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Management of Research Data and Primary Research Materials Policy
  1. The University adheres to the principle that primary research materials and research data are valuable products of research activity and are important in justifying research outcomes, providing transparency, stimulating open enquiry, supporting research outputs and potentially serving as important material for further research activity.
  2. This document sets out the University of Canberra’s policy on all aspects of the management of research data and primary research materials.
This policy applies to:
  • all staff, affiliates, and students of the University of Canberra who are undertaking research activities associated with the University, irrespective of their location.
  • all research data and primary research materials regardless of format and subject to the provisions of any relevant contracts or agreements.
  1. Ownership
    1. Subject to agreements entered into by the University with third parties, including funding bodies and other institutions, primary research materials (materials) and research data (data) created or collected by the researchers undertaking the research are considered as Intellectual Property, and ownership is governed by the current University of Canberra Intellectual Property Policy.
    2. Where projects are covered by funding agreements that span multiple institutions, an agreement should be developed prior to the commencement of the project covering the ownership of data and materials.
  2. Research Data Management Plans
    1. The University encourages all researchers to develop a Research Data Management Plan for their research project detailing the following:
      • a record of all proposed sources of data and materials;
      • the location of all data and materials;
      • procedures to be adopted to ensure safe and secure storage of data and materials, taking into account ethical, legal and other requirements;
      • requirements for sharing, reuse, or public access to data and materials;
      • period of data retention and procedure for data disposal after the defined period (if applicable).
    2. Researchers must ensure that for all research projects which are bound by specific funding obligations with regard to management of data, as well as research projects that are supported by Category 1 funding, a Research Data Management Plan is put in place at the commencement of the project.
  3. Storage
    1. The University is responsible for the provision of appropriate infrastructure for the storage of data and materials.
    2. Researchers must ensure storage of data and materials to protect against loss, theft, damage or misuse.
    3. Researchers must ensure security is commensurate to the confidentiality and sensitivity of the material and data. In addition, security and confidentiality must be assured in a way that copes with multiple researchers and the departure of individuals.
    4. Special care must be given to the storage of data and materials in the context of ethical, environmentally sensitive, privacy, confidentiality, national security and cultural requirements to ensure the protection of sensitive and personal information This includes, in particular, data and materials associated with projects that are governed by human research ethics and defence trade control protocols.
    5. Data must be easily identifiable and accessible.
  4. Retention
    1. Researchers must decide which data and materials should be retained, adhering to cases where such determinations are made by law, funding bodies, publishers, or by the conventions of particular disciplines.
    2. Data must be retained in a durable and retrievable form.
    3. In general, data must be retained for 5 years from the date of publication. However, the retention period should ultimately be determined by the specific nature of the research according to the following:
      • short term projects that are for assessment purposes only, such as projects completed by students: minimum of 12 months from the completion of the project;
      • published research not involving clinical interventions: 5 years;
      • data and material from clinical trials: minimum of 15 years;
      • data and material relating to gene therapy: permanently;
      • data that has significant community or heritage value: permanently.
    4. In instances where research results are challenged, all relevant data and material must be retained until the matter is resolved. Research records that may be relevant to allegations of research misconduct (as outlined in the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy) must not be destroyed.
    5. If the data has community, heritage or environmental value, consideration should be given to permanent retention within a national, state or territory collection.
  5. Data Sharing, Reuse and Collaborative Arrangements
    1. Unless it is prevented by ethical, privacy, or confidentiality matters, consideration must be given to the availability of data for use by other researchers for further research as well as availability via open access or controlled access.
    2. All researchers given access to data or materials must comply with stipulated requirements, such as those pertaining to copyright, licensing and confidentiality.
    3. In cases of collaborative projects as described under clause 5.2, supporting agreements will outline responsibilities with regard to storage, retention and disposal of data and materials.
  6. Disposal
    1. Data and materials must be disposed of safely and in accordance with University policies and procedures, as well as ethical and contractual requirements.
    2. Disposal of data and materials must not occur prior to the expiration of the retention period or prior to the resolution of any challenge to the results of the research.
  7. Researcher Exit
    1. When a researcher leaves the University, a review of the data and materials created and collected by the researcher will be undertaken to determine the ongoing ownership and storage.
This policy is governed by the University of Canberra Act 1989 (ACT) and informed by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the National Code), the Privacy Act, The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and NHMRC Statement on Data Sharing.
Supporting Information:
This policy is part of a suite of policies designed to ensure the responsible conduct of research by all University staff and students. The National Code constitutes the national guidelines for institutions and researchers in responsible research practices, and was jointly developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia. This National Code provides the basis for the University of Canberra Responsible Conduct of Research Policy. The University’s policies in this area are designed to ensure compliance with the National Code, and also with the conditions of public funding bodies.

Documents related to this policy are:
Terms Definitions
Affiliates those people given Emeritus and Honorary (including Adjunct, Professional Associate and Visitor) appointments in accordance with the relevant University policies and procedures
Disposal any action or process undertaken at the end of a retention period. This may include permanent archiving, redeployment, transfer of ownership, or destruction or data and materials
Primary research materials objects (physical or visual) acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which Research Data may be derived
Research data all data, regardless of format, created and/or generated by researchers in the course of their research work, on which an argument, theory, test or hypothesis, or another research output is based. Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile. It may be raw, learned or processed, and may be held in any format or media.
Research data management plan a document that outlines how a researcher will handle data and materials both during and at the completion of the project
Researcher staff, students and affiliates who undertake research for the University
Staff a person who is a member of the staff of the University, whether full-time, part-time, contract, sessional or casual and includes all academic, professional, technical and administrative officers and employees