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The data that is created from research is a valuable resource that should be described, shared and preserved. Guidance and tools are provided here for assisting in managing your data.
Describing your research data helps others to discover your work. This makes your research more transparent and supports research integrity.
The metadata which describes your research data will be harvested by Research Data Australia, Google Scholar and other search engines through Deakin Research Online (DRO). This helps expose your research to opportunities for further research to build on your results.
Deakin University has a curatorial responsibility to the research data that you create over the course of your research. This research is defined in the Research Conduct Policy as:
Including, but not limited to, physical samples, photographs, written or audio-visual recordings, artwork, questionnaires or other instruments, fieldwork notes, and other items which are the sources of data or themselves constitute data in a research project.Your obligations
When describing and making your research data accessible, you are fulfilling your obligations for the following requirements:
Creating a descriptive record of a research data enables:
There are valid and important reasons for sharing your data. Sharing your data ensures that it can be accessed and cited in the long term.
Sharing your data:
Providing open access to data through repositories has had significant research impact and is increasingly considered a major element in the publishing process.
This access can be provided through the descriptive metadata in Deakin Research Online (DRO) and Research Data Australia (RDA), enabling discovery. Discovery is also possible through subject repositories in Australia and internationally.Access conditions
You can ensure valuable data collections are made publicly accessible either in the early stages of your research or when you have completed your research.
You can still provide the metadata to your work and restrict access to your data by placing an embargo until you publish, or consider releasing your data successively, for example as you publish your results.
Determining access to data in the early stages of a project will help establish where the data will be stored and under what conditions the data may be accessed.
You set the rules for access to your data. Access at Deakin University is provided either by a direct link to the data store or through the contact details you provide.
You will need to obtain written consent from participants for the further use of their data, or the researchers seeking access to the data will need to obtain a waiver of consent under the applicable legislation.
Ensure that where data must be stored in identifiable form, that appropriate consent is obtained from the original participants for the reuse of their information.
Access to personal information is governed by complex laws and guidelines. In this case you should contact an Ethics Advisor to discuss the proposed access and obtain tailored advice. If you have questions about reuse of your data and the ethics approval change process, first check the appropriate section of Human Research Ethics Guidelines.
Deakin University's Research Conduct Policy (clause 16) supports the dissemination of research data as freely as practicable, subject to privacy, contractual and intellectual property requirements.
In addition, The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research states that research data should be made available for use by other researchers unless prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters (clause 2.5.2).
There are valid reasons why you may not be able to share all or part of your data, such as:
You may need to de-identify data in order to share it, but must ensure that it may not be re-identified when used in conjunction with other related data files.
Some research data may need to remain confidential because of:
Copyright provides protection to your research data and exists when a work, expressed in a certain form, is created.
For copyright purposes, data compilations such as datasets and databases can be protected by copyright if it consists of words, figures or symbols; for example
Generally under copyright law the creator of the work, which may be two or more people (joint authors), is the copyright owner.
If the rights are retained and not assigned or transferred to a third party, as with a collaborative research project or publishing agreement, the copyright remains with the creator/s.
If the data has been produced in the course of your work, the University may be the copyright owner and you should refer to the University's Intellectual Property Statute.
The copyright owner may determine if the data can be shared or reused. Discover the benefits (below) of why you should share your data.
The protection of your data can be covered by the following:
Important first steps include determining whether the data is protected by copyright and then to consider applying a CC or AusGoal licence.
To make informed choices and create licences, further detailed information is available from ANDS Copyright and Data, AusGoal and Deakin University Library's Open and Access and Licensing website OPAL.
The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) identifies these practical reasons for sharing:
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists the goals that are achieved by sharing data as:
Preserving research data helps to keep it accessible and usable into the future, despite changes in technology and possible hardware failures. Preservation planning should be a key element of your research project.
Well-managed data ensures your research findings can be replicated, and your conclusions backed up with evidence. Long term, preserving research data saves time and money by preventing duplication of research, and improves the quality of future research by providing new opportunities for existing data.
Preservation of research data should include not just the datasets themselves, but any related files giving the datasets context; for example, email discussions, methods of analysis, research parameters.Data at Deakin University
Data preservation is critically important as the cost of acquiring, processing and analysing data in the first place can be very high. There are also various institutional and funding body requirements that may require data be preserved for certain periods:
It is strongly recommended that, wherever possible, research data be stored in the University's data store or network storage, ensuring it is backed up regularly and readily available to team members when required. It will also ensure long-term access by providing persistent identifiers.
Sometimes personal hard drives or external storage devices such as DVDs or USBs suit are more convenient than network storage. If you do choose to rely on non-network devices, always ensure you store the master copy of your data on the network, as it is all too easy to lose portable devices, or the data corrupted.
You should prepare for data preservation from the start of your project. The earlier you start planning, the easier it will be to ensure your data remains durable and accessible into the future.
Here are some things to consider:
At any stage of your project, you can deposit your data in a data repository such as Deakin University's data store, Deakin Research Online (DRO) or a subject-specific data centre or archive. This can be a requirement of the funder or publisher of your research. Some examples of subject-specific archives include:
Deakin University is undertaking a variety of projects to improve the management and sharing of research data collections. The projects have a collaborative approach with representatives from the Library, Deakin Research, eSolutions and the Faculties.Deakin Metadata Store Project
The Deakin Metadata Store Project began in June 2012 and will conclude in June 2013. Funded by the Australian National Data Service, the project will implement a solution to enable Deakin researchers to describe their research data collections and make these descriptions available to a wider audience.
While the Seeding the Commons Project developed manual processes to capture descriptions of data collections, the Deakin Metadata Store Project will take this to the next level by automating the capture of information wherever possible and developing sustainable processes for the capture of research data collection descriptions.
The Project Board is made up of representatives from eSolutions, Deakin Research, the Library and the Faculties. This partnership is crucial to the success of the project.
The intended benefits of the project are to:
The internally funded Research Data Management Project began in August 2012 and will conclude in August 2013.
While the Deakin Metadata Store Project will deliver the technology and processes to enable descriptions of research data collections to be developed and shared, the Research Data Management Project will deliver technology and processes to assist the researcher to effectively manage their research data by using central services that will ensure the security and longevity of their data.
This project will deliver:
As with the Deakin Metadata Store Project, the Research Data Management Project Board is made up of representatives from eSolutions, Deakin Research, the Library and the Faculties. This partnership is crucial to the success of the project.
Concluding in May 2012, the Seeding the Commons project (funded by the Australian National Data Service) contributed to ongoing improvement in the capture, management and discovery of research data at Deakin University.
The Library has produced a Data Management toolkit for researchers, designed as a guide based on the Model Data Management Toolkit for Researchers (2008), Legal Framework for e-Research Project and Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project - QUT.
It is designed as a checklist - prompting you to answer a series of questions regarding ownership and rights relating to research data. This data management toolkit has been designed with researchers in mind. It provides guidelines on implementing a data management plan, and can assist you in ascertaining responsibilities in relation to managing your data.
Mantra is a free online data management training course that has been developed by the University of Edinburgh's data centre, EDINA. The course provides guidelines for good practice in research data management for researchers who work with digital data and would like to learn more about managing their research data.
Research Data MANTRA online course by Data Library and EDINA, University of Edinburgh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License.
What is research data?
Deakin University defines research materials (i.e. data collections) in the Research Conduct Policy as including, but not limited to, physical samples, photographs, written or audio-visual recordings, artwork, questionnaires or other instruments, fieldwork notes, and other items which are the sources of data or themselves constitute data in a research project.
How do I know if my data is important?
Why share information about my data?
If you are a Deakin researcher, you may be interested in contributing a description of your research data to DRO and Research Data Australia (RDA) which provide a platform for discoverability and collaboration of your research data.
What is the purpose of RDA?
RDA is designed to promote visibility of research data collections and to encourage their re-use through a web site describing data collections produced by or relevant to Australian researchers.
What are the benefits of sharing my data in DRO?
Where do I provide the information about my data so it can be described?
Through the online self submission tool which feeds data to both DRO and RDA. Some of the information you provide through the Data Management Planning Tool (DMPT) will pre-fill the self submission tool.
Will I still control my data?
You set the rules for access to your data. Some options are:
When should I not share my data?
Some research data may need to remain confidential because of:
My dataset involves humans, doesn't identify individuals, but I didn't specify that it would be reused by others. Can I share it?
Individuals may be identified in my data, but they are very valuable for further research. Is there any way in which I may share them?
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