The research data management guidelines are based on Monash University's Research Data Management Policy. A checklist for researchers is also included, to assist in the preparation of their plans. Both documents are based on work done by, and kindly made available to us by MeRC, Monash University (see the Monash Research Data Site). The changes made by Rob Burrowes and Murray Grigor, to the Monash policy, reflected the different legislative environment, and the Auckland University research environment.
These guidelines provide information and direction for the planning, management and disposal of research data, to ensure that procedures for research data management are in compliance with The University of Auckland research policies and guidelines (see Research Policies), the University's Record Management Policy (Records Management Policy) and are appropriate to support publication of the research and the protection of the University's intellectual property and reputation. Statutory or other requirements are outlined in section 2.0 of this document.
Definitions / General Information
The definitions of all terminology and vocabulary used in these guidelines outlined in Appendix 1.
1.1 Research Data Management Awareness
1.1.1 Researchers, including research students, are expected to be familiar with the guidelines provided in the University of Auckland Research Code of Conduct and related research policies and procedures in order to fully understand their compliance obligations. Opportunities will be provided by the University for information and training in data management.
1.1.2 All general staff involved in the support of research must inform themselves about institutional data management responsibilities as outlined in the above documents.
Responsibility: Researchers and research students, Heads of Departments and Schools, supervisors and relevant general staff.
1.2 Research Data Planning
1.2.1 All researchers must consider research data management issues when planning research projects and other research activities. At a minimum, research data planning should consider and document the following:
- Ownership of copyright and other intellectual property;
- Ethical requirements, including privacy, confidentiality and cultural sensitivity;
- Which data need to be retained;
- The length of time for which data must be kept, and how it will be archived, disposed of, or destroyed, at the end of the retention period;
- Secure storage and controlled access
- Description of data so that it can be found, used and managed over its entire life cycle.
1.2.2 Data planning documentation must be kept with other research project documentation for future management of the research data.
1.2.3 Where researchers are in doubt about data management planning obligations, they must consult the guidelines provided within the Research Data Management website.
Responsibility: Researchers and research students.
1.3 Retention of research data and primary materials
1.3.1 Research data must be retained according to the periods specified in the Auckland Research Code of Conduct and in any relevant legislation or codes of practice. In general, the minimum retention period is six years post-publication: however, the specified period can vary depending upon the discipline and type of research, and institutional policies. For example:
- 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 the research data for a minimum of 10 years after the trial, or for children, until they reach the age of 26 years;
- For areas such as gene therapy, research data must be retained permanently (eg patient records);
- If the work has community or heritage value, research data should be kept permanently at this stage, preferably within a national collection;
- In some cases retaining data for longer periods or permanently may be required or recommended. Previous disposal recommendations should be reviewed before data is destroyed;
- If results from research are challenged, all relevant data and materials must be retained until the matter is resolved;
- Research records that may be relevant to allegations of research misconduct must not be destroyed;
- Providing a review does not indicate a need to extend the retention period, research data must be disposed of according to retention and disposal guidelines provided;
- Requirements from bodies including funding agencies and commercial sponsors may also apply.
Responsibility: Researchers and research students
1.4 Ownership, Copyright and Intellectual Property
1.4.1 Researchers together with research managers and administrators must ensure that ownership of research data is identified and documented at the start of a research project and reviewed and updated whenever appropriate. The documentation should detail how ownership and storage of data and materials will be affected by researchers changing institutions, withdrawing from collaborative projects and/or on completion of higher degrees by research.
1.4.2 Researchers must acknowledge the use third-party research data.
1.4.3 Where researchers are in doubt about copyright obligations, they may consult the guidelines provided within the Copyright website.
1.4.4 The University of Auckland Research Code of Conduct and the University policy on Intellectual property created by staff and students cover when and how the property/Intellectual Property rights apply to research data. Funding agencies and other stakeholders (e.g. research collaborators and research participants) may also have IP requirements and these must be considered during data management planning, along with ethical, cultural or privacy-based requirements.
Responsibility: Researchers and research students
1.5 Ethical requirements of data management
- Researchers must consider and document ethical requirements relating to data management using the procedures and guidelines outlined on the Auckland Research Code of Conduct .
- Researchers must apply the existing University of Auckland Research Code of Conduct procedures on Privacy, and comply with all relevant privacy legislation;
- Where researchers are in doubt about privacy, they may seek guidance from the University's Privacy website.
1.5.3 Confidentiality and consent
- Respect any confidentiality agreement about stored data that has been made with participants;
- Establish consent processes that include information about the form in which the data will be stored (specifically about identifiability of subjects) and the purposes for which the data will be used and/or disclosed;
- Retain records of confidentiality agreements and consents;
- Secure data so that it is not available for uses to which participants did not consent.
Where researchers are in doubt about confidentiality and consent, they may seek guidance from the Ethics website.
Responsibility: Researchers, research students and supervisors, Heads of departments/schools
1.6 Data storage, record keeping and backup
1.6.1 All those handling research data must:
- Document how data will be created, stored and managed, and the provisions for access to data through its lifecycle from creation to disposal or permanent preservation;
- Store data securely in a method appropriate for the format of the data and with appropriate metadata;
- Identify non-digital data that is not suitable for digitisation and organise storage in a secure environment within Records and Archives guidelines;
- Make data available for use whenever possible, taking into account constraints which may arise from ethical, privacy, confidentiality, cultural and intellectual property requirements;
- Facilitate long term access and preservation by using durable formats to create and store digital data;
- Prior to completion or publication of the research, store master copies of digital data on the University's published-data repository.
1.6.2 Standards and agreed processes for creating and maintaining metadata (i.e. structured information that identifies the research data and describes its attributes) must be used to facilitate the identification, retrieval and re-use of research data over its lifecycle.
1.6.3 Data should be stored in a repository or archive for the purposes of validating the research and furthering knowledge where:
- A suitable repository is available;
- The data meets the criteria for deposit;
- The data can be made available in ways that do not infringe legal or ethical restrictions.
Responsibility: Researchers and research students, Heads of departments/schools
1.7 Exit planning
1.7.1 During data planning, researchers should establish and document the ownership of research data.
1.7.2 Data identified as owned by an individual may be removed from The University by the individual on leaving the University of Auckland. The individual should advise the head of their academic unit of their intention to take the data, and agree to and document any ongoing access for the unit.
1.7.3 University of Auckland data will remain the property of the University and become the responsibility of the academic unit involved. Individuals leaving the University may negotiate to take copies of the data. Any arrangements made should be documented and the documentation should be stored with the data.
1.7.4 Processes for individuals or groups exiting from a project using third-party data should be established and documented at the commencement of the project. The documentation must be kept with other project documentation such as the initial agreements on the use of the data.
Responsibility: Researchers, research students and supervisors, Heads of departments/schools
1.8 Review and destruction
1.8.1 When destruction of data is required because of ethical commitments or because the data is no longer required, it should be destroyed according to Records and Archives guidelines.
1.8.2 Destruction requirements, including methods, timelines and decision-making processes must be documented in data planning and stored with other project documentation.
1.8.3 Researchers and general staff must follow the guidelines on How to Destroy Records Securely. (to be established)
1.8.4 Research data that is scheduled to be destroyed must be reviewed by
- The data owner (where the data is not owned by the University); or
- The head of department/academic unit (or delegate) responsible for managing the data.
1.8.5 The reviewer of the data must confirm that the data:
- Is not of archival value and does not need to be permanently retained;
- Is no longer required to carry out the business of the unit;
- Is not subject to any outstanding legal or ethical requirements, challenges of the research results or allegations of research misconduct.
1.8.6 Review and destruction of research data must be authorised by the data owner (where the data is not owned by The University of Auckland) or by the head of department/academic unit responsible for managing the data.
1.8.7 Data must not be destroyed without written authorisation and documentation of the data and the destruction processes used.
Responsibility: Researchers, Heads of departments / schools and supervisors
2.0 Relevant policies and legislation
- UoA Research Policies
- Auckland Research Code of Conduct
- UoA Copyright Policy
- UoA Records Management Policy
- Research Reporting Policy
- UoA Intellectual Property Created by Staff & Students Policy
- Privacy Act
- Health Act
- Health Information Privacy Code
- Retention of Health Information Regulations
- Cancer Registry Act
- Public Records Act
- New Zealand Health Information Strategy
- The New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act
- Official Information Act
Code of Ethics of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA)
2. University of Auckland research data planning checklist
Appendix 1: Definitions
Destruction: the irreversible (no reasonable risk that any information may be recovered later) physical obliteration of all existing copies of data carried out using appropriate methods such as shredding or pulping and in the case of electronic data, rendering them unreadable. Extra care must be taken when dealing with records that contain sensitive information.
Disposal: any action that changes the circumstances of data or removes data from its usual setting including destruction, damage, alteration or transfer of custody or ownership of data.
Intellectual Property: Any copyright work, circuit layout, eligible layout, design, patent, invention, confidential information, know-how, plant variety, trade mark or other insignia of origin, and any related right.
Metadata: Schematised information about attributes of an item or collection of research data that enable it to be identified, retrieved and re-used. Important metadata elements may include subject matter, creators and owners, and technical or contextual information that enables the data to be understood.
Research data: The data, records, files or other elements, irrespective of the form in which they exist (e.g. in print, digital, or physical forms), that underpin a research project's observations, findings or outcomes. Refers to both primary materials and analysed data.
Research records: Information created, received, used or maintained as evidence of, or information about, the official business and decision-making related to research activities, in print, digital or physical forms.
Researchers: all staff and students engaged in research in all disciplines, including students engaged in research for degree purposes.
Retention: the process of retaining research data according to the periods specified in the Code and other archives and records legislation.
Third-party research data: any kind of research data that is created by another researcher(s) that is being reused for different research purposes ie being used by researchers other than the original creator.
Appendix 2: The University of Auckland Research Data Planning Checklist .
Data management planning is an important part of the responsible conduct of research. Data that you create, compile or collect during your research is a valuable asset that needs to be cared for over long periods of time.
You can use this checklist to:
- Document your research data management activities;
- Identify areas of potential difficulty or conflict that need to be resolved with your supervisor;
- Find out more about data management services and tools available at the University of Auckland, and how to access them.
Before you start
Completing the checklist will be easier if you are familiar with the following resources:
- The University of Auckland Research Code of Conduct
- The University policy on Intellectual property created by staff and students
If you need information or help to complete the checklist
- Uk Digital Curation Centre has excellent advise and tools to help create data management plans.
What to do with your completed checklist
Retain a copy of the completed checklist with your research data and submit a copy to your Department/School office.
You may find the checklist useful as a discussion document when talking to your supervisor/other academics and professional staff about your data management needs.
Your data management requirements may change as your research progresses: policies, legislation, personnel and technologies all evolve, and refinements to research methodologies are common. Refer to your checklist regularly and update it as required.