New Data Storage System for Researchers to Debut This Fall

Net-plus Box will be available, free of charge, on all devices, from phones to desktops.
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Net-plus Box will be available, free of charge, on all devices, from phones to desktops.

Coming soon: a new way to store and share research data.

Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, is pleased to announced that Box will be available to researchers for the fall 2017 semester. Box, in partnership with Internet2 Net-plus, is a cloud-based collaboration and file-sharing platform that allows users unlimited space for research collaboration, data storage, and accessing and editing files. The university is purchasing a campuswide license to make the service available, free of charge, for U of A users on all devices, from desktops to phones.  

According to a recent survey, about 80 percent of U of A faculty collaborate with researchers from other universities or government institutions. Net-plus Box will help foster such collaborations, bringing the university closer to fulfilling the guiding priorities outlined by Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.

"We are charged with building a collaborative and innovative campus, enriching our research mission and providing the tools to support a world-class faculty," Rankin said. "This is a big step in that direction."

"Net-plus Box is the preferred research collaboration tool for Research 1 universities," said Paige Francis, associate chief information officer. "To support and sustain our coveted R1 status, we must make continuous improvements so our researchers can focus on their mission to advance knowledge and make meaningful contributions."  

Commercial versions of the storage system are used by 74,000 businesses, including 59 percent of the Fortune 500. The Internet2 version is customized for the needs of higher education with features such as a campus-wide single log in and appropriate security protocols that allow users to safely store proprietary data. To date 143 colleges and universities are using Net-plus Box.

Net-plus Box will be available on a trial basis to select university researchers in August. It will supplement, not replace, currently available cloud storage solutions such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. Net-plus Box will be available campuswide in 2018.


Paige Francis, associate chief information officer
University Information Technology Services


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