RESEARCH DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY PRINCIPLES

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1 University Secretariat ASPC 24 October /8740 ITEM 9: RESEARCH DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY PRINCIPLES The Research Portfolio is currently undertaking reviews of several policies on research. Input is now sought from the Committee on the policy principles and definitions which are to inform a University-wide research data management policy. Presented by K Stanton & G Crutchley Recommendation That the Academic Standards and Policy Committee note the Research Data Management Policy Principles.

2 Research Data Management Policy Advisory Group (RDMPAG) SUBMISSION TO THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND POLICY COMMITTEE Wednesday, 24 th October 2012, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Senate Room, Quadrangle RESEARCH DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY PRINCIPLES (FOR DISCUSSION) KATE STANTON & GRANT CRUCHLEY, RESEARCH PORTFOLIO Authorisation: Jill Trewhella, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) 2012/10 1. SUMMARY AND AIMS A research data management policy framework is currently under development as part of the Vice Chancellor s Workslate Project University Research Data Storage, Management and Access". The Research Data Management Policy Advisory Group (RDMPAG) would like to present draft research data management principles for discussion, to begin the policy consultation process. The draft research data management policy principles have been prepared in consultation with a selected group of stakeholders, including representatives from the Library, ICT and the Research Portfolio. To date, the document has been circulated within the RDMPAG and presented to the Senior Executive Group Research Committee for discussion. We would now like to begin a programme of consultations with a range of stakeholder groups. The aims of presenting the policy principles to the Faculty of Sciences Research Committee are: Keep the Academic Standards and Policy Committee and Academic Board up-to-date with the research data management policy development and consultation process, Gather feedback on draft principles and definitions, to inform the development of research data management policy and procedures, Set a foundation for further consultation on the research data management policy and procedures. Following a period of stakeholder consultation and revision, an agreed set of policy principles and definitions will be incorporated into a University- wide research data management policy document, to be circulated for further consultation, and acceptance by the SEG and the Academic Board. Once in place, the subsequent development and implementation of a research data management policy framework will ensure that departments and individual researchers are aware of their responsibilities and the responsibilities of the University with respect to the management, retention and disposal of the data, primary materials and records associated with and arising from research activities. The policy will also guide the development and provision of support services and technologies. Written feedback on this document would be greatly appreciated. If you have feedback on the policy principles or definitions prior to the ASPC meeting on the 24 th of October, please send it directly to Kate Stanton, Policy Officer, Research Data Management:

3 2. CONTEXT The University does not currently have a formal policy governing the effective management of research data and primary materials. The importance having a coherent research data management policy and infrastructure framework for the university is captured by the Vice Chancellor s Workslate Project University Research Data Storage, Management and Access" which specifies two activities: (i) provide storage and management infrastructure for research data; (ii) coordinate consultation on and development of policy, procedures, guidelines and support for research data management, preservation and appropriate open access. The development and implementation of a research data storage and management infrastructure follows the development of a research data management policy framework. Providing the research data management policy and infrastructure framework will enable: compliance with legal, ethical and funding requirements and the expectations of journal publishers and protect the University against the loss of income from research funding and damage to institutional reputation from failing to meet expectations in these areas; and adoption of best practice in research data management to assist the University to maintain its position as a provider of high-quality and ethical research, and achieve its aspirations for large-scale, distributed, multi-disciplinary research programmes through initiatives such as the Charles Perkins Centre, China Studies Centre and the SyReNs networks. In broad terms, the University recognises that the responsible conduct of research includes the proper management and retention of research data and primary materials; that research data is a valuable asset and must be cared for throughout the research lifecycle; and that the implementation of good practice in research data management benefits the researcher, the University and the wider community, including: Increasing research efficiency Ensuring valuable data assets are identified and appropriately managed Ensuring significant datasets are preserved for future use Enabling the ethical and transparent defence and justification of research findings Meeting ethical and other University of Sydney policy requirements Meeting the requirements of Australian and international funding agencies Meeting the expectations of journal publishers (for example, compliance with policies governing the sharing of data is a condition of acceptance for publication in Nature Journals) Enabling data sharing, re-use and citation Increasing research productivity and providing opportunities for collaboration Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 2

4 3. RESEARCH DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY PRINCIPLES It is proposed that the following principles are applied by University decision makers when considering research data management and planning: 1. The management and retention of research data and primary materials is an essential part of the responsible conduct of research. Research data and materials must be retained in accordance with the provisions and retention periods set out in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University of Sydney Research Code of Conduct (Draft, 2012). Data and primary materials must be retained in order to justify the outcomes of research, and defend them against challenge if necessary. 2. Publicly funded research data is a public good. The University supports Australian and international initiatives to improve access to and re-use of publicly funded research data, including the OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding (2007). Completed datasets should be made openly available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by the requirements of University Policy or ethical, privacy or confidentiality issues. Completed datasets that cannot be made openly available may able to be ethically shared under negotiated terms and conditions of access. Open access to completed research datasets should be actively encouraged in order to enable greater opportunities for research collaboration across multiple disciplines and between institutions. In addition, open access to research data enables data citation, which is beginning to be recognised as evidence of the impact of research outputs. 3. Research data is a valuable asset. The potential value of research data generated by researchers at the University of Sydney should be realised to the fullest extent possible. The potential value of data assets may not be determined at the time of collection. Research data may have value for other researchers or the wider community. It is for these reasons that retention beyond legal and ethical requirements should be considered, to enable future re-use and application of research data beyond the intended purpose of the research project. Data and materials should be retained in those circumstances where the research would be difficult, expensive or impossible to repeat. In addition, significant data assets should be identified and retained in perpetuity for future researchers - for example, data assets that have community, cultural or heritage value, or data that may have potential long-term human or environmental value. 4. Data management planning is an essential part of good data management practice. The University of Sydney Research Code of Conduct (2012) section 7(a) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research section 2.6 require aspects of data management to be documented by researchers. In addition, data management planning enables researchers to reduce risks of data loss, promote the efficient use of research resources, and realise the potential benefits of data sharing, including increased opportunities for research collaboration, and data citation. A data management plan Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 3

5 is a document that sets out the local provisions required to address the processes of data collection, storage locations, conditions of use, conditions of access, compliance with retention periods, other ethics approval and legal requirements and the provision of supporting information to enable discovery, data sharing and re-use. The University encourages research teams to undertake a data management planning process at the beginning of all new projects. Data management planning is currently supported by information and resources on the Research Data Management Planning Guidelines website. 5. Research data management is a shared responsibility. Researchers, academic units and central administrative units within the University of Sydney will work in partnership to satisfy the requirements of the ARC/NHMRC Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University of Sydney Research Code of Conduct (Draft, 2012), establish a culture of sound research data management practice, and realise the benefits of data sharing. a. The University is responsible for the provision of a policy framework, communication, training, supporting resources and advice on research data management. Detailed requirements and data management procedures and standards will be communicated to researchers and administrative units through the policy framework in the form of procedures and guidelines. b. The University is responsible for the provision of safe and secure facilities for physical and digital data storage, and recordkeeping systems. c. Faculties are responsible for the development of local provisions which address for those disciplines in which their researchers are engaged: i. the identification of which primary materials and data are to be retained, ii. appropriate methods for managing research data and primary materials, iii. applicable periods for retention, consistent with the requirements of legislation and University policy, iv. appropriate authorisation for the secure disposal of data and primary materials, v. local guidelines for the ongoing custodianship of data and primary materials when a researcher leaves the University. d. Researchers are responsible for keeping clear and accurate records of their research methods and data sources, and for arranging the safe and secure storage and retention of their data and primary materials. e. Research supervisors are responsible for communicating the research data management policy to their students, and will take joint responsibility with the student for the management of their data and primary materials. f. Research students are jointly responsible with their supervisor for keeping clear and accurate records of their research methods and data sources, and for arranging the safe and secure storage and retention of their data and primary materials. g. Research teams and individuals undertaking joint research projects (cross disciplinary or cross institution research) must discuss, resolve and record the applicable methods for retaining and storing research data. Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 4

6 h. Unless otherwise specifically agreed, research data and materials relating to joint research projects will be retained by the Principal Investigator within their faculty, institute or organisation. Similar statements to those outlined above have been adopted as policy and procedures by members of the Group of Eight (Go8), and other Australian and international universities. In addition, the principles above support the University of Sydney s commitment to the ARC and NHMRC Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the University of Sydney Research Code of Conduct (Draft, 2012). Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 5

7 4. DEFINITIONS Data management plan means a document that sets out the local procedures and responsibilities for the management of research data and research records for a research group, project team or individual researcher. The data management plan (DMP) describes the procedures required to collect, organise, manage, store, back up, retain and share research data. Project-level provisions for the management of IP, ownership, ethical, cultural and commercial issues that may affect the sharing of research data should also be recorded. Principal Investigator means the lead researcher on a research project. Primary materials means physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which research data may be derived. It may include raw physical materials such as ore, soil samples or biological material, or it may include physical or digital items such as questionnaires, sound recordings or video. Depending on discipline, primary materials may be considered research data, and may be retained if they are required to validate the outcomes of research, and defend those outcomes against challenge. (See also research data). Research means original investigation undertaken to gain or advance knowledge, understanding and insight. It does not include routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components or processes or the development of teaching materials and similar work. Researcher means any staff member, student or affiliate engaged in research. Research data means the facts, observations, results, recordings, measurements, experiences or other evidence on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research data within this policy also means evidence required to validate the outcomes of research, and defend those outcomes against challenge. Research data may be numerical, descriptive, audio-visual or physical, depending on the discipline. Types of research data may include: laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, primary research data (including machine data in hardcopy or in computer readable form), questionnaires, photographs, audiovisual materials, test responses. Research data may also include physical collections of slides, artefacts, manuscripts, specimens, samples. Provenance information (metadata) about the data may be included to aid comprehension. Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 6

8 In specific cases, the software programme or code used to generate, annotate or analyse the data may also be included as research data. In the creative arts, in which the research component of a work may not be immediately apparent within a performance, exhibition or creative publication, a durable record of the work and/or the response to the work should be retained in order to justify the outcomes of the research process. Depending on the discipline, retained items may include an artist s statement, exhibition catalogues, critical reviews of a performance or publication, visual diaries, journals, drawings, photographs or audio-visual recordings of the creative work (see also research records). Research Records means paper or electronic documents containing data or information of any kind and in any format created or received by an organisation or individual for use in their work, and subsequently kept as evidence of that work, or because of the value of the information that the documents contain. Research records typically include correspondence (including and paperbased correspondence), grant application documentation, human or animal ethics application documentation, signed participant consent forms and information sheets for research participants, authorship agreements, technical reports; research reports (i.e. to a project or funding board), laboratory notebooks, field notebooks or research journals (in those disciplines in which notebooks are not considered data ), dataset inventories or master lists, lab protocols or ethics protocols. 6. APPENDIX: RESEARCH DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY ADVISORY GROUP (RDMPAG) RDMPAG members: Mike Baker, IT Manager eresearch, ICT Merril Bouckley, Director, Research Analytics & Data Strategy (RADS), Research Portfolio Ross Coleman, Director, Sydney escholarship Grant Cruchley, Manager Policy and Analysis, Research Portfolio (Chair) As standing invitees: Belinda Norman, Research Data Manager, Seeding the Commons Project, Sydney escholarship Kate Stanton, Policy Officer, Research Data Management, Research Portfolio Grant Cruchley 18 October 2012 Page 7

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