Policy directory


Date first approved:

2 December 2011

Date of effect:

2 December 2011

Date last amended:
(refer Version Control Table)

7 February 2019

Date of Next Review:

February 2020

First Approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)


Research Reporting Manager 

Responsible Division & Unit:

Research and Innovation Division (RaID): Research Services Office

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

Authorship Policy
Code of Practice – Research

Copyright Policy

Cyber Security Policy
IP Fellow, Volunteer and Visiting Student Assignment of Intellectual Property Policy

IP Intellectual Property Guidelines

IP Intellectual Property Policy

IP Student Assignment of Intellectual Property Policy

Privacy Policy

Records Management Policy

Research Data Management Guidelines

Research Data Management Plan Templates

Research Misconduct Policy

Open Access Policy

Relevant Legislation &

External Documents:

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research - 2018
National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
– 2018

OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding
Copyright Act, 1968 (Commonwealth)

Privacy Act, 1988 (Commonwealth)

State Records Act, 1998 (NSW)

General Retention and Disposal Authority – University Records
- 2005


Public – accessible to anyone.

Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.


1 Purpose of Policy

    1. The University of Wollongong (UOW) adopts the following policy on Research Data Management. It is acknowledged that this is an emerging field, and that full implementation of this policy may take some time.

    2. This policy:

    a. forms part of the UOW governance framework for research data management, along with the Code of Practice - Research;

    b. supports UOW’s commitment to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018), hereto referred to as ‘the Code’;

    c. supports data management requirements of funding bodies including the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) requirement for the management of data within grant applications, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Statement on Data Sharing;

    d. explains UOW’s expectations in relation to the management of research data and primary materials, including the responsibilities of staff, affiliates, research students, faculties and units.

    3. The UOW Research Data Management Guidelines, hereto referred to as the “RDM Guidelines”, accompany this policy and provide further advice on its practical implementation.

2 Definitions


Definition (with examples if required)

Data license

Defines the permissions, term and conditions for the reuse of data.

Intellectual Property (IP)

Any original product of the creator’s mind, commonly developed through research or creative efforts. IP created during the acquisition of research data and primary materials will be subject to the UOW Intellectual Property Policy.


Information about the context, content, quality, provenance, and/or accessibility that describes a research data set, for example collection title, chief investigator, description, collection period, access conditions and storage location.

Open Access

The immediate, online, free availability of research outputs without restrictions on use commonly imposed by publisher copyright agreements.

Primary materials

Physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation from which research data may be derived. Examples include geological or biological material, questionnaires or recordings.

Research data

The data, records, files or other evidence, irrespective of their content or form (e.g. in print, digital, physical or other forms), that comprise research observations, findings or outcomes, including primary materials and analysed data. Research data referred to in this policy relates to data generated in research projects and is to be distinguished from the information about research performance and statistical research data which is used by UOW for planning and budgeting purposes.

Research data management

All the processes and actions required to manage data throughout the research life-cycle to enable it to be preserved and accessible by a controlled audience for current and future research.

Research data management plan

A document that outlines how the research data for a specific project will be collected, organised, stored, backed-up, preserved shared, archived and disposed.

Research data security

The protection of data from loss, unauthorised access and unauthorised modification. Security must be maintained while data is both at rest and in transit.

Research data governance

The practice of setting policies, rules and processes that guide the use, development and protection of research data, and ensuring compliance with these regulations.


A Staff Member, Research Student and/or Visitor who undertake or have undertaken Research at the University.

3 Application & Scope

    1. This policy applies to all UOW Researchers engaged in the collection, creation, curation, management and use of research data at UOW.

    2. All research is subject to the provisions of any relevant contracts, funding agreements and collaboration agreements.

    3. In cases where this policy conflicts with the legal requirements specified in research contracts (commercial or otherwise), the contract terms will take precedence over this policy. It is the responsibility of the research leader to ensure that the terms of the contract are met.

4 Research Data Management Planning

    1. Data management planning from the outset of a research project helps to formalise decisions relating to the access, retention, storage and disposal of research data. It is recommended that a Research Data Management (RDM) Plan accompany every research project at UOW. These plans may be required by external funding agencies.

    2. Plans need to be updated when the data management needs of the project change significantly from those captured in the existing plan. Revised plans must be shared with relevant members of the research project team in a timely fashion.

    3. Researchers should consider the likely future uses of their data and ensure that it is collected in a manner that provides flexibility, where possible. For example, those working with personal data are encouraged to seek permission from respondents to retain de-identified data to enable reuse for future research. Assigning an appropriate license will define exactly how others are permitted to use the data.

    4. Resources are available to assist with the preparation of RDM Plans. Refer to the RDM Guidelines or contact the Research Services Office for more information.

5 Documentation and Metadata

    1. Metadata is the information describing the attributes of an item or resource that enables it to be identified, retrieved and managed over time.

    a. Administrative metadata may consist of dates, file size, type, creator details, location, licensing information and retention periods to assist with the management of the dataset.

    b. Descriptive metadata provides information for ease of discovery and retrieval such as an abstract, title, keywords, categories, versions and unique identifiers. Supplementary contextual information should be captured to enable the reuse and interpretation of the data.

    c. Structural metadata explains how the data organised and how it relates to other collections, for example, indexes, chapters, database fields, page numbers and XML schemas.

    2. Metadata must accompany the research data for as long as it is retained, and should be updated as necessary.

    3. Any process, software program or code used to generate or analyse the research data should be documented and recorded in the metadata. Refer to the RDM Guidelines for more information.

6 Storage and Security of Research Data

    1. UOW will provide facilities for the safe and secure storage of research data and primary materials, appropriate training and support services, and maintain metadata records.

    2. Research data sets have varying security requirements. Researchers must evaluate the need for confidentiality, integrity and availability of their research data and select storage systems and communication technologies that will sufficiently meet their security requirements. Refer to the RDM Guidelines for information about appropriate storage solutions.

    3. Researchers are responsible for appropriate preparation of data in situations where commercial sensitivity, confidentiality and/or privacy issues require data to be encrypted or de-identified. Instructions on the use of encryption, de-identification and other data protection techniques are available from the UOW Cyber Security website.

    4. As per the Code of Practice – Research, data must be stored in a durable and appropriately referenced and retrievable form, in a safe and secure storage area, with clear and accurate records of research methods and data sources.

    5. Before using external commercial cloud storage applications, staff should refer to the RDM Guidelines for information on recommended service providers.

    6. When using removable and temporary storage media, researchers must:

    a. Familiarise themselves with the data management limitations, issues and risks associated with storing research data on such devices.

    b. Assume responsibility for the access control, security, back-up, and disposal processes that are required for appropriate research data management.

    c. Ensure that all significant research data and primary materials are moved to the central storage facilities provided by UOW as soon as possible.

7 Ownership of Research Data

    1. Research data and its associated intellectual property will be owned by UOW, unless otherwise specified in funding agreements or agreed in writing by all parties involved in the project, prior to its commencement. Where a project spans more than one institution, It is recommended that a written agreement be developed, outlining the arrangements for data management, including ownership provisions.

    2. UOW may assert ownership of research data and its associated intellectual property for research involving students in accordance with the IP Student Assignment of Intellectual Property Policy.

    3. UOW’s assertion of research data ownership does not impede the use of such data by researchers for research and education purposes. Instead, it permits the University to manage the data for long-term preservation and sharing, where appropriate.

8 Retention, Archiving and Disposal of Research Data

    1. Research data and primary materials must be retained in an accessible form for as long as they have continuing value, in accordance with periods specified by legislation, funding bodies, ethics approval processes, patent law, regulatory requirements and discipline convention. Sufficient data must be retained to justify the outcomes of research. Refer to RDM Guidelines for further information regarding retention periods.

    2. When a researcher leaves UOW, any agreements concerning the management of their research data (i.e. ownership, retention, access etc.) must be reviewed. Researchers may negotiate with their Head of School to take copies of their research data for their own use. Original research data is to remain in a UOW repository unless otherwise agreed.

    3. Where research data is required to be permanently archived, it must be saved in a format that will enable it to be accessible in the future. For further information about archiving and storage solutions, refer to the RDM Guidelines.

    4. Where disposal of research data is necessary, it must be planned, deliberate and irreversible, using secure disposal mechanisms so that the data cannot be retrieved. Refer to RDM Guidelines for further information regarding data disposal.

9 Access to Research Data

    1. Research data and primary materials must be easily identified and quickly retrievable by authorised users.

    2. Research data from publicly-funded research projects (such as ARC and NHMRC funded projects) should be placed in a UOW repository within six months of publication of the research findings.

    3. Researchers are encouraged to make their research data sets available under open-licence for use by others, unless this is prevented by legislation, UOW policy, or ethical, confidentiality or contractual requirements. Refer to the RDM Guidelines for further information on data licensing. If research data sets cannot be made openly available, it is recommended that research metadata be made available.

10 Roles & Responsibilities

    1. Academic staff, professional staff, academic units and central administrative units within the University will work in partnership to satisfy the requirements of the Code and the Code of Practice – Research.

Researchers are responsible for:

    2. Familiarising themselves with relevant data and primary material management requirements and contractual obligations (if any) prior to undertaking research.

    3. Understanding and acting in accordance with this policy.

    4. Identifying and using the most suitable storage solution for their data.

    5. Arranging the safe and secure storage of research data, research records and primary materials.

    6. Understanding the risks and limitations of third-party storage solutions (such as those listed in the RDM Guidelines) and, where appropriate, taking the necessary action to protect data stored on these services.

    7. Reporting circumstances where a suspected or known security breach might have resulted in the unauthorised access, unintended disclosure, loss, theft, destruction or alteration of data, in accordance with the IT Security Policy.

    8. Planning for the handover of research data collections, associated primary materials and research records at the conclusion of research projects or when a researcher leaves the University, including information about access to and potential re-use of data collections.

Research Supervisors are responsible for:

    9. Assisting research students to:

    a. Understand the relevant policy, contracts, regulation and licensing considerations that relate to research data management within their respective disciplines;

    b. Access appropriate data and primary material storage infrastructure and advisory services, and;

    10. Taking joint responsibility with their Research Students for the management of the Research Students’ data and primary materials.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Associate Deans (Research) and Heads of School are responsible for:

    11. Ensuring that there is appropriate communication and organisational awareness of Research Data Management issues.

    12. Modelling responsible data management behaviours to staff and students.

    13. Reporting incidents involving IT security breaches or the unintended disclosure, loss, or destruction of research data.

    14. Participating in research data governance processes.

Information Management and Technology Services (IMTS) is responsible for:

    15. Providing enterprise-level storage services and solutions, such as localised hardware/software solutions, networked storage, collaboration tools, file sharing utilities.

    16. Providing technical support for centrally provided storage services and solutions.

    17. Ensuring centrally-provided storage services and solutions are appropriately backed up and maintained.

    18. Educating relevant UOW staff about the differences, capabilities and functions of centrally-provided storage resources.

    19. Participating in research data governance processes.

The University Library is responsible for:

    20. The custodianship of centrally managed research data collection metadata records.

    21. Providing subject matter expertise on data management concepts, such as linked identifiers, metadata management, data licensing and data citation.

    22. Providing advice and training to researchers through established outreach and liaison services.

    23. Participating in research data governance processes.

The Research Services Office is responsible for:

    24. Providing a central coordination point for research data management activities.

    25. Advocacy and developing organisational awareness of research data management issues.

    26. Providing advice, guidance and assistance to researchers in the preparation of Data Management Plans.

    27. Organising research data management training events and workshops.

    28. Facilitating and supporting research data governance processes.

11 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



2 December 2011

University Council

First Version


9 December 2016

University Council

Revised Purpose of Policy to better reflect how the policy supports the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) and the requirements of funding bodies.
Confirmed precedence of research contracts over policy, where contract terms conflict with the policy.
Removed previous Policy Principles that were not directly relevant to Research Data Management.

Added information about Research Data Management Planning, as required by various funding agencies.

Added information about Documentation and Metadata.
Expanded Storage section to explain UOW and researcher responsibilities. Added explicit references to cloud storage and removable/temporary media. Researchers are now responsible for determining the most appropriate storage solution to meet their data management needs.
Expanded details on Security in terms of privacy and commercialisation, with references to confidentiality, data integrity and encryption considerations where appropriate.
Added recommendations on the institutional and open access sharing of research data.
Clarified UOW’s ownership of research data and associated intellectual property and the recommendation for prior written agreement where ownership is shared or resides outside of UOW.
Condensed Retention and Disposal details and removed contradictory minimum retention periods.

Added information about data licensing options.
Expanded Roles and Responsibilities to specify key responsibilities for each of the stakeholders involved with research data.


7 February 2019

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)

Administrative amendment to language in clause 1.1.

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