Research Data and Primary Materials Management Procedure

Procedure overview

1 Purpose

To establish the responsibilities and processes for the management of Research Data and Primary Materials at the University.

2 Scope

This procedure applies to all Research Workers.

3 Procedure Overview

This procedure supports the Research Code of Conduct Policy and contains specific guidance relating to Research Data and Primary Materials.

This procedure closely aligns with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research supplementary guide, Management of Data and Information in Research. It outlines the responsibilities and processes for management of data and information in research at the University. Specifically, it aligns with the following principles outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research:

  • Principle 2, 'Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research', which requires that research be characterised by attention to detail and robust methodology and that researchers avoid or acknowledge biases.
  • Principle 3, 'Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings', which requires researchers to share and communicate research methodology, data and findings openly, responsibly and accurately.
  • Principle 7, 'Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research' so as to comply with relevant legislation, policies and guidelines and ensure good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research.

4 Procedures

Research Data and Primary Materials Management is a mutual responsibility.

The University works in partnership with Research Workers, institutes, centres, faculties, schools and relevant research support providers to implement best practice. The University has a responsibility to provide a framework that:

  • Supports Research Workers through the provision of appropriate information, resources and training, and
  • Ensures that Research Workers can meet their responsibilities in relation to safe and secure storage (e.g. storage facilities are supported and available to access).

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) will lead the development of a framework at the University to support the appropriate storage and management of Research Data and Primary Materials. Implementation of this framework is a shared responsibility across the University, requiring active engagement from leaders across the Schools, Faculties, Centres and Institutes.

In accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research supplementary guide, Management of Data and Information in Research, Research Workers have responsibilities in relation to the appropriately manage Research Data and Primary Materials using methods appropriate to the discipline and applicable standards (e.g. ethics guidelines, legislation, policies, and/or funding agency requirements).

4.1 Ownership, stewardship and control

Research Workers should ensure agreements around ownership and management are in place, particularly in the cases of collaborations across multiple institutions. Agreements should consider the location of the data or information and materials (in Australia or overseas, virtual or physical), and movement or departures of staff.

Ordinarily Research Data and Primary Materials retained at the end of the project will be the property of the University or may be held at another institution with an interest in the research or a central repository. For collaborative research projects that span more than one institution, agreement should be formally documented between collaborators.

Overall responsibility for Research Data and Primary Materials Management resides with the Principal (also commonly referred to as the Chief or Primary) Investigator of a research project. In the case of a Student research project, the Principal Higher Degree by Research (HDR) supervisor has overarching responsibility for Research Data and Primary Materials management. Ownership is determined in accordance with the University's Intellectual Property policy and procedures.

Research Workers should appropriately consult with Indigenous owners, regarding decisions about future access to or reuse of data or information used in, or generated by, research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

4.2 Management Plans

At the start of any research project or activity a management plan should be developed. The University strongly encourages the use of such plans for all research. In some cases there may be an obligation to establish and maintain these plans to comply with funding or ethical obligations.

Early and continued planning assists Research Workers to identify key needs and requirements, including:

  • adequate technological resources (e.g. storage space, support staff time);
  • expert advice (e.g. Intellectual Property experts relating to ownership, patenting and knowledge transfer, Metadata experts on data description and curation, Copyright experts on attributions and sharing, and/or Repository experts on retention);
  • any research project-specific conditions that require management protocols above the University's requirements;
  • legal and ethical requirements; and
  • potential for sharing.

4.2.1 Research Data Management Plan

The University provides a Research Data Management Plan template to guide Research Workers in their planning process. Research Workers may include details of Primary Materials in the University's Research Data Management Plan template or develop discipline specific Primary Materials plans at the start of their project.

A Research Data Management Plan includes, but is not limited to, details regarding:

  • what Research Data will be created;
  • what legislation, regulations, codes, policies and standards etc. (funding, institutional, ethical, and legal etc.) will apply to the Research Data;
  • ownership, access and protection of Intellectual Property;
  • training for members of the project team and others, as appropriate;
  • how the Research Data will be described and possibly shared and/or reused;
  • what Research Data Management practices (backups, access control, preservation and archiving) will be used;
  • what facilities and equipment (hard-disk space, backup server, repository) will be required; and
  • who will be responsible for each of these activities.

Research Workers who are involved in research training, should encourage the early and continued use of Research Data Management Plans by their students.

When good management practices are employed by Research Workers and enabled by a Research Data Management Plan, project efficiency is optimised and information loss and duplication is voided.

Good management in research data includes:

  • Use of stable storage formats and regular backup to a source external to an individual computer.
  • Version control and other relevant mechanisms for datasets, algorithms, models and software configuration management.
  • Workflow documentation with provenance information (i.e. the origin of the information) for instruments (use and calibration) and software used.
  • Adherence to appropriate national and international standards for scientific terminology and information encoding (e.g. EAD - Encoded Archival Description; TEI - Text Encoding Initiative; METS - Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard).

4.3 Storage, Retention and disposal

The storage, retention and disposal of Research Data and Primary Materials should be consistent with the University's Records and Information Management Policy and Procedure and the Queensland University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule. Research Workers should also ensure that any special conditions relating to the research project and/or type of research conducted are met, for example this may include: contractual requirements relating to copyright or licencing; privacy, ethical and publication guidelines; relevant laws, regulations and guidelines; and/or with research discipline-specific best practices.

Research Workers should retain clear, accurate secure and complete records. This includes all relevant administrative records of research such as approvals, authorisations, ethics approval/s, financial approvals and reporting, receipts and consent forms.

Any inappropriate use of, access to, or loss of, Research Data should be reported.

4.3.1 Storage

When storing Research Data and Primary Materials, Research Workers should create and maintain sufficient documentation or metadata (i.e. structured information about the data) to enable it to be: identified; discovered; associated with its owners and creators; linked to other related data or publications; contextualised in time and space; and to have the quality of the data assessed and research results validated. Research Data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable as per the FAIR statement.

Describing Research Data and Primary Materials appropriately during storage enables:

  • sharing of Research data, helping to raise research profiles and increase impact and recognition;
  • future research to build on existing knowledge;
  • transparency and supports research integrity;
  • recording of Research Data collected at a specific point of time that cannot be repeated;
  • validation of findings by others;
  • support for the responsible communication of research results; and
  • re-use of the Research Data by researchers in other fields for different purposes.

Through the course of a research project all Research Data, regardless of format, should be stored securely and backed up or copied regularly. It is strongly recommended that Research Workers keep at least three copies of all Research Data (primary and two secondary), and maintain a plan for regular backups.

Research Workers should ensure the security of Research Data by using University systems and storage facilities. To enable the secure storage of research data, access to eResearch advice and services to guide Research Workers in the selection of appropriate storage is provided.

It is recommended that durable file formats be selected for use during the conduct of research, considering the following factors:

  • endorsed and published by standards agencies such as Standards Australia or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO);
  • publicly documented, i.e. complete authoritative specifications are available;
  • the product of collaborative development and consultative processes; and
  • widely used and accepted as best practice within a discipline or other user communities.

For Primary Materials, Research Workers must ensure they are appropriately stored in accordance with the University's Work, Health and Safety policies and procedures, and biological containment requirements (for biological primary materials). When storing Primary Materials, Research Workers should consider:

  • ease of access and identification;
  • prevention of loss of unique materials (storage methods appropriate to conserve the scientific and research value);
  • whether the primary materials enable accuracy of research to be tested;
  • the continuity of Research work (Business Continuity Planning);
  • contractual obligations of external research funding bodies (if applicable);
  • impact on future funding; and
  • Intellectual Property and novel scientific research.

4.3.2 Retention and disposal

Research Data should be retained, and disposed of, in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the Queensland University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule and the University's Records and Information Management Policy. Research workers should consider the legal requirements and requirements of funders, government bodies and publishers, when determining what Research Data and Primary Materials should be retained long-term and made widely accessible.

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research supplementary guide, Management of Data and Information in Research, recommends that the following be considered when deciding which Research Data and Primary Materials should be retained:

  • uniqueness and non-replicability (i.e. research would be difficult or impossible to recreate, repeating the experiment would represent an unjustifiable imposition to participants or animals);
  • reliability, integrity, and usability;
  • relevance to a known research initiative or collection (such as methods or results constitute a paradigm shift for the field of inquiry);
  • community, cultural or historical value (such as high public interest or contention);
  • economic benefit;
  • the research included human participants under 18; and
  • the research will result in notifiable Intellectual Property (e.g. a patent application).

It is important to note that Primary Materials may not always be practical to retain (e.g. biological material/s, ore, questionnaires or recordings). Therefore, durable records derived from the (e.g. test results, transcripts, laboratory books, field notes) must be retained and accessible.

In addition to the actual Research Data and Primary Materials, Research Workers need to retain any corporate records related to that data and information generated in research.

Research Workers are responsible for ensuring appropriate arrangements have been made in relation to disposal of Research Data and Primary Materials. Extra care should be taken when dealing with records that contain sensitive information or are subject to privacy legislation. Master copies of any working data that belongs to the University or to a third party with which the University has an agreement should not be deleted. The University's Intellectual Property Policy and relevant procedures set out the responsibilities of Research Workers in relation to retaining copies for teaching and research purposes.

Disposal of Primary Materials should be done in with all due consideration to potential biological or environmental risks associated with the materials.

4.4 Safety, security and confidentiality

Research Workers should understand their responsibilities in relation to storage, security and access. Any project-specific conditions of consent or confidentiality agreements should be respected.

Where confidentiality agreements and/or restrictions on the use of Research Data and Primary Materials exist, Research Workers should ensure they understand, and abide by, the relevant requirements. Research Data and information which may have obligations of confidentiality or sensitivities, may be:

  • Commercial-in-confidence or inherently confidential data or information (e.g. information provided in confidence in a secret and sacred religious or cultural practice, or locations of vulnerable species)
  • Sensitive data or information subject to privacy legislation (e.g. identifiable human medical/health data)
  • Data or information subject to classification regimes and other controls (e.g. national security information, Primary Materials that are regulated goods, software or technology when exported, supplied, brokered or published as per the Defence Trade Controls Act's Defence and Strategic Goods List)

Facilities supporting the storage of Research Data controlled by the University, including information technology, are operated in accordance with privacy requirements and other relevant laws, regulations and guidelines, and research discipline-specific practices and standards related to safe and secure storage of data and information.

The University recommends that Research Data and, where appropriate, Primary Materials (for example interviews or recordings) are transferred using safe and secure protocols that feature data encryption. The University provides Research Workers with a fast and secure direct link between its campuses and Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) data centres to enable reliable data transfers for large files. Research Workers should use secure protocols such as Secure Shell (SSH) for file transfers.

Preserving Research Data helps to keep it accessible and usable into the future, despite changes in technology and possible hardware failures. Preservation of Research Data should include the datasets and any related files providing the datasets context; for example, email discussions, methods of analysis, research parameters.

4.5 Sharing and re-use

Where possible, sharing and re-use of research data and primary materials is encouraged. This can be facilitated by allowing access where possible and appropriate, and ensuring, where appropriate, that Research Datasets, are captured for re-use and that descriptive metadata (e.g. title, abstract, author, and keywords) is applied to provide contextual understanding of the data.

Sharing Research Data ensures that it can be discovered, accessed and cited in the long term. Sharing of Research Data is often a requirement of funding bodies and publishers. Providing open access to Research Data has the potential to result in significant research impact and is increasingly considered a major element in the publishing process.

Sharing some or all of the Research Data resulting from Research Activities may not always be possible due to characteristics including, but not limited to: Confidentiality and privacy; legal issues; ethics; sensitivity issues; and protecting future publication of results.

Licensing can provide a standardised way for Research Workers to share Research Data with others and to govern subsequent use of that data (e.g. Creative Commons Attribution licence).

Research Workers may publish Research Data (in accordance with any relevant requirements or permissions) in international, national or discipline-based repositories such as international databanks, in addition to storing the data at the University.

Decisions about sharing Research Data should consider any relevant obligations with regard to Intellectual Property including:

  • determining what rights, including copyright, exists in the Research Data produced by the project; and
  • consideration of ownership in accordance with the University's policies on Intellectual Property.

4.6 Acknowledging the use of others' data

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and its supplementary Authorship Guide require appropriate referencing and citing in the presentation, publication or sharing of research. This principle applies to all Research Data and information used as an input to a research project.

4.7 Training and Education

Ongoing training and education in Research Data and Primary Materials management will be offered through the Research and Innovation Division and the Library. It is expected that Research Workers engage with the training, education and resources made available at the University.

4.8 Potential breaches

The Research Code of Conduct: Management of Potential Breaches Procedure outlines the process for reviewing potential breaches of the University's Research Code of Conduct Policy and associated procedures. Examples of a Breach in Research related to the management of data and information in research includes (but are not limited to):

  • Falsification and/or fabrication of Research Data or Primary Materials.
  • Failure to retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including Research Data and Primary Materials.
  • Failure to adhere to the conditions of any institutional policy or project-specific approvals that relate to the retention, sharing or destruction of Research Data or Primary Materials.
  • Selective retention of Research Data or Primary Materials so as to hinder the verifiability of a research output.

Further examples are detailed in the Management of Data and Information in Research Guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

5 References

Australian Government. (2019). Management of Data and Information in Research Guide. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government, Retrieved from: https://nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-responsible-conduct-research-2018.

Australian Government. (2018). Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government, Retrieved from https://nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-responsible-conduct-research-2018.

6 Schedules

This procedure must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

7 Procedure Information

Accountable Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Responsible Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Policy Type

University Procedure

Policy Suite

Research Code of Conduct Policy

Subordinate Schedules

Approved Date

18/2/2020

Effective Date

18/2/2020

Review Date

18/2/2023

Relevant Legislation

Copyright Act 1968

Defence Trade Controls Act 2012

Information Privacy Act 2009

Public Records Act 2002

Right to Information Act 2009

University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule

Related Policies

Administrative Access Scheme Policy

Animal Wellbeing and Ethics Policy

Enterprise Architecture Policy

ICT Information Management and Security Policy

Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure

Privacy Policy

Records and Information Management Policy

Right to Information Policy

Related Procedures

Administrative Access Scheme Procedure

Animal Ethics Committee Procedure

Authorship Procedure

Biosafety Procedure

Cloud Computing Procedure (under development)

Engagement of Cloud Computing Services Procedure

Human Research Ethics Procedure

Information Asset and Security Classification Procedure

Records and Information Management Procedure

Right to Information Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and supplementary guides

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013

Australian National Data Commons

Creative Commons

Ethical guidelines for research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

F.A.I.R. Statement

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies

IMS Global

National Archives of Australia

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 - Updated May 2015

Metadata standards:

OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding

Research Data Management Plan Template

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Animal

Any live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, encompassing domestic Animals, purpose-bred Animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods....moreAny live non-human vertebrate (that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, encompassing domestic Animals, purpose-bred Animals, livestock, wildlife) and cephalopods.

Breach in Research

A breach is defined as a failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of the Code, and may refer to a single breach or multiple breaches. Breaches of the University Research Code of Conduct and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research occur on a spectrum, from minor (less serious) to major (more serious)....moreA breach is defined as a failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of the Code, and may refer to a single breach or multiple breaches. Breaches of the University Research Code of Conduct and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research occur on a spectrum, from minor (less serious) to major (more serious).

Data Security

The protection of data from unauthorised use, access disclosure and destruction, as well as the prevention of unwanted changes that can affect the integrity of data. Ensuring data security requires paying attention to physical security, network security and security of computer systems and files....moreThe protection of data from unauthorised use, access disclosure and destruction, as well as the prevention of unwanted changes that can affect the integrity of data. Ensuring data security requires paying attention to physical security, network security and security of computer systems and files.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR)

A Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work....moreA Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work.

Metadata

Identifying information collected with the data to enable cataloguing and searching. It can be used to describe physical items as well as digital items. Metadata is a standard machine and human-readable format for representing project and data documentation....moreIdentifying information collected with the data to enable cataloguing and searching. It can be used to describe physical items as well as digital items. Metadata is a standard machine and human-readable format for representing project and data documentation.

Primary Materials

Physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which Research Data may be derived. Includes, but is not limited to, ore, biological material, survey questionnaires, measurements, recordings, artefacts, texts, photographs, and computer results. In some instances, Primary materials may be considered research data, and may be required to be retained to validate the ...morePhysical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which Research Data may be derived. Includes, but is not limited to, ore, biological material, survey questionnaires, measurements, recordings, artefacts, texts, photographs, and computer results. In some instances, Primary materials may be considered research data, and may be required to be retained to validate the outcomes of research.

Research Activities

Refers to activities that result in the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes....moreRefers to activities that result in the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

Research Data

Research Workers have a responsibility to retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of research data. It is critical that data includes records necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of reported results and processes leading to those results. Research data relates to facts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Da...moreResearch Workers have a responsibility to retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of research data. It is critical that data includes records necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of reported results and processes leading to those results. Research data relates to facts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile. It may be raw, or analysed, experimental or observational and may be held in any format or media. Examples include, but are not limited to: Laboratory notebooks; Field notebooks; Primary Research Data; Questionnaires; Audio and video recordings; Photographs; Films; Test responses, and Any other records that are necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of the reported results of research. Research Collections may include slides, specimens, samples and artefacts; with related provenance information. Research data (and primary materials) includes evidence supporting findings. For example, in the Creative Arts this may include early drafts and concept documents prior to the final output of the creative work.

Research Data Management Plan

A Research Data Management Plan establishes key elements of research data management including: Ownership of research data Research data processing Storage and backup of research data Retention and disposal of research data Access to research data for sharing and reuse...moreA Research Data Management Plan establishes key elements of research data management including: Ownership of research data Research data processing Storage and backup of research data Retention and disposal of research data Access to research data for sharing and reuse

Research Worker

Any person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members....moreAny person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members.

Student

A person who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled....moreA person who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

Definitions that relate to this procedure only

Keywords

Record No

15/1985PL

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