Data Management Compliance

All research conducted at Deakin is subject to:

There is no specific approval process but you are required to be aware of The Code and its contents. Researchers must also be aware of the Research Conduct Policy and related procedures and guidelines, including those relating to allegations of research misconduct.

Compliance with The Code is a prerequisite for receipt of NHMRC or ARC funding.

You must also comply with the policies of your funding body. For example:

The Code and the Research Conduct Policy provide clear information to researchers about their responsibilities for the short and long term management of research data and records. Heads of School or Directors of Institute also have responsibilities for data storage under the Research Conduct Policy at Deakin.

With regard to compliance, research data are broadly defined as all data created by researchers in the course of their work. Research materials include, but are not limited to, physical samples, photographs, written or audio-visual recordings, artwork, questionnaires or other instruments, fieldwork notes, and other items which are either the sources of data or themselves constitute data in a research project.

The important points to consider are:

Data Management Planning

Planning data management in advance will save time and effort and support compliance throughout the project and into the future. For example, consideration of mechanisms for de-identification for possible future sharing, will inform both the structure of data records and the content of consent forms.

Storage

Most data should be stored for a minimum of five years, longer for clinical research. Minimum periods of retention are set out in the Research Conduct Policy, 23.

Describing data

Research Conduct Policy, 15.

Describing data enables it to be more easily interpreted by others and by the original researchers in the future. It supports research transparency and integrity.

Sharing data

Should I share my data?

Privacy

Research Conduct Policy, section 22.

Ethics

See research guidelines and approvals for link to specific ethics requirements.

Information on storage requirements for identifiable data about people is also available in the Deakin human research ethics manual.

Retention and archiving

Most data should be stored for a minimum of five years, longer for clinical research. Minimum periods of retention are set out in the Research Conduct Policy, section 23.

Where data may be re-used or where they have heritage value, appropriate storage and management should be arranged.

The ARC Funding Agreement (Section 20) and the NHMRC require administering organisations to deposit data and publications in an appropriate repository within six months of the completion of research, or give reasons why this has not been done.

Data with long term value

For data which have long term value, appropriate storage and management must be arranged, including conditions of access (if any) for future researchers.

As a recipient of federal support including grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the University must comply with the Australian Code, federal privacy legislation and a variety of other codes and guidelines. Failure to comply may result in loss of funding available to Deakin.

The reason for these requirements is to ensure that data and materials which provide the basis of research outcomes are retained for sufficient time to allow reference, and to provide evidence of the research outcomes if they are challenged. This supports transparency and integrity in research.

Data may be stored:

  • As evidence for the validity of the research
  • For later use by researchers
  • Because it has heritage value for the future

Proper storage and management of data are part of the national guidelines set out by the federal government in its funding agreements with the University. Compliance is a condition of funding.

Information on research guidelines and approvals are provided by the Office of Research Integrity and includes links to ethics information and guidance.

Most data should be stored for a minimum of five years, longer for clinical research. Minimum periods of retention are set out in the Research Conduct Policy, 23.

Where data may be re-used or where they have heritage value, appropriate storage and management should be arranged. See: Describing data – Metadata and Sharing Data

Requirements to archive data from publicly funded research are expected to increase. The ARC Discovery Projects Funding Agreements for 2011 states in clause 20.2 (b) "that the Administering Organisation must ensure that all Specified Personnel make arrangements acceptable to the ARC for lodgement with an appropriate museum or archive in Australia of data or specimens or samples collected during, or resulting from, their Project". See: Data Preservation and Sharing Data

Deakin University's Research Conduct Policy (clause 14-16) supports the dissemination of research data as freely as practicable, though subject to privacy, contractual and intellectual property requirements.

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, to which all Australian universities are signatories, states that 'Research data should be made available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters.' (Section 2.5.2)  The Code (clause 2.6.5) also requires you to maintain a catalogue of research data in an accessible form.

The ARC Funding Agreement (Section 20) and the NHMRC require administering organisations to deposit data and publications in an appropriate repository within six months of the completion of research, or give reasons why this has not been done.

The ARC discovery grants funding rules, 2013 & 2014 (clause 13.3.2) states that the Final Report must outline how data arising from the Project has been made publicly accessible where appropriate

This supports the Federal Government's wish to maximise the benefits from research findings as broadly as possible by allowing access by other researchers and the wider community to research findings in repositories.

For more information on sharing your data.

A data management plan at the start of a new project prompts you to make decisions related to both short term and long term needs in respect to the data you create.

While not a requirement, it is a useful tool that will enable you to easily answer questions relating to ownership, ethics, retention, and sharing for any grant application or reporting requirement.

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