Data from high-energy physics experiments are collected with significant financial and human effort and are mostly unique. However, until recently no coherent strategy existed for data preservation and re-use, and many important and complex data sets have simply been lost. While the current focus is on the LHC at CERN, in the current period several important and unique experimental programs at other facilities are coming to an end, including those at HERA, b-factories and the Tevatron. To address this issue, an inter-experimental study group on HEP data preservation and long-term analysis (DPHEP) was convened at the end of 2008. The group now aims to publish a full and detailed review of the present status of data preservation in high energy physics. This contribution summarises the results of the DPHEP study group, describing the challenges of data preservation in high energy physics and the group's first conclusions and recommendations. The physics motivation for data preservation, generic computing and preservation models, technological expectations and governance aspects at local and international levels are examined.