Research Drive


As part of Information Services commitment to supporting the University’s ambitious research objectives, we want to ensure that every researcher has a place to store their active/current research data in a safe and secure environment.

Information Services are aware that researchers hold their data on many different devices: laptops, a vast array of portable hard drives, USBs; and Dropbox. These are not safe and secure and are also non-compliant with funders’ policy.


What is Research Drive?

We have created the Research Drive or X files where researchers will be able to store their current research data in their own personal research drive, which will be stored on the network

The research drive consists of physical data storage, which will be automatically mapped on University owned (domain) Windows desktop PCs and laptops to the X: drive from 14 April 2017 onwards.

Users of Apple Macs or other non-domain machines will map the X: drive manually, using smb://researchfiles/research. For further details on how to map to your  X files using a Mac please see the tab above entitled "Access to Research Drive from off-campus"

This storage is located on a server called \\researchfiles which has a top level folder called research. It is this top level folder that the X: drive is mapped to for users. X: drive should only be used to store data that is relevant to registered research projects. There are several storage alternatives for all other categories of data.

For each researcher a personal folder is automatically created within \\researchfiles\research

Like the users’ home folders this will be named with their University user ID, e.g., ljh1 and will be accessible only to them. Users cannot see any folders within the X: drive that they are not permitted to access. Therefore the default, when they open the X: drive in Windows Explorer, is that they are in the research folder and can see only one subfolder which is their own, identified by their user ID.

‌Before you start creating new data you may wish to have a look at our research data management web pages  and perhaps use the DMP Online tool to help you create a data management plan (This is required by many funders)

Access to Research Drive from off-campus

If you want to access your Research Drive from your home pc or from overseas you will need to setup a VPN connection as detailed on this page -   When you have installed the VPN, make sure it is running and follow the instructions below to set up your connection to your Research Drive.

Windows   |   Mac

Setting up your Research Drive connection on a Windows PC

Make sure your VPN connection is running then map a network drive to your Research Drive:

From the desktop click Start > File explorer > This PC

In the menu bar near the top of the window click Computer > Map Network Drive

Drive: type the network location of the research drive folder in the format,            \\researchfiles\research\NameOfFolder

Folder: Use the drop down to pick X

Click Finish.

You should now see an authentication window, enter your details as below then click on Remember my credentials

  • Name: stirlan\ university username
  • Password: University passwordNow click Connect. You should now have access to the research drive folder.For future connections to the drive, from the desktop go to Start > File explorer > This PC and choose the X drive.



Setting up the Research Drive Connection on a Mac

Make sure you are connected to the VPN.  From the desktop click Finder > Go > Connect to Server, (or press the ⌘ and K keys)
In the Server Address field, type the network location of the research drive folder in the format.


Click on the + icon to add this to your list of remembered connections, and then click Connect.

You should now see an authentication window, enter your details as below then click on Remember this password in my keychain

• Name: stirlan\ university username
• Password: University password

Now click Connect.

You should now have access to the research drive folder.

For future connections to the drive, from the desktop press ⌘ and K keys, and then double click on smb:// from your list of saved drives.







Shared project folders for Stirling staff

In addition to a location for research data that is private to the individual researcher, there may also be a need for storage, which is sharable between researchers who are collaborating on a project. 

On request, project folders can be created within the top level research folder (\\researchfiles\research) with access permissions granted to a named set of users.  Each of these users will then see within their X: drive, not only their personal folder but also any project folders that they have been granted access to. 

In order to do this please fill out the following form available via Unidesk self service.

Click on Request a Service


Now select Storage for Research Data



Click on the Request Shared Project Folder(s) button and fill in the form


The following is a direct link to the form "Request Shared Project Folder"


The person making the request will be deemed to be the owner of the folder so will have the authority to request additional users to be added or users to be deleted, e.g., a researcher leaves Stirling.


You then have to specify each folder you want.  The name of the folder should have no spaces in it and you need your collaborators names and their usernames.  We ask at this point whether the folder should be stored locally.  Please only select Yes if your funder requires this.  Fields with asterisk denote a compulsory field. As part of good research practice, you should also start thinking about how long you will need these folders for, hence the question about project end date.

Once you have filled in the form click on the envelope icon to send the request to the Information centre

Shared project folders for external researchers

If you are collaborating with individuals who are not University of Stirling staff then you will need to request an External User ID via the Application for Computer Use form in the first instance.  Then you will be able to go through the Request a Shared Project Folder process


Locally Based Storage

For some funders, there may be a need to store the data from a specific project on campus rather than in the cloud.  In this case, you can request that a specific folder be stored locally.  Please note:  There is a limited amount of storage available, so please only request local storage if your funder requires it


Select Request locally hosted folder



There is also a direct link to the form "Request locally hosted folder


Once the locally hosted folder has been set up, you will be able to see the locally hosted folder as it will be denoted by the following icon in your Research Drive   with an upward facing arrow on the folder.


Your research drive will look like this: with your Research drive and your personal drive and the locally hosted folder you requested




There will obviously be times where staff leave or new staff are appointed so the owner of the folder may want to change who has access to the shared project folder.  You would do this by completing the Add/Remove users from a shared project folder form

This is a direct link to the Add/Remove Users to a shared project folder form

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