June 30, 2023
Do you know who owns your research data and what your responsibilities are? The University of California has a Research Data Policy which clarifies that “the Regents of the University of California owns Research Data generated or collected in the course of University Research.” The policy defines Research Data as recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry, regardless of the form or media in which they may be recorded. This includes research data that is collected or stored on personal devices.
In the policy, Principal Investigators (PI) are identified as the primary stewards of Research Data and Research Data will be retained by the PI of a research project. However, the University may take custody of Research Data under certain circumstances, such as where necessary to perform any investigations associated with allegations of research misconduct, litigation, or to ensure continuity of research.
Researcher Responsibilities when Conducting Research
- The PI provides scholarly leadership pertaining to Research Data, including the collection, recording, managing, and disposal.
- The PI determines use of Research Data by other University Researchers and collaborators on the project in accordance with relevant agreements, their scholarly discipline’s practices, and the need for academic progress of academic appointees, postdoctoral scholars, degree candidates, and other students.
When University Researchers Leave
- If a University Researcher is leaving UCD and requests a copy of the Research Data generated during their UCD research, the PI will review the request and any applicable requirements (sponsor, regulatory, legal, etc.).
- If the PI is leaving UCD and plans to take Research Data to a new institution, the PI must contact Sponsored Projects Administration for a Data Use Agreement to ensure compliance with applicable requirements (sponsor, regulatory, legal, etc.). Co-PIs (if applicable) will also be consulted.
- The departing PI must arrange with their school, department and/or other academic unit for the management or disposition of any Research Data that remains at UCD in accordance with University policies and/or legal, funder or contractual requirements.
When Research Projects Completed
The PI makes decisions regarding what Research Data should be preserved or dispositioned following the most stringent of these multiple requirements, based on the following:
- Legal, funder or contractual requirements (including incoming and outgoing data transfer and use agreements);
- Retention requirements of their scholarly discipline, campus departments, funding agencies, and applicable law and regulation;
- Protection of intellectual property and completion of University patenting and licensing procedures for inventions;
- Subject to allegations of research or other misconduct, investigations, or litigations;
- For student participation in research (in advancing to a degree), retention of Research Data connected to that research until the student has been awarded a degree, or until the student is no longer working on the project or is not enrolled in the University.
Principal Investigator should review the “When Research Project Completed” section in the above Principal Investigator’s Responsibilities chart and consult the appropriate research agreement office to ensure there are no remaining retention obligations before disposing of the research data.
For questions about this policy, please Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Denise Ehlen.
Read more here.