IDA – Research Data Storage Service

Research data storage service IDA ( is a continuous service for safe research data storage organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The service is offered free of charge to Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences, research institutes as well as research funded by the Academy of Finland. IDA is part of the Fairdata services.

IDA enables saving, organizing and sharing data within the project group and storing the data in an immutable state. Use of the service requires that the stored data are described as research dataset. The described data can be set openly available or its availability can be restricted. The owner of the data decides on the openness and usage policy of the data stored in IDA.

  • Before the data stored in IDA can be made openly accessible, descriptive information (metadata) is added to the data with the research dataset description tool Qvain.
  • The research dataset published with Qvain gets a persistent identifier and a landing page in Etsin. This makes the dataset findable for others, and enables re-use of the data and creating a scientific reference. The files linked to the published dataset can be set openly available. It’s also possible to publish only the metadata of the dataset.

IDA can be used either with a user friendly browser UI or command line tools. Read more about the different UIs from the user guide.

IDA is meant for storing stable research data, which can be constructed and described as research datasets. The service is not optimized for data under heavy usage (e.g. computing disk data, data used in web applications). The service is not suitable for storing sensitive personal data or biometric identifiers.

IDA has a maintenance break very third Wednesday of the month, starting at 10 a.m. The users are notified about the maintenance break in advance.

The benefits of IDA when making data openly accessible

  1. Data is frozen in IDA before it is described as a dataset and openly available via Etsin. Frozen data is stored in IDA in read-only mode, to minimize user errors.
  2. The integrity of the frozen data is further protected against loss or corruption by replicating each frozen file to a secondary storage medium and calculating an SHA256 checksum for each frozen file.
  3. Storing data in IDA allows published datasets containing multiple files and folder structures. Data can be made openly accessible in their original folder structure instead of compressing the files and folders into a single zip package. The user can then download the dataset files flexibly via Etsin,
  4. A single dataset can include hundreds or even thousands of files and have a total volume of up to e.g. several terabytes, enabling users to make large datasets openly accessible with a single persistent identifier.
  5. Data can also be made openly accessible as a cumulative (growing) dataset, which means that additional files can be incrementally added to the same dataset without changing its persistent identifier.
  6. A dataset described in Qvain, and containing files stored in IDA, is assigned a DOI or URN, enabling easy reference in publications, and providing a resolvable URL to a dataset landing page in Etsin, via which the data can be downloaded.
  7. Data stored in IDA can optionally be transferred to the Digital Preservation Service for Research data (use of the Digital Preservation Service requires an agreement).
  8. Metadata of datasets created with IDA and Qvain can be found from Etsin, and soon also from the

More information

Below there are two introduction videos to the IDA service. Click “CC” to turn subtitles on/off. Read the text versions of the videos.

Contact information

CSC customer support
+358 9 457 2821
Weekdays from 8:30 AM to 4 PM

IDA is organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to actors within the Finnish research system. The service is produced by CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd.