Research Toolkits: Getting “Data Commons Scratch Space” for a project and providing project members access to it

You can request Data Commons Scratch Space¬†for a project in Research Toolkits and grant access to project members. (To “mount” the storage described below to a RAPID VM, see KB0026376).

How to get storage for a project:

  • Have a project already set up. See this document to find out how to do that: Create a project. To continue you have to have “admin” privileges for a project in Research Toolkits (regular-rank faculty by default have these privileges).
  • Log in to Research Toolkits and click on the project to which you want to provide storage.
  • Click on the “Add a Service” button located next to the name of the project. Clicking will reveal a drop-down.
  • Select “Data Commons Scratch Space” from the drop-down list.
  • Enter a name for the storage allotment.
  • Enter a size of the allotment (between 50 and 100 GB).
  • Click “Create” to submit the request. This initiates the process of creating the storage space; the process may take several minutes to complete.
  • When the storage space is created, a “mount_url” will be displayed, and that can be used to map the network drive. You can use mapping to provide storage space for a RAPID VM or to other machines on the Duke networks. If you are off-campus, you will need to use VPN to access a mapped network drive.

To grant project members access:

  • After the storage is ready, you can “map user groups to roles” in order to grant different levels of access.
  • Click on the button showing a person’s silhouette next to the storage entry on the list of services. Mousing over the button displays the words: “Map user groups to roles.”
  • A window opens showing the groups you have created for the project. Next to each is a drop-down menu showing a [blank] or “no role” option, “Read Only Access,” and “Read/Write Access.”
  • Choose the appropriate access for the group. If you want a group to be able to download files only, choose “Read Only Access.” If you want members of a group to be able to upload and download files, choose “Read/Write Access.” Choosing the [blank] option doesn’t allow a group access.
  • You can change access privileges for a group at any time.

To delete Data Commons Scratch Space, click on the “trash can” button next to the entry on the list of services. The status will change from “ready” to “delete_pending” and deletion will follow. Note that Data Commons Scratch Space is not backed up and deleted data cannot be restored.


  • The Data Commons Scratch Space is not appropriate to use for sensitive data.
  • Allocations of storage will have to be reaffirmed for renewal on a regular basis, three times a year. Storage space that is not renewed will be deleted.
  • The Data Commons Scratch Space is not backed up or “snap-shotted” so data deleted from it is not restorable. (It’s is designated as “scratch” space for that reason.)