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Research data: Life cycle and archiving

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This is the guidance for the University of Portsmouth’s Research Data Management (RDM) policy. This guidance will be updated as the infrastructure and research governance framework are further developed.

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Background

In December 2011 the Government published their Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth which asserts that publicly funded research data should be made publicly available or ‘Open Access’ (BIS 2011). They have recently reiterated this commitment (BIS 2014). Potential benefits of Open Access data are:-

Additionally, Open Access research data is increasingly a requirement:-

This policy is aligned with the Research Data policies of major funders, such as RCUK.

 

 

Definitions

For the purpose of this Policy, these terms are defined as follows:-

"Data Management Plan" (DMP) typically states what Research Data are likely to be created as a result of certain Research activities and outlines the plans for sharing, dissemination, storage, preservation and eventual (possible) destruction of such Research Data. A DMP might take the form of a stand-alone document or be part of a Research funding application, or Research design protocol (for ethical review).

The "Data Steward" is the most senior University of Portsmouth Researcher (staff member) associated with the Research. The Data Steward should be identified in the DMP. This is typically the Principal Investigator (PI) or, for a larger body of Research work, it may be the Research Lead (e.g. Professor of the Research team), or in the case of post-graduate research student (PGRS) projects it is typically their (First) Supervisor.

"Open Access" means that Research Data are made available such that they can be accessed and used by the general public and other organisations, without cost to the user.

The "Regulatory Environment" includes all applicable legislation, contractual or funder obligations, and ethical and policy requirements. Examples of items to be considered within the regulatory environment include - but are not limited to - the following:-

"Research" (in accordance with REF 2014 definition) means a process of investigation leading to new insights. It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship; the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction. It excludes routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original Research.

"Research Data" are information created or collected in pursuit of Research activities, which may be in digital or physical formats. All subject areas and disciplines have Research Data. This includes all data that has been collated and transformed (e.g. placed in databases for analysis), and in general all data upon which the process of research has actively impinged. This includes all definitive records of information collected from and about living human subjects, all experimental and survey results data, all records of relevant ephemeral events (performances, exhibits, etc). It excludes research notes (except when these are the primary location of types of data defined above), transcriptions of information that remains accessible elsewhere in a digital format, and in general any records of information that would be accessible to a third party by following information provided in footnotes or references to the published research.

 

The policy

1. What does this policy apply to? This policy applies to all University of Portsmouth Research. Read more.

2. Responsibility: The Data Steward is ultimately responsible for the management of Research Data throughout all stages of the Research.  Read more.

3. Regulatory Environment: The Data Steward is responsible for ensuring that the Research adheres to all applicable requirements and conditions imposed by the Regulatory Environment.  Read more.

4. Planning: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data management planning takes place.  Read more.

5. Costs: Where possible, the Data Steward must seek to recover the direct costs of managing Research Data from an external Research funder.  Read more.

6. Active Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that 'active' Research Data are stored securely and protected from loss, unlawful or unethical access, and in accordance with all other applicable requirements of the Regulatory Environment. Read more.

7. Archived Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are archived for long-term preservation and (as far as possible) made Open Access if they substantiate published Research findings, are of potential long-term value, and/or retention is a requirement of the Regulatory Environment. Read more.

8. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure that data are discoverable from the University’s own online Research Data repository, regardless of whether the Research Data themselves (e.g. files) are stored in this repository or elsewhere. Read more.

9. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure the Research Data (e.g. files) are stored in either an established subject specific repository, or in the University’s own Research Data repository. Read more.

10. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are assigned a license that enables such data to be reused and shared by others under as permissible terms as the Regulatory Environment will allow. Read more.

11. Archived Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are made discoverable and accessible within 12 months of project completion or first publication of Research findings based on the Research Data, whichever is the sooner. Read more.

12. Archived Research Data: Unless the applicable Regulatory Environment specifies otherwise, Research Data must be retained for 10 years from whichever is the latest of:

the completion of the Research
the publication date of any Research findings based upon the Research Data
the date upon which access to the Research Data was last requested by a third party.

After this 10 year retention period, further retention will be reviewed. Read more.

13. Publications: The Data Steward must ensure that a statement describing how and on what terms any archived Research Data may be accessed is included in Research publications based on such Research Data. Read more. Read more.

 

 


 

 

The policy: with further guidance notes

 

 

1. What does this policy apply to? This policy applies to all University of Portsmouth Research.

1.1 This policy applies to all Research conducted within the University of Portsmouth, regardless of the funding arrangements of the Research.

1.2 This policy covers the whole Research 'lifecycle', including both management of ‘active’ Research Data and archiving of (selected) Research Data underpinning peer reviewed publications, or, on completion of the project.

1.3 This policy will not normally apply to undergraduate student research (e.g. final year projects) unless findings of the Research are included in scholarly publications (section 7.4).

1.4 Although this policy's primary application is to current or future Research outputs, consideration should also be given to legacy Research outputs that have value to the University and wider society.

1.5 It is acknowledged that there may be a small number of specific cases where the Research Data collected or used is minimal, for example, a critical and theoretical intervention in arts and humanities Research.

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2. Responsibility: The Data Steward is ultimately responsible for the management of Research Data throughout all stages of the Research.

2.1 In the absence of an identifiable Data Steward, responsibility for the management of the Research Data will devolve upwards, resting with Head of Department/School, in the first instance. For example, the Head of Department must discuss the ongoing management requirements of the Research Data with the Data Steward if they are due to leave the University. Or, for example, Head of Department may be responsible for arbitrating on the retention of Research Data that originated from their department.

2.2 Where Research is conducted in collaboration with external Research partners, the Data Steward is responsible for the management of Research Data that is under the University’s control.

2.3 With regards to PGRS projects, it is the Data Steward’s (typically the first supervisor’s) role to ensure appropriate management of Research Data is established in the Data Management Plan (section 4).

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3.Regulatory Environment: The Data Steward is responsible for ensuring that the Research adheres to all applicable requirements and conditions imposed by the Regulatory Environment.

3.1 Legislative requirements take precedence over all other regulations and policies.

3.2 The Data Steward should ensure advice is taken from relevant members of University of Portsmouth staff and that they take advantage of the Researcher Development Programme opportunities.

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4. Planning: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data management planning takes place.

4.1 A Data Management Plan (DMP) must normally be created before the Research starts regardless of the funding arrangements of the Research, and necessarily prior to submission of any funding application (see section 5).

4.2 The format and length of DMPs should reflect the complexity and requirements of the Research. For example, where applicable, funder-specific templates and guidance for Research protocols (e.g. ICH Good Clinical Practice) should be used. Should no funder-specific template exist, the DMPOnline provides a generic template which can be used.

4.3 DMPs must explicitly address plans for both active (section 6) and archived (sections 7-13) Research Data, including Research Data collection, storage, appropriate anonymisation and confidentiality, retention, access and (re)distribution, publication and individual's responsibilities. For Research Data generated from Research involving human participants, the DMP must also include the informed consent gained from participants for the use of the Research Data, both during the Research (i.e. active Research Data) and also any sharing of (anonymised) archived Research Data after the Research is completed. All DMPs should explain how the requirements of the Regulatory Environment will be met.

4.4 It is the Data Steward’s responsibility to ensure that all members of the Research team (including PGRS) are aware of and abide by the DMP covering their Research. The Data Steward will be responsible for reporting any breaches of the DMP to their Head of Department, in the first instance.

4.5. DMPs may be updated during the life of the project. If changes have implications for the capacity of the storage space the University is being asked to provide, the Data Steward must ensure these changes have been agreed with the relevant IS Service Delivery Manager in sufficient time. If these changes significantly alter the nature of the Research Data being stored (e.g. have ethical implications), the Data Steward may also need to discuss them with a relevant member of staff.

4.6 While the majority of research will collect and/or use Research Data, it is acknowledged that there are some specific cases where the Research Data is collected and/or used is minimal. For example, a critical and theoretical intervention in arts and humanities research. In these cases, a minimal plan or a statement as to why a DMP is not needed is sufficient.

4.7 If Research is likely to require above 50Gb of space on the University’s Research Data archive (sections 7-9), the Data Steward must discuss this with the Research Outputs Manager before the Research commences.  (These storage amounts will be reviewed and updated annually).

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5. Costs: Where possible, the Data Steward must seek to recover the direct costs of managing Research Data from an external Research funder.

5.1 The Data Steward should ensure that realistic costs are included in the project budget or contracts as appropriate. Costs should be considered when writing the DMP (section 4) and prior to submission of the funding application. Advice on costing may be sought from a relevant member of staff.

5.2 Major funders, such as RCUK, enable researchers to include Research Data management costs in the funding application.

5.3 Where Research is unfunded, the Data Steward is responsible for negotiating cost of managing the Research Data (both ‘active’ and archived data) with their IS Service Delivery Manager before the Research commences.

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6. Active Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that 'active' Research Data are stored securely and protected from loss, unlawful or unethical access, and in accordance with all other applicable requirements of the Regulatory Environment.

6.1 'Active' Research Data refers to data that is stored and used whilst the Research is taking place. It may include personal and/or sensitive Research Data.

6.2 In practice, day-to-day management of active Research Data is likely to be carried out by researchers in the team following the DMP devised by the Data Steward. As such, all researchers (including PGRS) have a personal responsibility for the Research Data they collect, store or use.

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7. Archived Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are archived for long-term preservation and (as far as possible) made Open Access if they substantiate published Research findings, are of potential long-term value, and/or retention is a requirement of the Regulatory Environment.

7.1 The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) provides guidelines for selecting Research Data for archiving.

7.2The degree to which the Research Data are made Open Access may vary. For example, data could be instantly downloadable by a member of the public, or the data could be provided on request, or the data could be provided subject to certain terms and conditions. (See 13.2 for examples). However, the restrictions imposed by the latter two examples should be justified in terms of the Regulatory Environment. The most permissive level of Open Access that the Regulatory Environment will allow must be used.

7.3 Research Data can be archived but not made Open Access, or only made Open Access after an embargo period. The decision not to make Research Data Open Access must be justified in terms of the Regulatory Environment, and/or potential for future commercial exploitation. For example, there may be a contractual requirement from a commercial partner to keep Research Data confidential, or the University (or a collaborator) may be seeking patent protection requiring an embargo period before the Research Data can be published. Research Data still needs to be stored in accordance with the Regulatory Environment.

7.4 Where the findings of Research undertaken by undergraduate or postgraduate students are included in scholarly publications, Research Data supporting these publications should be archived. Supervisors of students should agree retention or use of their students’ Research Data preferably prior to commencement of the Research activity, but in any event prior to graduation of the student.

7.5 Researchers should seek further guidance from the Library, Information Disclosure and Complaints Manager or Records Manager as regards selecting which Research Data to archive and make Open Access, and from RIS regarding intellectual property, commercial and contractual matters. (Contact details of staff who can help).

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8. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure that data are discoverable from the University’s own online Research Data repository, regardless of whether the Research Data themselves (e.g. files) are stored in this repository or elsewhere.

8.1 This involves registering the Research Data with the University’s online Research Data repository by completing a metadata record.  Please contact the Research Outputs Manager for more information.   

8.2 This metadata record should be sufficient to allow others to understand what Research Data exists, who created it, why, when and how it was generated, and how to access it. Where the Research Data is a digital object, the metadata should include a robust digital object identifier (DOI) (ie. a web link that will not change) to where the Research Data is archived (section 10). If the Research Data are available ‘on request’ (e.g. cannot be made available in digital format or certain restrictions have been placed on the data), then details how they can be obtained should be included.

8.3 Requirements imposed by the Regulatory Environment must be adhered to.

 

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9. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure the Research Data (e.g. files) are stored in either an established subject specific repository, or in the University’s own Research Data repository.

9.1 Research Data files should only be stored in the University's of Portsmouth's Research Data repository if there is not a suitable established (external) subject specific repository.  Please contact the Research Outputs Manager for more information. 

9.2 A list of established subject specific online repositories can be found at re3data. Project or personal websites are not acceptable as an alternative to an established repository.

9.3 The Data Steward should ensure that, as far as possible, Research Data is stored in a format suitable for long-term preservation. This is to ensure Research Data can still be accessed over time, despite changes in software and hardware used to original create or access it. Thus, the Research Data should be stored in an open standard format, and where applicable (e.g. when storing images) this format should be lossless. See the UK Data Archive, or contact the Research Outputs Manager for further help.

9.4 If the Research Data are not in digital format, they should either be digitised (if practicable) or stored in a manner to facilitate sharing, in the event of a request for access to the Research Data being received.

9.5 Requirements imposed by the Regulatory Environment must be adhered to.

9.6 The University Library can assist with the identification of a suitable location for long-term Research Data preservation and archiving.

9.7 If Research is likely to require above 50Gb of space on the University’s Research Data archive (sections 7-9), the Data Steward must discuss this with the Research Outputs Manager before the Research commences.  (These storage amounts will be reviewed and updated annually).

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10. Archived Research Data: When making Research Data Open Access, the Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are assigned a license that enables such data to be reused and shared by others under as permissible terms as the Regulatory Environment will allow.

10.1 Research Data should not be assigned licences or terms of use that unnecessarily restrict sharing or reuse by others.

10.2 Where Research Data are passed to a third party, such as to a funder, publisher, or a data archive for storage and publication, exclusive rights to ownership or use of Research Data should not be transferred, without first consulting with Research and Innovation Services.

10.3 The licence assigned should specify that users of the Research Data must acknowledge the originator of the Research Data in any publication or derived work.

10.4 Researchers should seek further guidance from the University Library, Research and Innovation Services, or Information Disclosure and Complaints Manager. (Contact details of staff who can help).

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11. Archived Research Data: The Data Steward must ensure that Research Data are made discoverable and accessible within 12 months of project completion or first publication of Research findings based on the Research Data, whichever is the sooner.

11.1 Research Data may be archived at key stages throughout a project, or at the end of the project.

11.2 Any requirements imposed by the Regulatory Environment supersede this requirement. For example, it is an expectation of RCUK (notably EPSRC) that all Research Data derived from publicly-funded research are normally made Open Access within 12 months from creation.

11.3 Researchers should seek further guidance from the University Library, RIS, Information Disclosure and Complaints Manager or Records Manager. (Contact details of staff who can help).

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12. Archived Research Data: Unless the applicable Regulatory Environment specifies otherwise, Research Data must be retained for 10 years from whichever is the latest of:

After this 10 year retention period, further retention will be reviewed.

12.1 Any requirements imposed by the Regulatory Environment supersede this requirement.

12.2 Where Research Data have been submitted to an external archive for preservation, that archive will be responsible for managing long-term retention.

12.3. The University Library will manage the review of data retention for Research Data hosted by the University.

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13. Publications: The Data Steward must ensure that a statement describing how and on what terms any archived Research Data may be accessed is included in Research publications based on such Research Data.

13.1 Where available, a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), for the Research Data must be included with this statement. The University Library can assist with identifying suitable persistent identifiers.

13.2. Example statements include:-

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