Version control, or versioning, refers to the process of saving your data or files after making changes so that you can go back and retrieve specific versions of your files later. Consistent versioning provides a trail that you can return to if you want or need to access an earlier revision or update of your work. Versioning is important in part because it allows users to retain drafts and details of any changes made to data files over a prolonged period, the order of those changes, and the author(s) of the changes.
Perhaps the simplest method of version control is to include a version number--01, 02, etc.--or date as the file suffix. You should also document you changes wherever possible.
Certain tools like Box, Google Drive, and Git provide version control for files. For software code and other plain-text files, we recommend Git.
If you'd like more information on research data curation and management, please schedule a consultation: