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Archiving for Psychologists: Suggestions for Organizing, Documenting, Preserving, and Protecting Computer Files


  • Jamie DeCoster,

  • Jamie O’Mally,

  • Anne-Marie R. Iselin

Address correspondence to Jamie DeCoster, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia, 350 Old Ivy Way, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22903. E-mail:


[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 246–265, 2011]

Psychological researchers create a large number of files as part of their work, including study stimuli, assessment forms, data sets, analytic output, and manuscripts. We argue that it is fundamentally important that psychologists develop systematic ways of archiving these files. A well-designed file archive can greatly improve the efficiency of locating information, the security of stored files, the ability to recover from human and mechanical errors, the generation of future studies, and the sharing of knowledge with other psychologists. A survey of clinical psychologists demonstrated a need for greater knowledge and training in archiving. To address this issue, we describe the abstract demands that a file archive must meet and then provide concrete suggestions on how to meet these demands.