4. Towards the end of your project
Adapted from Best practice guidelines for researchers: Managing research data and primary materials by Griffith University which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
When you have your results the Library will be able to assist you describing and depositing data in repositories, such as the ANDS Research Data Australia database, to validate and promote your research and increase its impact. Talk to the Library about ePublications@SCU and about how we can help to showcase your research and where possible provide Open Access to publications and data. Contact your Librarian for assistance.
If confidential or obsolete data needs to be destroyed, seek advice on secure methods.When you leave SCU make plans for the data you are taking with you and the data left behind.
- Sharing data through a repository or archive
- Licensing data for reuse
- Destroying data securely
- Exit planning - what to do when you leave
Sharing data through a repository or archive
By depositing data in a repository (or archive), you can make sure that your data can be accessed and cited in the long term.
Before depositing, you should consider the implications of doing so, in terms of ownership of intellectual property, and ethical requirements like privacy and confidentiality.
Repositories differ in their discipline focus and the types of research data that they accept. It is common for repositories to specify some or all of the following:
- preferred formats that facilitate long-term access and preservation
- minimum standards for documentation and metadata that enhance the discoverability and usability of the data
- assurances from you, as the depositor, that storing the data and making it available will not infringe upon the rights of others, and
- your assignment of a licence that makes clear what rights reusers are granted.
Identifying a suitable repository for your data and discussing requirements with the repository staff is a valuable part of data planning.
ePublications@SCU Data Collections
SCU staff have access to an institutional data repository that is not discipline-specific. The service is run by the Library and is suitable for a wide range of data. You can upload research data and make it openly accessible. You can also use the data repository to record and showcase:
- data that is hosted elsewhere - you provide metadata about the collection and links to the hosting site, and
- data that is not available online but may be accessed through negotiation with the collection custodian - you provide metadata about the collection and an access statement that tells users how to negotiate access.
Data and metadata that you choose to share publicly can be cited by others, and will be discoverable through ePublications@SCU, Research Data Australia, Google, Google Scholar and other services that expose your research to new audiences and potential collaborators.
ePublications staff will assist you in assessing and describing your data set.
Consideration should be given to:
- technical complexities - e.g. large volumes, high dependency between files, requirement for specialised hardware or software
- risk management
- the user community has special requirements about how data needs to be delivered.
Resources:Digital repositories (Digital Curation Centre, UK)
Seek advice from ePublications@SCU if required.
Other digital data repositories
In many disciplines, national or international repositories are available to support the long-term access to research data.
Re3Data is a searchable directory of research data repositories. In September 2014, almost 1,000 data repositories were listed in Re3Data.
In deciding whether to deposit to a repository outside SCU, consider the sustainability of the service (in terms of staffing, funding arrangements, and support from its host institution) and assess its level of support for and within your discipline.
If you add a metadata record to the ePublications@SCU that links to the other archive or repository holding your data, your collection can still appear in your Personal Researcher Page as one of your research outputs.
Licensing data for reuse
When you disseminate data that you own or manage, you need to think about how you want others to reuse it. It is your responsibility to communicate clearly the terms and conditions that you want reusers of your data to follow.
All rights reserved: relying on the Copyright Act
You can reserve all your rights under the Copyright Act. This means people can view and download a copy of your data for private research and study only. They must credit you as the creator, and potential reusers would need to seek your permission for any other type of activity, including re-publishing.
While reserving all your rights can be useful for publications, in the case of data it can limit the research impact of your work by restricting other researchers from undertaking common activities such as deriving data or aggregating your data with other datasets.
If your goals in disseminating your data are to facilitate the greatest reuse possible, then applying an open licence will be more effective than relying on copyright legislation.
Some rights reserved: standard open licences
For openly accessible data, a standard licence is the most effective way of ensuring appropriate reuse. An open licence lets you reserve some rights as the owner of the material, but grant reusers more rights than they would have just under copyright legislation.
Adopting a standard licence is often a pre-condition to depositing in a repository or archive, but licences can also be applied to resources disseminated via the web or other means.
SCU researchers are encouraged to consider using open licences. Licences enable you to clearly indicate to others your wishes about how the data can be reused and how you want to be attributed.
The Australian National Data Service recommends AusGOAL (the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework), which has been endorsed as the preferred policy and licensing suite for government information across Australia. AusGOAL is now officially being extended into the research and innovation sector. AusGOAL's core is a suite of six standard Creative Commons (CC) licences that give you a great deal of flexibility in expressing your wishes. A good principle to apply is to use the least restrictive licence that is applicable to your data collection. If you want your data to be as widely used as possible, the Creative Commons Attribution Only licence (CC-BY), would be the most useful for that aim.
Some rights reserved: restricted licences and custom reuse agreements
If you would like to make data available only under certain conditions or by negotiation, you can use a restrictive licence or other written agreement (such as a Data Transfer Agreement). You might consider this when data contains personal or other confidential information, or if you want to impose some other condition such as a time limit on use or some form of payment.
Agreements of this kind could be constructed from a model template or developed for you especially to meet the requirements of a specific project. Examples of this approach include:
- the agreements associated with the Australian National Corpus (AUS-NC)
- the Protocols of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA)
A restricted licence provides you with more protection and enables you to be specific about terms and conditions, but it can also be time-consuming and, if legal advice is required, expensive.
No rights reserved: copyright waivers and public domain dedications
Some licences or agreements allow you to place your work in the public domain. When you apply these to your work, you waive all your rights and the protections offered by copyright, including the right to be credited as the creator.
You should think carefully before using a 'No rights reserved' licence. Standards and tools for data citation are emerging, and in future citation of data may be an important metric for research impact. Waiving your rights means that neither you nor SCU must be credited if data is reused.
If you are required by an archive or repository to use a copyright waiver or public domain dedication, you should find out whether any "community norms" statements can be applied: these will not be legally binding but can signal your wishes to potential reusers, where this is practical.
How to Licence Research Data (Digital Curation Centre, UK)
Copyright, Data, and Licensing (Australian National Data Service)
AusGOAL (Australian National Data Service)
Creative Commons Australia (website)
Seek advice from Research@SCU.
Destroying data securely
When the required retention period has come to an end, you may need to destroy data to meet ethical requirements or because you determine the data no longer has any value.
The destruction process must be irreversible, meaning that there is no reasonable risk that any information may be recovered later. You must take extra care when dealing with records that contain sensitive information.
Print materials should be shredded and pulped. For non-sensitive materials, office shredders can be used. For sensitive materials, order a confidential waste bin through Facilities.
Data in digital formats must be processed so the information is irretrievable. These processes can include 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).
Seek advice from the Corporate Records Unit if required.
Exit planning - what to do when you leave SCU
You must not remove master copies of any working data that belongs to the University or to a third party with which the University has an agreement. The University's IP policy allows you to take a copy for teaching and research purposes; if you intend to use the data for other purposes (e.g. commercial), this should be agreed in writing with the Head of School or Research Centre.
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.
Copies of completed data that you have deposited in ePublications@SCU can remain in the care of the University. They will continue to be found and cited using the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) assigned to the collection at the time of publishing.
You must remove from University systems any working data that belongs to you. On leaving SCU, it is your responsibility to ensure this data is stored and managed correctly, that the privacy and confidentiality of the data is kept intact, and that the data is deposited or disposed of appropriately at the end of the retention period.