Research data management costs

Research data management (RDM) is an integral part of the duties of a person conducting a research project. As such, it entails financial, human and time costs that must be estimated as early as possible in order to plan and optimize them. If necessary, this estimate can be used to apply for additional funds from funders to cover specific activities.

The University of Utrecht proposes a model that estimates the costs associated with each stage of the research data life cycle:

  • Data collection or retrieval of data produced by others
  • Documentation
  • Storage
  • Access and security
  • Preservation
  • Provision and reuse

For each of these steps, the University of Utrecht offers a 3-column table: questions to consider, estimated costs and tips.

Cost planning tools

The following tools can help identify the costs associated with managing project data:

A basic RDM tool that is involved in cost planning is the Data Management Plan, which leads to thinking about all the elements of the different stages of the research data life cycle mentioned above.

EPFL has developed an open-source web application in the form of a single dynamic page. It allows to fill in the different fields according to the needs and to calculate the cost of a whole research project. The tool includes several options for each service provider to reflect the most accurate cost and provides automatic currency conversion based on the current exchange rate.

For an overview of the tool's features, see the poster created by Antoine Masson from the EPFL library.

 The UK Data Service also provides a tool for RDM costing in the form of a checklist.

UNIGE Infrastructures costs

It is possible to plan the costs incurred if researchers plan to use infrastructures offered by the UNIGE.

NAS – online storage

Through its NAS (network as storage), the UNIGE offers a highly secure storage service for active research data on a facility dedicated to academic data.


Annual billing

< 50 Go


from 50 Go to 1TB

75 CHF

Per additional 1 TB 

+75 CHF


Some faculties, such as the Faculty of Medicine, have grants in place that cover a portion of the cost for the NAS. See this page for more information.

Yareta – Geneva's data repository

Yareta is the UNIGE's digital solution for long-term archiving and preservation of research data. It was designed to facilitate the work of researchers, including the management and availability of research data according to FAIR principles, in accordance with the requirements of the UNIGE and its funders.

Yareta's pricing policy is based on cost per terabyte per year. Two billing options are available:


Annual Billing

Billing by data upload or « Pay once forever »

< 50 Go



From 50 Go to 1TB

100 CHF

 2000 CHF

Per additional 1 TB

+100 CHF

+2000 CHF


Regardless of the option chosen, Yareta is free for data volumes below 50 GB

In case the data is from or generated in the framework of a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), it is essential to choose option 2 "Pay once forever"; the only option eligible by the SNSF.

To learn more about Yareta, visit the e-research page.

Costs covered by the Swiss National Science Foundation

The Swiss National Science Foundation recognizes the considerable investment of time and money required to ensure the proper management of research data. Thus, it can grant a sum of up to 10'000 CHF  to researchers at the time of submission of their project for :

  • Preparation and validation of data

The funds can be used as a salary to hire a person who will prepare the research data for uploading to a data repository.

  • Uploading data to a non-commercial FAIR repository

The funds released can be used to cover the bills for using a repository. In the example of Yareta, you will have to choose option 2 "pay once forever" for the invoice to be eligible for reimbursement.

In certain justified cases, the CHF 10'000 can be exceeded.