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Research Data Management Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy specifies the responsibilities of Western Sydney University, its researchers and research students regarding the management of research data.

(2) The University is aware of, and sensitive to, the particular issues raised when undertaking and conducting research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as per the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the 'NHMRC Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research' protocols.

(3) The University recognises that data management is a complicated technical and management task, and will provide systems and support for this purpose.

(4) The policy should be read in conjunction with the policies listed at the end of this document.

Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. "Disposal" means the process by which research data is destroyed or disposed of, subject to the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, NSW State Records Act 1998, and the University's Privacy Policy and Records and Archives Management Policy.
  2. "Research data" includes all hard copy material generated in the course of research, together with all digital material on which research findings, interpretations and/or observations may rely. Research data may comprise any content or take any form, including numbers, symbols, text, images or sounds. Research data may also include information concerning how, when, where and with what methods research data were collected. Material constituting research data is commonly accepted as the evidence that validates research findings.
  3. "Research data management" means activities related to planning, creating, processing, capturing, organising, analysing, accessing, preserving, sharing, publishing, reusing, licencing and disposing of research data.
  4. "Research data management plan" means a document outlining the research data management to be undertaken throughout any research.
  5. "ResearchDirect" is the University's Institutional Repository, and comprises:
    1. a publication archive that includes published research materials produced by staff and, where applicable, students, including Publisher versions of publications; and
    2. a research data archive that includes data that represents the inputs and outputs of research processes or a reference to where this data is archived.
  6. "Researchers" means all University staff, adjuncts and visitors engaged in research.
  7. "Research student" means any person enrolled in a research higher degree offered by the University.
  8. "Supervisor" means the person to whom the individual researcher or research group would normally report.
  9. "University" means Western Sydney University.
  10. "Working Data" means storable, shareable research data that is subject to ongoing active development.
  11. "Working Data Storage" means any University supplied or approved system for secure, backed-up, collaborative working data storage for research.

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) The University is committed to research excellence and integrity, and ensuring that data is managed to the highest standards throughout the research lifecycle.

(7) The University recognises that the different types of output resulting from research - including research data - are key institutional assets and should be managed to realise the greatest benefit for the individual researcher and for the University.

(8) The appropriate creation, processing, analysis and preservation of research data supports the future accessibility of data and its reuse for the research community and society. The research community includes research participants from whom research data is drawn. Research participants have a legitimate interest in the responsible management of research data.

Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Research Data Management Plans

(9) Researchers and Research Students will:

  1. complete a research data management plan prior to starting research at the University;
  2. ensure that research data management plans are securely stored by lodging them as part of a grant submission process, in Working Data Storage, or in ResearchDirect prior to starting research at the University; and
  3. update research data management plans to reflect changing circumstances where necessary.

(10) Researchers must actively maintain research data management plans that address data capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, retention, sharing and publication for all research from grant proposal to the conclusion of the research.

(11) A research data management plan must:

  1. include provision for describing data fully (metadata) and then depositing the data and/or description in ResearchDirect;
  2. comply with all relevant legislation and policy, including the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, the NSW State Records Act 1998, and the University's Privacy Policy and Records and Archives Management Policy;
  3. ensure research data are available for access and re-use where possible and under appropriate safeguards.

(12) If there are confidentiality, commercial, contractual, privacy and/or ethical constraints on open distribution of data, researchers may place restrictions on access to the research data. Information on these restrictions should be made available in the research data management plan on lodgement of the data within ResearchDirect.

(13) A data management plan is required for projects involving a non-University industry partner or collaborator; and for projects involving a partner or collaborator from another university, including circumstances in which the Chief Investigator is not an employee of the University. It is not essential in either case that the partner or collaborator participates in the development or implementation of such a plan.

(14) The nature of the research, legislative requirements, national guidelines and funding stipulations will determine the length of time for which the data are held. In the absence of a more onerous obligation, the minimum length of time data will be held is five years from publication.

Working Data Storage

(15) All data collected and/or created by researchers must be deposited in Working Data Storage as soon as possible after collection or creation.

(16) When sharing Working Data for the purpose of research collaboration, researchers should consider:

  1. compliance with any formal agreement in place with a funding body or research partner;
  2. the security of the platform used to share the Working Data;
  3. any intellectual property or licensing implications.

Part B - Intellectual Property

(17) Any intellectual property arising from the creation of research data is subject to the Intellectual Property Policy.

(18) Where research data attracts copyright:

  1. the University will consider such data as Scholarly Work under the terms of the Intellectual Property Policy;
  2. the University will claim its licence to the data immediately upon the creation of the data.

(19) Under the Open Access to Research Policy, by default, data for completed research and data supporting publications will be made openly available via ResearchDirect. Where no restriction on access to data is recorded in the relevant research data management plan the relevant provisions in the Open Access to Research Policy will be given effect.

(20) For researchers working on research that involves external partners, including other universities, the University will seek to maintain its non-exclusive, non-transferrable licence through a written agreement appropriate to the research partnership. This will be recorded in the research data management plan.

Part C - Responsibilities

The University

(21) The University will:

  1. provide mechanisms and services for storage, backup, registration, deposit and retention of research data assets in support of current and future access, during and after completion of research in the form of Working Data Storage and ResearchDirect;
  2. supply templates and systems for creating research data management plans and training in their use;
  3. ensure research data is securely stored in accordance with relevant state and federal legislation;
  4. determine the period for which data will be retained in ResearchDirect beyond the defined minimum period according to legislative, funding, administrative and contextual factors; and
  5. provide advice on appropriate potential licences for research data use and reuse.

Researchers

(22) For research with non-University partners, researchers are responsible for:

  1. ensuring a collaborative research data management plan is in force that reflects the terms of the research agreement or collaboration;
  2. bringing to the attention of his or her supervisor or head of organisational unit any situation in which a research partner fails to comply with the research data management plan.

(23) Researchers must ensure that all data they collect and/or create is deposited in a Working Data Storage system as soon as possible after collection or creation.

Research Students

(24) At the conclusion of research, research students may:

  1. submit data into ResearchDirect; and/or
  2. place restrictions on access to research data submitted to ResearchDirect. Information on these restrictions should be made available on lodgement of the data to ResearchDirect.

(25) Research students should seek the advice of their principal supervisors before disposing of any research data generated in the course of their candidature.

(26) Where a non-University partner fails to comply with the relevant research data management plan, the research student will inform his or her principal supervisor.

(27) The University will take the creation and ongoing management of a research data management plan into account during the confirmation of candidature process.

Principal Supervisors of Research Students

(28) The principal supervisor of a research student should:

  1. communicate research data management requirements to the student.
  2. ensure the student's research data management plan:
    1. complies with all necessary requirements;
    2. gives consideration to changes in the research that may affect data management, including changes to supervision;
  3. for research with non-University industry partners and collaborators, ensure a collaborative research data management plan is in force that reflects the terms of the agreement between the student and the non-University partner.

Heads of Organisational Units and Supervisors

(29) The organisational unit head or supervisor should:

  1. communicate research data management requirements to their staff;
  2. ensure their staff's research data management plans comply with all necessary requirements, including any requirements stipulated in funding agreements;
  3. ensure that consideration is given to changes in research that may affect research data management, including changes to staffing.

(30) Disposal of working research data must be authorised by the organisational unit head and supervisor.

Section 5 - Guidelines

(31) Associated Information:

  1. Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  2. Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  3. Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)
  4. Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
  5. ARC Open Access Policy
  6. NHMRC Revised Policy on the Dissemination of Research Findings
  7. NHMRC and ARC Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
  8. OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data From Public Funding
  9. Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (NHMRC 2003)
  10. Wellcome Trust Joint Statement on Sharing Research Data to Improve Public Health

(32) Related policies:

  1. Research Code of Practice;
  2. Intellectual Property Policy;
  3. IT Acceptable Use of Resources Policy;
  4. Privacy Policy;
  5. Supervision of Research Candidates Policy;
  6. Records and Archives Management Policy;
  7. Information Security Policy;
  8. Open Access to Research Policy.