Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/2.8 Management of research data and primary materials

Contact Officer

Director, eResearch

Approval Date

21/09/2020

Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review

30/09/2023

2.8.1 Purpose
2.8.2 Application
2.8.3 Roles and responsibilities
2.8.4 Research data and primary materials management planning
2.8.5 Ownership and custodianship
2.8.6 Storage and security
2.8.7 Description and metadata
2.8.8 Retention, preservation and disposal
2.8.9 Access, sharing and reuse
2.8.10 Definitions
2.8.11 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

2.8.1 Purpose

In accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research [the Code], QUT and its researchers have a responsibility to ensure the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, to allow access and reference to these data. Additionally, research data and primary materials are considered public records under the Public Records Act 2002 (Qld) and must be managed consistent with requirements of that Act.

Researchers have a responsibility to ensure that their data is accurate, complete, authentic and reliable. Sound management of research data and primary materials as set out in this policy assists researchers to meet these responsibilities and for QUT to meets its institutional responsibilities.

Researchers should ensure their data are as FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) as possible, subject to funding body, contractual, commercialisation, ethical, privacy or confidentiality considerations. Accessibility is important in:

  • justifying and verifying the outcomes of research
  • maximising the potential for future research
  • minimising waste of resources of value to researchers and the wider community.

The purpose of this policy is to address the requirements of the Code and these expectations. QUT recognises that the requirements will vary amongst disciplines and depend on the type of data or material generated or used.

Guidance on compliance with this policy and managing research data is available through HiQ for students (QUT staff and student access only) and Digital Workplace for staff (QUT staff access only).

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2.8.2 Application

This policy applies to all members of the QUT community who are engaged in research activities, including:

  • staff members, whether full-time, part-time, ongoing, fixed-term, casual or sessional
  • visiting and adjunct academics, or other academics or research collaborators; and
  • students engaged in research, including higher degree research students, honours students and any other students engaged in research activities at QUT.

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2.8.3 Roles and responsibilities

The management of research data and primary materials is a shared responsibility throughout the research data lifecycle. Researchers, faculties, research centres, and service providers need to work in partnership to implement good practice and meet requirements in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the accompanying Management of Data and Information in Research as well as relevant QUT policies.

Position
Responsibility

All researchers

All researchers are responsible for adequate and appropriate research data and primary materials management, including:

  • being aware of and implementing research data and primary materials management practices
  • ensuring the development and maintenance of research data and primary materials management plans for all research projects they are responsible for
  • managing research data and primary materials in accordance with the research data management plan developed for their research project or activity

Chief investigators and/or higher degree research student supervisors

  • ensure that all researchers undertake training on their research data management obligations
  • act as the Data/Primary Materials Custodian, unless otherwise designated
Heads of School
  • promote good research data management practice
  • source appropriate facilities for the storage of research data and primary materials
  • endorse disposal of research data and primary materials, for approval by relevant Executive Dean, on recommendation or request from the researcher
Executive Deans
  • approve procedures relating to research data and primary materials management
  • approve the disposal of research data and primary materials is in accordance with QUT’s Records management policy (F/6.1)
Director, eResearch
  • develops and maintains guidance for the management of research data and primary materials
  • co-leads the development of training and support relating to research data and primary materials management
  • provides eResearch-driven training on contemporary data management technologies, techniques, and practices
  • leads the co-development of a centrally supported institutional research metadata repository for the provision of open and/or controlled access to metadata records
  • leads the co-design to QUT's collection of research datasets (data registries and repositories)
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)
  • has overall responsibility for the policy, guidance material and infrastructure relating to research data and primary materials management

University Librarian

  • co-leads, develops and delivers training and support relating to research data and primary materials management
  • provides advice and assistance on access to curated published datasets, publication, licencing and sharing of QUT research datasets
  • co-leads the development and maintenance of QUT’s metadata and data repositories
Executive Director, Facilities Management
  • facilitates safe and secure storage of physical research data and primary materials in consultation with local areas
  • establishes and maintains facilities for digital storage of data in collaboration with Director, eResearch
Chief Information Officer
  • procures, establishes and maintains infrastructure for digital storage of data in collaboration with Director, eResearch and Executive Director, Facilities Management
Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity
  • facilitates training and support relating to the research ethics and integrity requirements for research data and primary materials management
  • provides a regulatory oversight role for the management of research data and primary materials as it relates to research ethics and integrity

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2.8.4 Research data and primary materials management planning

All QUT staff and students must develop and maintain a research data and primary materials management plan at the start of their research projects that addresses creation, management, quality, confidentiality, retention, sharing and licencing responsibilities. All research should also comply with any ethical, legal and cultural requirements in accordance with Research governance framework (D/2.3).

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2.8.5 Ownership and custodianship

QUT owns and retains any original research data and primary materials generated in the conduct of research, subject to any contractual, statutory, ethical, or funding body requirements. This does not override the intellectual property rights of researchers that may exist in the research data (D/3.1 Intellectual property).

The chief investigator of a research project or activity is the Data Custodian and is responsible for ensuring the proper management of research data and primary materials. The Data Custodian may delegate this responsibility but then must document these arrangements in the research data management plan.

Subject to any contractual, statutory, ethical or funding body requirements, researchers may retain a copy of the research data for future use.

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2.8.6 Storage and security

QUT, through the roles listed in this policy, provides facilities for the storage of research data and primary materials, including through external and offsite services. Researchers and students also have a responsibility to fulfil QUT's commitment to best practice in the management of research data and primary materials in accordance with this policy. Non-digital research data and primary materials must be stored and managed by the individual researcher, in conjunction with support from the faculties, research centres and Facilities Management. Non-digital research data and primary materials must be stored in QUT facilities, where possible. Digital research data must be stored on QUT infrastructure or storage solutions approved by QUT, where possible.

If non-QUT managed or brokered infrastructure is used at any stage, the researcher must ensure the chosen tool, service, or storage method:

  • complies with this policy and related guidelines and legislation
  • complies with any contractual and/or relevant legislation including funding agreements.

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2.8.7 Description and metadata

Researchers must develop, as part of research data management practices, sufficient description of their research data, including metadata, to ensure that data and primary materials are FAIR (finable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).

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2.8.8 Retention, preservation and disposal

Research data and primary materials must be retained, preserved and disposed of in accordance with the Records management policy (F/6.1, specifically section F/6.1.7) and any ethical, legislative, funding body and contractual requirements.

Retention periods for research data and primary materials will be according to the Queensland State Archives University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule and QUT guidance.

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2.8.9 Access, sharing and reuse

QUT requires staff and students to share research data and primary materials as appropriate, during the course of the research, at publication and at completion.

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2.8.10 Definitions

Brokered infrastructure means electronic infrastructure available for use by QUT researchers which is not owned or maintained by QUT, but which QUT has examined, considered, and endorses the use of.

Chief Investigator is an academic member of staff with principal responsibility for a research project. To be eligible as a Chief Investigator on a project, an academic staff member of the University must be employed at a minimum of 0.2 full-time equivalent for the duration of the project and must take significant intellectual responsibility for the project. In exceptional cases, adjunct professors, emeritus professors, conjoint appointments and visiting fellows may be considered eligible to be Chief Investigators. Determination of Chief Investigator status will be made in accordance with the eligibility requirements of the external granting agency or commercial partner, where applicable.

Custodianship means the direct responsibility for protecting research data, including accurate recording and proper retention, maintenance, access, sharing, and disposition of the data. Normally, the Data Custodian is the Chief Investigator. In cases where a project has several Chief Investigators, the Data Custodian is the first-named Chief Investigator.  

FAIR means the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. These principles are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. QUT has adopted these principles to ensure best practice in the management of research data and primary materials. More information is available at FAIR Principles.

Metadata means information or facts about research data and its context, content, provenance, accessibility and licencing arrangements for the purpose of attribution, description, management, verification and discovery. It provides other researchers with the information needed to understand and reuse a dataset as well as making the dataset more findable. For example, metadata may include collection title, chief investigator/s, description, collection period, unique identifier, licence, access conditions and storage location.

Preservation means a series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to research data for as long as necessary.

Primary materials means physical objects collected and/or used during research from which research data may be obtained. It includes, but is not limited to, materials such as biological samples, mineral samples, survey questionnaires, measurements, recordings, artwork and photographs.

Public funding means external research funding provided by a public agency in Australia or internationally. Public funding includes, but is not limited to, competitive grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council or the Australian Research Council.

Research data means data in the form of facts, observations, images, computer program results, recordings, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory, test or hypothesis, or other research output is based. It relates to data generated, collected, or used, during research projects, and in some cases may include the research output itself. Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile. It may be raw, cleaned or processed, and may be held in any format or media. Research data, in many disciplines, may by necessity include the software, algorithm, model and/or parameters, used to arrive at the research outcome, in addition to the raw data that the software, algorithm or model is applied to.

Research data lifecycle means the various stages within the lifespan of data from the point of creation or collection through to dissemination and will usually continue after the research project that creates it has concluded.

Research data management means all the processes and actions required to manage research data and primary materials throughout the research life-cycle for current and future research purposes and uses.

Researcher means any academic, professional, or senior, staff member, research student, or affiliate of the university, engaged in or supporting the conduct of research at the University as per the application of this policy in section D/2.8.2.

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2.8.11 Delegations

Refer to Appendix 3 Schedule of Authorities and Delegations (VC180).

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Related Documents

MOPP D/2.3 Research governance framework

MOPP D/3.1 Intellectual property

MOPP F/6.1 Records management

QUT Digital Data Storage Options (QUT staff access only)

Guidelines for the Management of Research Data at QUT (QUT staff access only)

Guidelines on the use of the Data Management Planning Tool for Higher Degree Research candidates (QUT staff and student access only)

Records relating to vulnerable persons (QUT staff access only)

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Australian Research Council Open Access Policy

NHMRC's Open Access Policy

University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedules (Queensland Government)

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
21.09.20 All University Academic Board Revised and simplified policy including a policy name change
09.12.16 D/2.8.5 Enhancing the Student Experience REAL Difference Change Manager Revised policy to include REAL Difference initiative, approved name change for division, Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support to Division of Technology, Information and Library Services and position title, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Library Services) - effective 03.01.17
13.11.15 All University Academic Board Revised policy
03.05.13 All Associate Director, Library Services (Information Resources and Research Support Services) Periodic review - minor editorial amendments only
26.03.10 All University Academic Board New policy

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