Box data storage FAQ

How do I log in to Box?

To start using the service, log in to Box with your College username, <username>@ic.ac.uk, and password. During the login process you will be given the opportunity to install “Box Sync” that can automatically sync data from your computer, including files stored on the h-drive.

Imperial Customised log-in support docs from Box

How do I share content?

Information is available at:

Inviting collaborators

Sharing links

Can I share data with collaborators outside the College?

Yes. Box allows you to give others permissions to read, edit or delete content, via the “invite collaborators” feature. Permissions are set on a folder level and include all sub-folders.

Can I share data with someone who does not use Box?

Yes. Collaborators can access files through the web, via a link generated by Box.

What operating systems does Box support?

The web interface can be access by current browsers, irrespective of the operating system. Box currently offers sync clients for Windows and Mac OS.

Does Box support Linux?

Box Edit and Box Sync is not supported in Linux.

 A large number of Linux users use Box via the Box web app. 

Box does not have a native Linux Sync client, however Linux users often use our WebDAV service with a WebDAV compatible client such as CyberDuck. 

An alternative method might be to mount your Box account as a HD and use a custom rsync script, here are a few examples of workarounds to mounting Box.

How to mount Box.com cloud storage on Linux

How to set up Box.com autosync on Ubuntu

Unofficial Box Linux Sync Client 

Are there limits on file sizes, data transfer or overall data storage?

There is no limit to the overall data storage.

The maximum file size for an individual file is 15GB, however if a file is larger that 5GB, upload speeds may be affected.

  • When uploading a file larger than 5 GB, a business-class Internet connection with upload and download speeds of 50 Mbps is required; a 10 GB file will take around 30 minutes to upload.
  • Large file uploads to Box cannot be paused and then resumed. If there is an error in the uploading process, you will need to attempt the upload again. For more about resolving upload errors, see Box's Troubleshooting File and Folder Upload Issues.
  • Internet Explorer has a limit of 4 GB per file. This is a known issue. The limit does not apply if you are using the Upload Folders option.

Box does not enforce a data transfer limit, but does not guarantee full speed if more than 1 TB of data are uploaded within a month; this limit applies on a per user basis, not for the whole College.

Does Box support mobile devices?

Yes. Apps are available for Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, and Windows Phone.

How do I sync files across devices?

Box Sync is a productivity tool that allows you to mirror data stored on Box.com to your desktop for offline access. If you make changes to your synced files locally, these changes automatically sync back up to your Box account.

What data should I store in Box?

The College recommends Box for data generated, processed and analysed as part of your research. Box makes it easy to share data and offers automated back-up to ensure your valuable research data is not lost.

Can I store my personal data in Box?

Box is the College solution for managing research data, but there are no restrictions on what data you store in Box (within reason). It is recommended to separate personal data from research data, for example by storing it in a “personal” folder. When staff leave the College the data in Box is retained by the College, so separating personal files will make it easier for you to migrate the data later.

How should I structure folders?

For organising large sets of research files and folders we recommend using a naming convention and metadata. See Naming files and folders  for further information and examples.

Folders and files should be structured in a way that makes sense to you at the local level. It is important to note that the concept of hierarchies across the College does not exist in Box,  but rather, users only see folders or files they have permission to view or have access rights to. This means that it is possible, for example, to see five folders named "Project".

It is therefore recommended to have meaningful names on your folders and to be mindful of how your collaborators will see your data. Using the metadata available to tag information like award and project numbers can be helpful - naming your folder with a unique project name, as opposed to just ‘projects’, can also help to avoid confusion and help with navigation in the long term.  

Where does Box store my data?

Currently, Box stores data outside the EU and so may not meet legal requirements for sensitive information such as patient data – please contact rdm-enquiries@imperial.ac.uk for advice if you are unsure. An EU-storage option will become available in 2016.

What is Box’s privacy policy?

While Box provides the data storage services it is not permitted to use any of the data stored by any of its customers. You can review the privacy policy online.

Can I store sensitive data, for example patient data, in Box?

Box has been reviewed by the College’s ICT security team and is the recommended platform for storage of research data. However, Box currently stores data outside the EU and so may not meet legal requirements for sensitive information such as patient data – please contact rdm-enquiries@imperial.ac.uk for advice if you are unsure. An EU-storage option will become available in 2016.

Is Box a data repository, i.e. can I use it to permanently publish data?

Box can be used to share data between collaborators or to make data available informally, but it is not a data repository suitable for long-term archival and data publishing – it does not provide permanent identifiers, a public search interface or the ability to lock down data so it cannot be deleted. Please see the guidance on data repositories for advice on how to archive and publish your data.

There are many cloud storage solutions – why Box?

To manage their research data properly, researchers need a flexible solution for data storage and sharing. Following an evaluation the College has chosen Box Enterprise because of its competitive features. Box offers unlimited storage, includes a range of file viewers, supports adding metadata (to help with managing/finding data) and data can be retained when staff leave the College – this is critical to ensure that research teams do not lose data when a team member, for example a PhD student, leaves.

Have academics been consulted?

The process of selecting Box was overseen by the College’s RDM working group and its academic representatives. It was informed by a requirements gathering process that included over 30 interviews with researchers and 400 responses to an online survey. Findings and conclusions were discussed with the Vice Provost’s Advisory Group for Research and Faculty Research Committees.

Do I have to use Box?

Principle Investigators have an obligation to ensure that data that are generated, processed or analysed during a research project are stored and described in ways that will minimise the risk of loss and maximise the likelihood of future discoverability and re-use. Box meets these requirements. The College recommends the use of Box for research data but does not mandate it. Other solutions that meet the policy requirements can be used alternatively or in addition to Box. Research data requirements are complex and it is unlikely that one solution can meet all of them.

Does the College have plans to enhance Box functionality?

The College is working with Box and other universities to enhance Box features for research data management. Potential areas for further development include direct integration of Box with data-generating facilities and data publication repositories. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Torsten Reimer, Scholarly Communications Officer t.reimer@imperial.ac.uk

How can I get further help?

For further assistance, please try the folowing:

Imperial frequently asked questions

Quick guide videos - a wide range of quick guide videos featuring a range of useful tools to help you manage your data more effectively in Box.

Box on demand and live training

Email rdm-enquiries@imperial.ac.uk