The Code sets out that ‘Research data controlled by the institution and/or its researchers should be stored in facilities provided by or approved by the institution’ (NHMRC 2018)
All digital and non-digital research data must be stored in a safe and secure technical or physical environment. ECU centrally provisions research data storage space through SharePoint to ensure that data is classified, labelled and managed appropriately All research project information and collected or generated data should be stored in your SharePoint site, which will always be available to members of your project team.
SharePoint is recommended as the default storage platform for research data because it is:
- Secure: ECU’s Office365 environment has the required ISO certifications that provide confidence that data is stored securely, backup up appropriately and encrypted in transit and at rest.
- Cost effective: Storage on the SharePoint platform is included in our existing Office365 subscription. There is no additional cost to research projects in storing data to this platform.
- Easy to use: Teams is now used by all ECU staff for Calling and Collaboration. This makes the entry point to research data storage familiar for researchers.
- Accessible: Office365 is accessible from anywhere without the need for a VPN or specialised software.
- Support for file types, size and volume: SharePoint allows the storage of a wide range of file types, individual file sizes up to 15GB and collective storage volume per site collection of 25TB.
- Support for collaboration: SharePoint enables the nominated Investigator(s) to share data with internal and external collaborators from the SharePoint platform.
- Retention Ready: SharePoint collections will be pre-populated with the recommended, retention ready folder structure that will aid researchers in keeping their data in a retention ready state that meets IMAS requirements.
The data management plan will capture the format and size of your anticipated data files to ensure that the storage space provided meets the needs of the research. IT Services will contact you if you indicate you may have alternative storage requirements or large data storage capacity.
The Five Safes framework
This framework was developed in the UK in the early 2000’s but has since been adopted internationally, and in Australia is widely becoming common language across the commonwealth. The framework sets out a multi-dimensional approach to managing disclosure risk and poses specific questions to help identify, manage and mitigate the risk:
- Safe projects – Is the use of the data appropriate? - The use of the data is legal, ethical and the project is expected to deliver public benefit.
- Safe people – Can the users be trusted to use it in an appropriate manner? - Researchers have the knowledge, skills and incentives to act in accordance with required standards of behaviour.
- Safe data – Is there a disclosure risk in the data itself? - Data has been treated appropriately to minimise the potential for identification of individuals or organisations.
- Safe settings – Does the access facility prevent unauthorised use? - There are practical controls on the way the data is accessed – both from a technology perspective and considering the physical environment.
- Safe output – Are the statistical results non-disclosive? - A final check can be required to minimise risk when releasing the findings of the project.
ECU’s Data Management Plan and Storage and Security pillar incorporates the principles of the Five Safes framework however researchers should be familiar with the principles of Five Safes in the context of their research and ensure they are meeting all institutional approvals.
For more information on the Five Safes framework see the Australian Bureau of Statistics webpage or the Office of the National Data Commissioner Data Sharing Principles Best Practice Guide which are based on the five safes framework.
Library Guide on Research Data Management