Have you covered your research material well? I think I have, at least most of the time. I have made safe copies and I maintain the copies and the material in different rooms. But, once in a while I get a bit paranoid with it. I get these thoughts about fires, then floods, robbers and myself destroying the material. What will I do if I pour some Pepsi over the drawings? Could I, by accident, do that?
Many of the researchers have experienced lost of data because of they have not remember to save while writing… And then of course the computer has crashed. Well, I have done it in an effective way some time ago. I was writing my master´s thesis and then I felt thirsty. I noticed that my glass was empty, so I picked up apple juice bottle from the kitchen. I poured the apple juice… straight into my laptop instead of a glass. The computer shut down immediately. Naturally I did not have any safe copies. I tried to blow dry it, wipe it and call to different places for help. And after awhile the help finally came. But it was the most back-breaking part of my thesis writing process and I will never forget it.
Imagine that would be your doctoral thesis or the research material you are using. Do you still think you have covered your material well? I think you never can do that. There is always something that can happen because “this is life”. So you need to be ready.
It could be a good idea to do collaboration with real archives (like Finnish Social Science Data Archive). And I do not mean after you have finished with your material. It really could be useful to do collaboration during the whole process. Then, you would really know that your material is in sanctuary. Also the archives could safe useful data for other researchers to use in the future. Now, I think, there are two real risks: to destroy your material by accident and not to give the material forwards after you have had that refreshing experience of defending one’s doctoral thesis. Could this be part of the doctoral education in the Universities, or are we too afraid of openness, one of the foundations of science?