Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to Coscine here. If your question is not here do not hesitate to contact us.

About Coscine

The motivation behind Coscine is to offer researchers a safe and supportive integration platform for collaborative research and to fullfill the FAIR principles. Coscine does not want to and cannot replace already established services (such as S3 storage, GitLab or cloud services), but rather puts a FAIR layer (among other things, via metadata annotation and PID allocation) around the services (so-called resources), enables project-wide access to them and thus facilitates cooperation. In this way, we try to make Coscine well integrable into researchers’ existing processes and to provide added value in data management. Many research projects can benefit from this.

You can find the answer to this question in our Terms of use.

Data security Research data is not stored directly in Coscine but can be integrated via various data sources (resource types).Depending on the resource type (e.g. RDS, Gitlab), security policies apply to data. Metadata stored in Coscine is stored locally according to BSI standards, protected from unauthorized access and backed up. The Research Data Storage (RDS-Web and RDS-S3) is operated by a consortium of universities (RWTH Aachen University, University of Cologne, University of Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr University Bochum and Technical University Dortmund) and is therefore subject to strict data protection guidelines. The RDS is based on modern object store technology and is protected against loss by site-redundant storage. Data is stored redundantly at at least 3 locations in NRW, so that a total failure of a data center can be compensated. Data security is ensured at the local sites via erasure coding.

The security of data in external systems (e.g. Linked Data, GitLab or Sciebo) remains in the hands of the respective operators. Therefore, it is recommended to rely on trusted and established services such as Sciebo, the Gitlab of RWTH Aachen University or similar.

Data access security

Coscine uses state-of-the-art security technologies to protect your data, and transmission to end devices is SSL-encrypted. This also ensures the security of communication with the various types of resources. All systems are operated according to BSI basic protection. As a university consortium, there is also no interest in passing on the data of its own researchers.

General

Coscine can integrate different data sources (resource types). Depending on the resource type (e.g. RDS, Gitlab), the corresponding usage rules apply to data (e.g. Gitlab usage rules).

Resource type RDS

The Research Data Store (RDS) is provided only by Coscine and allows use exclusively for research data.

Special case: personal data

Personal research data (e.g. psychological / medical origin) can be accessed through Coscine (see Terms of Use). In this case, the user must ensure that the usage rules of the resource type used allow the storage and management of personal data. Personal data may be stored on RWTH-RDS resources if this is permitted by the declaration of consent of the persons concerned. In addition, we always recommend encryption and pseudonymization of personal data.

Research data is not stored directly in Coscine but can be integrated via different data sources (resource types). Depending on the resource type (e.g., RDS, Gitlab), appropriate retention periods apply to data. Research data is retained on Research Data Storage (RDS) for ten years after the end of the project, according to good scientific practice. Regardless of the resource type, Coscine also guarantees retention for 10 years after the end of the project in accordance with good scientific practice for each associated metadata.

Should long-term archiving for research (meta)data be required (longer than 10 years), please contact your respective library/FDM advisory office first. For more detailed regulations on storage periods for various data (user data, research data, metadata), please refer to the Privacy Policy."

No, Coscine cannot be used to publish research data. Coscine is intentionally designed for warm / changing research data and depending on the resource type, a maximum of 10 years retention time can be guaranteed (see Archiving Data). However, Coscine allows you to reference your data with a persistent identifier (PID). In addition, early annotation with metadata makes it easier to publish data later. If you would like to publish your data, please contact your respective library. They will assist you in selecting a suitable repository and subsequent publication. See Referencing data for more information.

No, Coscine does not currently allow public sharing of (meta)data outside the platform. Access to files is always within a project only (people need to be actively added as members for this - e.g. as guests with read-only rights). The resolution of PIDs from Coscine always first redirects to a contact page, from where the project owner(s) can be contacted. Metadata can be shared publicly within Coscine. In principle, however, the ability to share files publicly is in the planning stages - but depends heavily on the type of resource being used (see https://docs.coscine.de/de/rdm/resources/about/).

By applying for storage space, the principal investigator of this project confirms that in publications arising from this project the storage space granted by the Research Data Storage (RDS) of NRW via Coscine can be acknowledged using the following phrase: The data used in this publication was managed using the research data management platform Coscine with storage space granted by the Research Data Storage (RDS) of the DFG and Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (DFG: INST222/1261-1 and MWK: 214-4.06.05.08 - 139057).

Projects

The organizations available in Coscine are based on the international ROR IDs and are regularly updated by Coscine. The most common organizations (mainly universities) are offered in the list. If your organization does not appear in the list, you can simply type the name into the field. If no matching organization appears, the organization in question probably has not yet registered an ID with ROR. This can only be initiated by the organization itself.

In Coscine projects there are three roles “Owner”, “Member” and “Guest”. Owners have read and write access to a project. They can add, edit and view files. They can manage members and change project settings. Members have read and write access to a project. They can add, edit, and view files. Guest have read access to a project. They can only view and download data. For RDS-S3 resources, the access and secret keys are given for reading and writing.

There is no specific limit to the number of resources that can be stored in a project. Since the data in a resource is described with a common metadata scheme, it can make sense within more complex projects to have several resources of one type in order to describe different data types with corresponding metadata schemes.

For each subproject, storage space must be requested separately in the application of the main project (see Subprojects and Storage Space Management).

If you forgot to request subprojects or want to create them later, there are two scenarios:

  1. You stay with the requested storage space in total, but divide it differently between the main project and the subprojects (e.g. from 500 GB only in the main project to 250 GB in the main project and 250 GB in the subproject). Then send an email to servicedesk@itc.rwth-aachen.de.

  2. You exceed the requested storage space. Please then make a new request (see Storage Space Management).

You can add other researchers to a project via their email address (if it is from a participating organization) or via their ORCID ID. The instructions can be found under the Roles and Member Management.

If you do not see an email address in projects for yourself or other researchers, this is probably due to the login via ORCID. The reason is that Coscine does not receive information about personal data, such as email addresses from ORCID.

Please go to your user profile and add your email address and any other information there (see Personal Data for instructions).

Resources and Metadata

The right resource type depends on two factors: firstly, on your own university and secondly, on the intended usage. On our Documentation you will find all important information as well as a flowchart which can help you to decide on the right resource type.

The Research Data Storage (RDS) is an Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) object storage from Dell.

DELL’s ECS machines, over which the Research Data Storage (RDS) runs, are connected at 2x 10 Gib/s. This capacity is divided among several channels, most of which can be used for file transfer, others are used for geo-redundant storage and synchronization between sites. Depending on the type of transmission used, some overhead must be considered. However, the individual performance of uploading & downloading files via S3 client is mainly dependent on the location of the transfer (e.g. location in the DFN network), utilization of the network used, the devices used (always limited by the slowest device, e.g. laptop, VMs, routers, etc.), the individual file size and whether an upload or download takes place (here an upload is always faster than a download).

If there are many small files (e.g. significantly more than 1000 files with a size smaller than 10 MB), the S3 performance is limited and we therefore recommend to merge the individual files (e.g. from a measurement) into a zip file or tar file. This not only facilitates the transfer, but also the later management of the data sets.

When transferring files from HPC clusters, it is recommended to log in via data transfer nodes for a better network connection. These are characterized by a particularly good network connection and allow significantly higher transfer rates than, for example, the standard dialog system (in some cases 3 times faster).

If you are from a participating university, there should be up to 100 GB available in the associated RDS-Web resource (see Documentation for more information). Obtaining storage requires employee status at the respective university and logging in via SSO so that Coscine can assign the right university. If only ORCID login has been used so far, both login methods should be linked first (see Documentation for instructions). Only the Linked Data and RDS-Web resources can be used without a request. If you need storage in another resource type, see our Documentation for all links to the application portal.

If there is no storage space (left), the project owner must apply for additional storage space. You can find the application form here: Storage Management.

Note: Bachelor/Master students do not receive storage space in Coscine, the project must always be created by the employed supervisor (see Storage Management).

The step-by-step instructions for archiving data in Coscine can be found under the page Archiving.

You can find all answers to this topic on the Coscine API page.

File names in Coscine may have a maximum length of approx. 1000 characters (without special characters 1000 characters, with special characters somewhat less).

If the given metadata schemes / application profiles turn out to be insufficient for your purpose, you can find under Metadata and Application Profiles a guide to get an individual application profile.

You can select a license for your research data in Coscine when creating resources to determine if and how your data can be reused.For research data, based on recommendations from forschungsdaten.info, we recommend using the open and free Creative Commons Licenses (CC licenses). In Germany, the following requirements for licensing must be met:

  • Your research data is protected by the German Copyright

  • You are the author and/or right holder of the research data

Unfortunately, we cannot offer legal advice on licenses. If you are unsure, you can find more information about copyright and publishing research data at forschungsdaten.info.

In the interest of open science, we recommend that you clarify whether open licenses are suitable for your research data. If you are legally uncertain, you can leave the field blank. If you do not select a license and your research data is protected by copyright, German copyright law automatically applies.

Note: Choosing an open license (e.g. CC BY 4.0) in Coscine does not automatically make the data publicly available. The license is just another piece of information (i.e. a metadata field) about the data. To learn how to make your data publicly available, see Publication and Findability of Data.

The right metadata schema or application profile depends heavily on the subject focus of your project. There are subject-specific (e.g. EngMeta) and generic (e.g. RADAR) metadata schemas or application profiles (see About Metadata and Application Profiles). Established metadata standards have already evolved for different domains. Unfortunately, we cannot provide domain-specific advice, please contact your subject-specific NFDI, Data Steward, the Ontology Lookup Service or forschungsdaten.info for this. If you cannot find a suitable application profile in Coscine, you can create one yourself. You can find all important information about this under About Metadata and Application Profiles.

Problem solving

It is possible that you have logged in via two different services and that you are assigned different projects. You can easily connect these accounts to have access to all your projects, regardless of the log-in method. The instruction can be found under Connecting log-in methods.

If you have used the RDS-Web resource via the browser, your files may be too large. Many browsers allow max. 2-3 GB file size. In this case, use either the Coscine Rest API or an RDS-S3 resource. You can also use your application profile for this. If you have problems with the upload on other resources please write to servicedesk@itc.rwth-aachen.de.

If the connection fails only in the home office, the error could be the configuration of your home router. Home routers that only use UDP for name server queries may have limited availability of storage services. You will get an error message saying that an address of the form .s3.fds.rwth-aachen.de cannot be resolved (ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED). In these cases we recommend an update of the home router to use TCP as well. An unrestricted availability of the storage services absolutely requires the use of UDP and TCP for name server queries. This is in accordance with the DNS standard, which requires that both UDP and TCP be supported.

If the FAQ and the instructions do not help you with a problem, please contact the IT-ServiceDesk.