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Research Data Management

This guide will assist you to store and manage your research data throughout the research data lifecycle, from planning to publishing!

Data Retention Periods

Retention periods for research data may be influenced by a number of factors:

  • Funding body requirements (generally a minimum of 5 years),
  • Legislative or regulatory requirements, for example, statutory retention periods, set by governments, especially for medical research,
  • University policies on data management (see below),
  • Agreements or contracts with research and industry partners

Some research data have lasting research value for researchers and the general public. In such cases, the decision may be made to keep data for a longer period or even permanently. Longer-term and permanent retention of research outputs such as publications are recommended where the outcomes of the research:

  • Are or may become of great public interest or contention
  • Substantially shift the paradigm in the research field
  • Have resulted in the identification, registration and use of intellectual property such as patent applications.

Exit Planning

Before leaving the University, you should arrange access for at least one other researcher or your Head of School or Research Centre to the data and any documentation relating to it. Master copies of any working data that belongs to the University or to a third party with which the University has an agreement must not be removed from the University.

Data Disposal

You may choose to dispose of your data once the retention period has passed and you feel that the data is no longer of value or to meet ethical requirements. 

The disposal of Primary Materials and Research Data are to be conducted in accordance with the University’s information management procedures

When data is destroyed it must be irreversible with no chance of recovery.  Paper can be shredded using an office shredder. Extra care should be taken with sensitive or confidential information and a secure paper destruction service bin used.

Digital data may be destroyed by deleting or overwriting information, purging magnetic media through degaussing (exposure to a strong magnetic field), or destroying the physical media (e.g. CD-ROMS, DVDs).