Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Guidelines for a Standardized File Structure for Scientific Data

Version 1 : Received: 2 April 2020 / Approved: 3 April 2020 / Online: 3 April 2020 (15:56:22 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


Storing scientific data on the file system in a meaningful and transparent way is no trivial task. In particular when the data have to be accessed after their originator has left the lab the importance of a standardized file structure cannot be underestimated. It is desirable to have a structure that allows for the unique categorization of all kinds of data from experimental results to publications. It has to be accessible to a broad variety of workflows, e.g., via graphical user interface as well as via command line, in order to find widespread acceptance. Furthermore, the inclusion of already existing data has to be as simple as possible. We propose a three-level structure to organize and store scientific data that incorporates the full chain of scientific data management from data acquisition to analysis to publications. Metadata are saved in a standardized way and connect original data to analyses and publication as well as to their originators. A simple software tool to check a file structure for compliance with the proposed structure is presented.

Supplementary and Associated Material Compliance checker for proposed file structure


research data management; FAIR; file structure; file system


Computer Science and Mathematics, Information Systems

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