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Research Data and Primary Materials Management procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 21 September 2016.

(2) This Procedure includes the following schedule:

  1. Schedule A: Retention periods for research data.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure outlines the requirements for responsible management of research data (including data documentation and metadata) and primary research materials, in compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Code).

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all research undertaken by staff and students of Deakin University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Research Conduct policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Data management planning

(6) All researchers will develop a Research Data Management Plan when planning research projects and other research activities. The plan will include:

  1. Data ownership
  2. Data collection
  3. Data storage
  4. Data retention
  5. Data access
  6. Data disposal.

(7) Researchers will comply with any relevant contractual, intellectual property and confidentiality agreements, and ethical requirements when developing the research data management plan. Researchers will consult the University's research data management planning guide to develop the plan.

(8) All research data and associated documentation will be stored together where possible.

Data ownership

(9) Researchers will 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 or withdrawing from collaborative projects.

(10) Ownership of research data and materials, unless specified otherwise by contract, will be construed in accordance with the Intellectual Property (Students) policy, Intellectual Property (Staff) policy and Intellectual Property procedure.

(11) Confidentiality agreements to protect intellectual property rights may be reached between the University, the researcher and a sponsor of the research. Where such agreements limit free publication and discussion, they must be explicitly agreed and may be subject to ethical approval.

Data collection

(12) The principal investigator or nominee is responsible for data collection and management of materials from a research project.

(13) Researchers will keep clear and accurate records of research materials and data, including any approvals granted during and after the research process, in order to enable them to justify the outcomes of the research, defend research findings if challenged, and support the reproducibility of research when necessary.

(14) When data are obtained from limited access databases, or via a contractual arrangement, written indication of the location of the original data or key information regarding the database from which it was collected must be retained by the researcher or research unit.

Data retention

(15) Research data and primary materials will be retained for at least the minimum retention periods as described in Schedule A: Retention periods for research data. Materials may be kept for longer periods, or indefinitely, provided that this does not breach the conditions of ethics approval or any agreement under which the data and materials were obtained.

(16) In the case where results from research are challenged, all relevant research data and primary research materials will be retained until the matter is resolved. Research records that may be relevant to allegations of breaches of the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research or research misconduct must not be destroyed.

Data storage

(17) Research data and materials will be stored securely to protect against theft, misuse, damage or loss, and stored in an indexed and retrievable form, for the required retention period. Researchers will refer to Deakin's storage guidelines for further information on storage.

(18) Storage and management of information which might potentially identify a person must comply with the Public Records Act, 1973 (Vic), Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) where relevant. It must also take account of professional standards and contractual arrangements, including agreements entered into with research participants.

(19) In all University research projects, the University shall maintain custody of the original materials for the specified retention period unless appropriate alternative arrangements for secure storage are made and are approved by the Head of Academic Unit, Information Manager, and the human research ethics committee where applicable.

(20) Staff or student researchers who leave the University during the retention period may transfer a copy of the material or data to a new secure storage location for their own use. In this situation there must be a written agreement and transfer may not occur if specified otherwise by contract or intellectual property limitations. The Head of Academic Unit will manage and retain the data management plan in the event a staff or student researcher leaves the University.

Data access

(21) Researchers are responsible for ensuring appropriate security for any confidential material, including that held in electronic form. Security and confidentiality will be assured in a way that allows for multiple users and the departure of individual researchers. Researchers should refer to Deakin's access (sharing data) guidelines for further information.

(22) Researchers given access to confidential information will maintain that confidentiality in accordance with privacy law, and any ethical or contractual conditions, including agreements with research participants.

(23) Researchers should make research data available for the use by other researchers unless the research data should not be shared due to legal, privacy or confidentiality matters, subject to ethical approval and agreements with research participants.

(24) Researchers will report any breach of privacy or confidentiality in relation to access to research data to the Manager, Ethics and Biosafety, Privacy Officer and Head of Academic Unit.

Data and materials from collaborative projects

(25) Where the project involves collaborative research across institutions the research agreement (in the addition to the items mentioned above), will include a data management plan to cover the ownership, storage, disposal and any associated costs of research data and primary research materials within each institution. Where no other agreement is put in place, ownership of data and primary materials shall follow the intellectual property in the project.

Data Disposal

(26) The principal investigator or nominee is responsible for disposal of materials from research work and any associated costs.

(27) Disposal of research data after appropriate retention periods will be undertaken in compliance with the required safety and environmental standards and in accordance with legislative, confidentiality and other requirements to ensure that data cannot be reused in an unauthorised manner.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(28) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. research data - Research data are broadly defined as all data created by researchers in the course of their work, including data that are collected, observed, or created, for purposes of analysis to produce original research results. This will vary depending on the research discipline. Research data may include primary data or secondary data, and materials. Further information on data can be viewed at the Manage Your Research Data webpage (Current Students).