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Research Data Management

Researchers have a responsibility under the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) to retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research, including research data and primary materials and where possible allowing access and reference to these by interested parties.

Effective data management ensures responsible conduct of research in a number of ways as set out by the ARDC; ‘Good research data management practices ensure that researchers and institutions are able to meet their obligations to funders, improve the efficiency of research, and ensure data is findable, accessible, interoperable, trusted, and reusable’ (Australian Research Data Commons).

The robust planning of data management also plays a vital role in managing risk. All research is subject to a range of data-related risks such as data loss or corruption, and privacy or copyright breaches. These risks come with potentially significant consequences. Effective research data management can support managing and mitigating such risks.

All research activity conducted at ECU should be supported by a robust plan for the management of data collected and generated throughout the project

An increasing number of funders (including the National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council) ask researchers to provide a data management plan before funds will be released to ensure open access to publicly funded research data.

The way in which ECU approaches the management of data is centred around four key pillars which are developed based on all available best practice guidelines:

Data Management Plan components

Responsibility for institutions and researchers when managing research data

The responsibility for researchers within the Code which relate to data management include:

Researchers must complete a Data Management Plan before the commencement of their research which defines the way in which the data will be stored, secured and retained in line with the WAUSDA guidelines. This approach includes data management, open access and records management policies and procedures that underpin the principles and responsibilities within The Code.

The Code sets out that researchers should:

  • retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research data and primary materials
  • retain and be able to produce on request all relevant approvals, authorisations and other administrative documents, such as ethics and financial approvals, receipts and consent forms
  • where possible and appropriate, allow access to research data and primary materials, in particular, to enable to facilitate the sharing of research data. This access should be facilitated by the use of indexes or catalogues of data and information generated, accessed and used during the research
  • respect any project-specific conditions of consent or confidentiality obligations
  • adhere to project-specific protocols that require measures beyond those required by institutional policy or relevant laws, regulations and guidelines, or research discipline-specific practices and standards
  • report any inappropriate use of or access to or loss of data, in accordance with applicable institutional policies and, where relevant, other reporting schemes such as the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme
  • ensure that agreements are in place to govern circumstances in which researchers leave the project or move from one institution to another during the course of the project
  • ensure that agreements are in place between institutions for managing responsibilities set out in this guide for data and information in multicentre or collaborative research projects.

The responsibility for institutions which relate to data management are:

ECU has a documented approach to data management including the provision of an online data management plan, secure data storage and specialised data storage for large datasets. This approach includes data management, open access and records management policies and procedures that underpin the principles and responsibilities within The Code.

Framework of support for managing data

ECU have developed a number of practices to ensure research data is managed in accordance with the principles and responsibilities of the code:

  • ECU has developed an online data management plan and centrally provisions secure data storage space.
  • ECU has provided all ECU staff and students access to online Research Integrity Professional Learning program delivered by Epigeum, which raises awareness of research integrity and provides researchers guidance on meeting their responsibilities of the Code. Professional learning events will also be available through the Researcher Professional Learning Program and the Library Research Services learning program.

Please see the Data Management Plan webpage for more information.

For additional Data Management information and resources please see the Research Data Management Library Guide.

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