There are two general rules for file organization: Be consistent and be descriptive. You want to make sure you and your colleagues can find anything you are looking for quickly. You'll need to figure out which specifics make the most sense to you and document your convention in a place everyone in your research group can follow. Here are some guidelines to include in your convention:
Feel free to use our File Naming Formula Template to help you and your team create meaningful file names that follow best practices. Once you fill it out, print it out and put it in a prominent place in your workplace. If you work on collaborative files, appoint someone to hold your team accountable for their file naming practices.
Version control is the strategy of tracking of changes and edits to files and directories. This allows you to revert to previous versions if you make a mistake or even delete something! This can be a key practice for success on complicated projects and on collaborative teams.
Even if you're tracking changes with the software you're using, you should always keep a copy of the original unedited data available and save a new version when substantial changes are made. It's like saving your progress in a video game along the way so you don't have to go back to the beginning after coming across an unexpected challenge.
There are two main versions of conducting version control:
Lauren Phegley holds consultations on data management, DMPTool, writing Data Management Plans (DMPs), and data sharing.
Schedule: Tuesdays from 10-11am EST (Zoom or in-person) and Fridays from 11-12pm EST (Zoom only).
Head of Research Data Services
See schedule button for current dates and times. Appointments available in person and on zoom.