Research Data and Primary Materials Policy

Overview

The University recognises the importance and value of research data and primary materials, digital and non-digital, and is committed to their effective management, noting that these requirements will differ from discipline to discipline and type of data or material. Individual researchers have the primary responsibility for management of data related to their research. In accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research [the Code], all data storage and management processes must be accessible, easy to use, affordable, auditable, flexible, sufficient and secure.

Furthermore there is an increasing expectation and, in some cases a formal requirement, from the community, government, publishers and grant funding agencies that publicly funded research should provide outcomes and data that are, where ethically and legally possible, made openly accessible to the research community.

The University will provide centralised, accessible storage for digital (both born-digital and digitised) research data. The University also authorises the use of data management repositories that are regulated and curated by appropriate external organisations and agencies. Non-digital research data and primary materials must be stored and managed by the individual researcher, in accordance with this Policy.

Scope and Application

This Policy outlines those principles and procedures associated with the ownership, storage, access and management of research data and primary materials. It applies to all staff, students, affiliates and titleholders of the University of Adelaide who are involved in the conduct of research associated with the University anywhere in the world.

Non-compliance with this Policy may constitute research misconduct and/or general misconduct, which will be addressed in accordance with the University's Enterprise Agreement and relevant University disciplinary procedures. In some circumstances, non-compliance with this Policy may result in termination of employment.

RESOURCES

All University staff, students and affiliates and titleholders are encouraged to utilise the guidance available on the University of Adelaide Library's Research Data Management website. This includes guidance on how to develop a research data management plan, and on evaluating a potential repository.

Durable research data is essential to justify research outcomes. Storage media can deteriorate with age or become obsolete, and file formats can also become obsolete or require proprietary software for access. The software may need to be archived along with the data files to enable their use. For information on determining durable file formats, refer to the Australian National Data Service Guides: http://www.ands.org.au/guides/file-formats-awareness.html

Policy Principles

Compliance

1. The University and its researchers must satisfy their respective responsibilities under the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and all relevant guidelines, statements and codes in respect of research data and primary materials. In doing so, the University and its researchers must also act in accordance with best practices in their respective discipline.

2. Storage, access, use and management of research data and primary materials must at all times be consistent with legislation, confidentiality and privacy requirements, ethical protocols, contractual arrangements, University policies, and the interests of the community and the University in ensuring that research data and materials are secure, accessible and retrievable.

Ownership

3. Subject to any applicable law or agreement with a third party, the University asserts ownership of research data and primary materials created or collected by:

a. staff members in the course of their employment with the University;

b. students in the course of their enrolment at the University; and

c. titleholders and visitors where such data or primary materials are generated solely or primarily through the use of University resources or funds.

4. While the University asserts ownership of research data, this does not override the ownership of intellectual property rights that may exist in the research data, which are subject to the University's Intellectual Property Policy.

5. The assertion of University ownership does not impede further use of research data by researchers where compliant with this Policy, and enables the University to manage the research data for long-term purposes, including data preservation and data sharing.

6. Subject to any applicable law, agreement with a third party, or confidentiality or security restrictions, researchers are permitted to retain copies of their research data for their own use. If jointly created, an agreement on data sharing must be reached with the other co-creators who may hold a copy of the data.

7. Where research data or primary materials are created by University staff, students or titleholders in collaboration with another institution, the Code requires that there be an agreement between the University and that other institution on the ownership, storage, access and management of the research data and primary materials. Where collaboration is with individuals rather than an institution, it is prudent to establish a written agreement, but not mandated unless required by a funding sponsor. Any agreements entered into must be consistent with the University's Contracts and Agreements Policy.

Storage

8. All research data and primary materials must be stored by the researcher in a University-approved, secure, accessible and identified location, with the final version of digital research data relating to any scholarly output deposited in an appropriate data-store and recorded in the University metadata store.

9. Research data (digital or non-digital) and primary materials that are not stored or deposited in accordance with this Policy, may not attract the benefit or protection of the University's insurance policies. The loss of such research data or primary materials will be at the sole risk of the researcher.

10. If a researcher transfers to a different institution, ownership and custody of any research data and primary materials they created may be transferred to that institution, provided that a formal written agreement is entered into between the University and the new institution for the transfer of the data and materials to, and curation by, the latter.

Data Access and Re-use

11. The University is committed to enabling open access to its scholarly output. Where the University is the owner of research data, it will make the data-sets available under the Creative Commons CC-BY licence v4.0 unless:

* this is prevented by the requirements of legislation or University policy, ethics approvals, ethical, cultural, contractual or confidentiality obligations; or

* the research data is comprised of sensitive data that cannot be appropriately de-identified, or is subject to an embargo.

12. Researchers seeking to access research data created by other researchers that has not been licensed for re-use, must take reasonable steps to consult the creator(s) of that research data for their consent, and must use the data in accordance with Policy Principles 2 and 3.

Retention and Disposal

13. University research data must be retained at least for the minimum period prescribed in the General Disposal Schedule No 24 under the State Records Act. Primary materials must be retained at least for the period sufficient to satisfy minimum retention requirements under relevant legislation or the Code. If longer retention periods apply under professional standards, conditions of funding or other contractual arrangements, they must be observed.

14. In the event that the processes, methods or outcomes of the research are challenged by any person for any reason, research data and primary materials must be retained by the University and the relevant researcher beyond the minimum periods under Policy Principle 13.

15. If research data or primary materials are no longer required to be retained to satisfy Policy Principle 13 or 14, they may be destroyed or disposed of having regard to Policy Principle 2, the University Records Policy, or any procedures on destruction or disposal that may be determined by the University from time to time.

Information Classification and Protection

16. Where research data comprise 'Class 3' information, appropriate security controls around access, storage, transmission and disposal must be implemented in accordance with the University Information Classification and Protection Guidelines.

17. Research data may only be stored or processed at a third-party facility (including any cloud storage or software as a service), in accordance with the University Third Party Hosting Security Guidelines.

Policy Procedures

1. Data Planning

1.1 A research data management plan is required for all internally or externally funded, University of Adelaide-led research projects.

1.2 Research data management plans should address data storage, access and re-use arrangements, and any other aspects required by the relevant funding body. The research data management plan must reflect the open access approach under Principle 11. These plans should be updated throughout the life of the project to take into account significant changes to the research project, e.g. the addition or deletion of investigators.

1.3 For staff projects, the data management plan needs to be prepared by the first-named University of Adelaide researcher and stored in compliance with the University Records Policy to ensure it can be produced when audited. In the particular instance of externally-funded research, the University will not release funds unless a data management plan is submitted to the University web portal [exact name to be determined once portal created].

1.4 For postgraduate research projects, Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, in consultation with their primary supervisor, must provide an initial research data management plan as a requirement of their Core Component of the Structured Program, with a final version of the plan provided with the final lodgement of the thesis.

Responsibility: Chief Investigators

a) Prepare a data research management plan for all internally and externally funded research projects.

b) For externally-funded research projects, submit the data management research plan to the University web portal [exact name to be determined once portal created] following funding approval.

Responsibility: Higher Degree by Research Students

c) Prepare an initial research data management plan for all research projects, and submit as part of the Core Component of the Structured Program.

d) Submit a final research data management plan with their completed thesis, and lodgement of their research data with the University. (Refer to Procedure 4 (d) below.)

Responsibility: Higher Degree by Research Student Supervisors

e) Oversee the preparation of a research data management plan for HDR students under their supervision.

2. Storage, Retention and Publishing

The storage of data relating to a research project usually falls within two stages:

  • During the life of the research project, 'active' data is maintained by the lead researcher for use within their research team, and needs to be stored in a secure, accessible and identified location, as listed in the associated data management plan; and
  • Following completion of the research project, the final data needs to be appropriately archived.

2.1 Selecting a data repository

At the completion of a project, data needs to be archived in an identified, suitable location. Some funding bodies may have specific retention requirements, which will need to be complied with as part of a funding agreement. There may also be a requirement by some publishers that research data associated with an approved publication is deposited in a nominated repository.

a) When selecting a means for data archive and publication, repositories should be evaluated by the researcher.

b) In cases where the data cannot be deposited into a repository, it should be retained in appropriate and secure University storage.

c) In all cases, the location of the data must be recorded in the University's metadata store.

2.2 Retention

In line with the Code and the State Records Act 1997, all research data and records should be archived for a minimum of 5 years from the date of publication. However, there will be some specific exceptions, e.g.:

* for short-term research projects that are for assessment purposes only, such as research projects completed by students, retaining research data for 12 months after the completion of the project may be sufficient;

* for most clinical trials, retaining research data for 15 years or more may be necessary;

* for areas such as gene therapy, research data must be retained permanently (e.g. patient records); and

* if the work has community or heritage value, research data should be kept permanently , preferably within a national collection.

Non-digital research data and primary materials must be stored by the researcher in a secure, accessible and identified location, and recorded in the University's metadata store.

Responsibility: Researcher

a) Ensure research data and primary materials are stored in a secure, accessible and identified location, and that confidential material is held in an appropriately secure location.

b) Such data and materials and its location must recorded in the University metadata store, whether stored within the University or externally.

c) Maintain accurate, complete, reliable and authentic records of their research methods, data, materials and findings, including any approvals. These records need to be in a durable, organised and accessible format, along with associated metadata.

d) Report any breach of confidentiality to the Head of School and/or Director, Research Branch.

e) If involved in a collaborative or joint research project, ensure that clear procedures are agreed by all parties for the ownership, collection, storage and management of any related data or materials, and that they are well documented.

f) Comply with the data retention requirements of specific funding bodies.

g) If supervising research students, ensure the students are aware of the need to adhere to this Policy.

Responsibility: Heads of School

a) Ensure researchers store their research data and primary materials in an accessible and identified location.

Responsibility: DVC(Research)

b) Conduct random audits to verify that research data and primary materials are appropriately stored and managed.

3. Access and Re-use

3.1 Researchers engaged in publicly-funded research must adhere to the access requirements of the specific funding body. This includes, but is not limited to, the Australian Research Council Open Access Policy, and the National Health and Medical Research Council Open Access Policy.

3.2 To mark a University-owned data set as being available under the CC-BY v4.0 licence, researchers should follow the instructions at https://wiki.creativecommons.org/images/6/61/Creativecommons-licensing-and-marking-your-content_eng.pdf. The following attribution wording should be applied: "Copyright University of Adelaide ([Name of School / Research Centre], [year]).

3.3 In cases where a CC-BY license is not suitable, another form of licence may be appropriate. In such cases, researchers must seek approval from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or delegated representative.

3.4 Researchers who are collecting information from or about individuals for their research need to be aware of the requirements and implications of governmental and organisational privacy legislation, and how this may affect the collection, storage, use and disclosure of data.

Responsibility: Researcher

a) Taking into account any privacy or confidentiality requirements and/or legislation, provide authority for other researchers to access and/or share their data.

b) Where seeking to access research data created by other researchers that is not in the public domain, or licensed for the type of re-use for which the researcher intends to use the data, attain written approval from the latter.

Responsibility: DVC(Research)

a) Consider requests for the use of a data license other than a CC-BY license.

4. Disposal

The disposal of data must be compliant with the requirements of the State Records Act 1997 and the University Records Management Policy.

Responsibility: Researchers

a) Provide a recommendation to the Head of School on the disposal of their research data or primary materials, ideally as part of a research data management plan.

b) Where applicable, ensure exiting research students have left all original research data and primary materials created during their research work at the University, and that these data and materials are appropriately stored and catalogued. Copies of the research data or primary materials may be taken by the exiting student.

Responsibility: Heads of School

c) Ensure exiting staff have left all original research data and primary materials created during their research work at the University, and that these data and materials are appropriately stored and catalogued.

Responsibility: Higher Degree by Research Students

d) Prior to submission of their thesis, deposit research data and primary research materials with your supervisor. Further information is provided in the Research Student Handbook.

5. Resolution of Disagreements

Where a disagreement arises between researchers about access to or re-use of research data under this Policy, it should be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), who will make a final determination.

DEFINITIONS

CC-BY v4.0

Refers to an international Creative Commons licensing system (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) under which material is made freely available to the world to copy, use or adapt, with appropriate attribution.

Class 3 information

Confidential information as defined in the University Information Classification and Protection Guidelines, e.g. medical records and patient data, personally identifiable data, etc.

The Code

Refers to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Digital research data

Data and records created and/or maintained by means of electronic equipment and which may also be communicated through electronic means.[1]

Metadata

Metadata provides information on specific research data or primary materials, and normally includes such details as the means of creation of the data, the purpose of the data, time and date of creation, the creator or author of data, the location of the data, etc. It assists in the discovery, use/re-use and management of the data, and in allowing correct attribution to the creators of the work.

Primary materials

Physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which research data may be derived. It may include raw physical materials such as ore, soil samples or biological material, or physical or digital objects such as artefacts, questionnaires, sound recordings or video. Depending on discipline, primary materials may be considered research data, and may be required to be retained if they are required to validate the outcomes of research, and defend those outcomes against challenge.[2]

Research

Original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, understanding and insight.[3]

Research Data

Data are facts, observations or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Data includes: laboratory notebooks; field notebooks; primary research data (including research data in hardcopy or in computer readable form); questionnaires; audiotapes; videotapes; models; photographs; films; test responses. Research collections may include slides; artefacts; specimens; samples. Provenance information about the data might also be included: the how, when, where it was collected and with what (for example, instrument). The software code used to generate, annotate or analyse the data may also be included.[4]

Research data and primary materials will also include evidence to support the formulation of the hypotheses and findings in areas such as text-based research. It also includes creative outputs, for example drafts of original literary and musical works, and musical performances, as recognised or defined by evaluative processes such as Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Researcher

A staff member, student, affiliate or titleholder of the University of Adelaide who is involved in the conduct of research associated with the University anywhere in the world.

Sensitive Data

Sensitive data are data that can be used to identify an individual, species, object, process or location that introduces a risk of discrimination, harm or unwanted attention. Under law and the research ethics governance of most institutions, sensitive data cannot typically be shared in this form, with few exceptions. De-identification (i.e. removing direct identifying details) alone may be insufficient to change the data from being "sensitive data", and a range of steps to confidentialise the data may be necessary. Guidance is provided by the Australian National Data Service (http://www.ands.org.au/guides/sensitivedata.html).



[1] The University of Melbourne Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records

http://www.unimelb.edu.au/records/research.html.

[2] University of Sydney Research Data Management Policy http://sydney.edu.au/policies/showdoc.aspx?recnum=PDOC2013/337

[3] As defined in the Code (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/ethics/integrity/code/code.html)

[4] The University of Melbourne Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records

http://www.unimelb.edu.au/records/research.html

Date uploaded 17 May 2016


This document is a component of Research Data and Primary Materials Policy

Policy Control Information

RMO File No. 2021/1199
Policy custodian Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)
Responsible policy officer Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Operations)
Endorsed by Academic Board
Approved by Vice-Chancellor and President
Related Policies Refer to Procedure 6 of this Policy.
Related legislation State Records Act
Effective from 4 August 2021
Review Date 3 August 2024
Contact for queries about the policy Director of Research Infrastructure and Platforms, 8313 3050

Please refer to the Policy Directory for the latest version.