and procedures with minimal difficulty. The new team member will also be able to avoid redundant experiments by retrieving old records. If each person in the lab is required to frequently save and update his or her notebook of raw data, this systematic lab data management could eventually benefit the investigator.

My present supervisor always says, "There are no good data or bad data; there...