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Research Data Management Policy

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Section 1 - Overview and Scope

(1) This Policy outlines the requirements, roles, and responsibilities for Research Data Management (RDM) at the University of New England (UNE).

(2) This Policy covers the integrity, security, quality, and usage requirements of research data and primary materials at UNE in compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) (The Code), Management of Data and Information in Research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2019), and the UNE Code of Conduct for Research Rule.

(3) This Policy applies to:

  1. UNE Representatives, HDR Candidates, students, and affiliates who carry out research at or under the auspices of UNE; and
  2. all research data which is used or generated at UNE or during UNE affiliated research. This includes, but is not limited to:
    1. primary materials;
    2. metadata;
    3. research notes; and
    4. other associated documents and records.

(4) Within this policy:

  1. Part A - states the principles of this policy;
  2. Part B – requirements for research data management;  
  3. Part C – covers requirements for research data governance; and 
  4. Part D – covers data ownership.

(5) This policy should be read in conjunction with UNE’s Research Data Management Guidelines, Intellectual Property Policy, Collaborative Research Rule, and Open Access to UNE Research Publications and Data Policy and Procedures.

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Section 2 -  Policy

Part A - Policy principles

(6) Principle 1 – RDM at UNE observes the highest possible standards of responsible conduct of research by:

  1. supporting open and reproducible research;
  2. promoting a strong, responsible research culture; and
  3. meeting its responsibilities to the research community and the public.

(7) Principle 2 – RDM at UNE is conducted in a way which:

  1. is ethical; 
  2. demonstrates intellectual honesty;
  3. expects researchers to act with rigour, integrity and care in research data management;
  4. protects the rights, dignity, health, safety and privacy of individual research participants and the wider community;
  5. follows FAIR principles of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) of being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable; and
  6. Indigenous research data supports Indigenous data sovereignty by following the CARE principles of the ARDC of:
    1. Collective benefits; 
    2. Authority to control; 
    3. Responsibility; and
    4. Ethics.

Part B -  Research Data Management (RDM)

RDM Planning

(8) Researchers must be aware of their obligations for research data management in accordance with Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) (the Code).

(9) Researchers must develop a research data management plan (RDMP) at the beginning of their research project and must consider the following:

  1. a schedule for ongoing revision; 
  2. where their plan will be stored (e.g. RUNE or archive data); and
  3. whether a RDMP is required as part of their funding agreement with external funding agencies. 

(10) Research data management plans of HDR Candidates must be stored in cloud.UNE and approved by their Principal Supervisor.

Metadata and documentation

(11) Metadata and documentation must accompany the research data for as long as it is retained, and should be updated as necessary as noted in the Research Data Management Guidelines.


(12) Research data must only be collected in compliance with the Code of Conduct for Research Rule.

(13) Where the collection of data for research involves humans or animals it must be approved by the appropriate UNE research ethics committee.

(14) Research data that can be used to identify an individual, species, object, process or location that introduces a risk of discrimination, harm or unwanted attention must comply with practices specified by legislation, funding bodies, ethics approval processes, patent law, regulatory requirements and discipline conventions.


(15) In accordance with the Code, agreements regarding the storage of research data and materials must be developed from the outset of a research project, including those involving more than one institution.

(16) Research data must be stored in long-term storage after the completion of the active research phase.

(17) Research data must be stored on and backed up to data infrastructures sanctioned by UNE.

(18) The University will provide facilities or access to facilities for the safe and secure storage of research data and for maintaining records of where research data are stored. This includes the research data of undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students.

(19) Research data, including all relevant records, must be retained in a format and period of time that is consistent with legislative, ethical, and contractual requirements. Detailed information on the appropriate retention timeframes can be found in the Research Data Management Guidelines and relevant legislation.

(20) Research data must be stored both locally and centrally where possible and documented in the research repository.

(21) Research data unable to be stored centrally (e.g. third party research data) should also be documented in the research repository.

(22) Individual researchers should hold secure copies of research data for their own use.

(23) If data is published in an external repository, a record of this must be stored in RUNE.


(24) Archived datasets must have a persistent identifier that enables future retrieval of the item.

(25) Research data and research 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.

(26) Sufficient data must be retained to justify the outcomes of research.


(27) The disposal of research data must not occur prior to the expiration of the appropriate retention period as identified in the Research Data Management Guidelines or prior to the resolution of any challenge to the results of the research, whichever is the longer period.

(28) The disposal of research data must comply with legislative, ethical, confidentiality, contractual and UNE policy requirements.

(29) 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. 

Access Management Controls

(30) Research data must be made available for use by other researchers for further research subject to legal, contractual, confidentiality, copyright, and ethical considerations.

(31) Research data must be maintained securely to prevent unauthorised access, destruction, alteration or removal, accidental or intended damage.

(32) Researchers must be aware of any relevant contractual and/or confidentiality agreements and the restrictions on the use of research data, including but not limited to transfer of data, storage, and access.

(33) Where researchers have to place restrictions on access to research data in accordance with this Policy and its related procedures, they are encouraged to make the data as findable as possible.

(34) The research repository must include information to enable identification of any restrictions on access to research data.

(35) Researchers given approved access to confidential research data must maintain confidentiality.

Use of Pre-existing Research Data

(36) Researchers using pre-existing research data must be aware that it may also include licencing, ethical and copyright considerations, documentation of and adherence to the terms and conditions of data access, and appropriate acknowledgement of pre-existing data.

(37) Data derivatives are considered research data and must comply with the research data management policy.

Sharing of Research Data for Re-Use

(38) Research data should be re-used when it offers significant social and economic benefit, where appropriate.

(39) When sharing data for the purposes of engaging in research, researchers must consider: 

  1. compliance with any formal agreement in place with a funding body, ethics approval requirements, or research partner;
  2. compliance with the principles, in line with the Privacy Policy;
  3. the security of the platform used to share the data; and
  4. any intellectual property or licencing implications. 

(40) Researchers must consider the requirements of funding bodies, such as the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council, which have open access policies describing their requirements for sharing of research outputs and open access to research data.

Data Breaches

(41) The policy and procedures UNE uses to investigate and manage potential data breaches are outlined in Privacy Management Rule - Annexure 1 - Data Breach Policy and the Procedures for managing potential breaches of research conduct.

Part C - Research Data Governance

(42) This Policy, along with the Code of Conduct for Research Rule, forms part of the UNE governance framework for research data management, and outlines the requirements, roles and responsibilities associated with planning, creation, access, retrieval, storage and disposal of University data and materials.

(43) The Research Committee and Graduate Research Committee oversee the direction and implementation of research data management across the University. 

Stewardship and Control

(44) The ownership, stewardship and control of research data must be addressed in the research data management plan and in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy with respect to the rights of individuals who have provided the data.

(45) When a researcher is no longer employed or enrolled at UNE:

  1. the Director Research Services and the Head of School are responsible for managing archived research data, including its retention period and disposal requirements;  
  2. original data and materials remain at UNE unless a written agreement has been reached with the researcher’s new organisation covering ownership, use, storage and disposal of research data and materials;
  3. University-owned research data must remain within the University's centrally supported storage. Research data and materials identified as not owned by the University may be removed from the University's centrally supported storage by the outgoing researcher;
  4. and a researcher continues to be involved in the research, they may take a copy of the relevant research data for use in that project;
  5. researchers or the delegate in point 1 above must move data from cloud.UNE to archive or RUNE. 

(46) The Principal Supervisor of a HDR Candidate or graduate is responsible for managing archived research data, including its retention period and disposal requirements in alignment with the supervisor checklist.

(47) UNE may hold data or information resulting from participation and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. In this situation, UNE must engage in proper consultation with the Indigenous owners of the data and information.

Part D -  Data Ownership

(48) The ownership of research data for researchers and students is addressed in the University’s Intellectual Property Policy.

(49) Where a research project involves collaboration outside UNE, an agreement must be reached at the outset of the project that covers the management, custodianship, storage, retention and disposal of the data at each institution, following the University’s Collaborative Research Rule.

(50) If a researcher moves from UNE, research materials and data must remain at UNE unless there is a written agreement established between the researcher and UNE. 

(51) Data may be transferred to a nationally controlled inter-institutional database to facilitate collaborative research across institutions. A metadata record of this data must be submitted to RUNE. 

(52) With respect to the ownership of data used or generated by research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, data governance must reflect the considerations of  the NHMRC’s Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders and AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research.

(53) In general, the University and its researchers may hold data used or generated by research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, but must not make decisions about the access to or re-use of this data or information without proper consultation with its Indigenous owners, if any.

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Section 3 - Authority and Compliance


(54) The Vice- Chancellor & CEO pursuant to Section 29 of the University of New England Act 1993 (NSW), makes this University policy.

(55) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research is authorised to make procedures and processes for the effective implementation and operation of this policy, and to publish as associated documents any tool that will assist with compliance.

(56) Policy Administrator for this policy is the Director Governance and University Secretary, who is authorised to make minor administrative updates to this policy.


(57) UNE Representatives and anyone outlined in the policy scope must observe this policy in relation to Research Data Management. Non-compliance may be a breach of the Code of Conduct and may be addressed under the disciplinary provisions of the relevant Enterprise Agreement. For students, non-compliance may be addressed under the Student Behavioural Misconduct Rules or the HDR – Higher Degree Research Student Responsible Research Conduct Policy.

(58) This policy is consistent with relevant legislation and regulations including:

  1. Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018)
  2. State Records Act 1998: General Retention and Disposal Authority.
  3. Australian Privacy Principles GuidelinesPrivacy Act 1988.
  4. Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders.

(59) This policy operates as and from the Effective Date. Previous policy on Management and Storage of Research Data and Materials are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date.

(60) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this policy, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to this policy where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of this policy would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome.  Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.

Table 1 Summary of Compliance Roles and Responsibilities

Role Responsibility
Head of School
Coordinates the retention and disposal of research data and primary materials for staff who are no longer at UNE from the school.
Director Research Services Coordinates the retention and disposal of research data and primary materials for staff who are no longer at UNE and are not staff members of a school.
The Principal Investigator of a research project is responsible for ensuring that data and materials are managed correctly, and appropriate records are maintained for that project.
Submit and maintain a research data management plan to cloud.UNE in accordance with the Research Data Management Guidelines/Procedures.
Retaining clear and accurate records of their research protocols, methods and research data sources.
Managing research data in compliance with ethical protocols and agreements, relevant University Policies, Procedures and Guidelines and relevant contractual and legislative obligations.
Ensuring that research data and research materials are deposited in a Working Data Storage, as soon as possible after creation, even when not in current use.
Coordinate the retention and disposal of research data and primary materials.
Create and maintain records of physical materials.
Provide a data snapshot, dataset or a record of data to RUNE upon project completion.
Report any known data breech.
HDR Supervisors
Review and approve the research data management plan for students research projects and ensure it is submitted to cloud.UNE. 
Ensuring that research  students are inducted and aware of their obligations relating to research data management, with reference to the relevant discipline(s) and specialisation(s).
Ensure research data management plans and research data are forwarded to the appropriate units for storage and retention.
Coordinate the retention and disposal of research data and primary materials for HDR Candidates who are no longer at UNE as the primary supervisor.
Maintains knowledge of research data management obligations.
Higher Degree by Research Candidates
Completion and approval of Research Data Management Plan in agreement with supervisor and submission to cloud.une.
Deposit research data and records associated documents to RUNE upon completion of candidature.
Report any known data breech.
Library Services
Maintenance of University repository and related software databases. This includes provision of open and/or controlled access to metadata records.
Describing and providing access to the University’s collection of research datasets.
Providing training and support relating to research data management.
Provides relevant training in best practice research data management, including training in the effective use of cloud.une.
Maintains the templates for the research data management plans.
Supporting researchers to access existing research data.
Support researchers to make data as FAIR as possible.
Providing support to researchers relating to research data storage.
Provide security systems, access and support for archival research data.
Technology and Digital Services (TDS)
Provision maintenance and testing of research data management storage infrastructure including security for active research.
Providing infrastructure necessary and appropriate for the safe and secure storage of research data, research materials and records in accordance with state and commonwealth legislation and the university policies and procedures.
Complete the process of disposal of research data where advised.
Provide ad hoc provision of research data storage solutions for projects with special requirements.
With direction from the Research Director, TDS may retrieve or dispose of the archived item where the University has intellectual property ownership, and irrespective of whether the research dataset has been published.
Research Services
Provision of ongoing training and education that promotes responsible research conduct.
Ensures research data management plans are recorded in the Records Management System (RMS) when related to funding.
Ensures that the template for the RDMP is compliant with the Code.
Ensure research supervisors, including supervisors of research higher degree students have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources for their roles and responsibilities in relation to research data management.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Overarching responsibility for the integrity assurance and regulatory requirements relating to the University’s Research Activities, including the research data management policy.
Overarching responsibility for the assurance of adherence to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Higher Education Standards requirement to follow the NHMRC guide for the responsible conduct of research.
Monitoring and assessment of the policy and its effectiveness vai annual reporting to the research committee and the academic board.
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Section 4 - Quality Assurance

(61) The DVC-R will regularly monitor and report to the VC & CEO on the operation of, and compliance with, this policy.

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Section 5 - Definitions (specific to this policy)

(62) ‘Active research data’ – Research data files that are in the process of continuous change and/or development. Files containing this data are accessed, amended and/or updated as new data is gathered and/or processed. Some datasets may never be ‘finished’. A ‘snapshot’ of active research data can be archived to create a version that is fixed and can be cited.

(63) ‘Code’ – the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

(64) ‘Data derivative’ – Data that results from a transformation, alteration, rearrangement, imputation or any modification of an existing dataset(s) . This data is based primarily on an existing dataset(s), but transformed enough to be considered new knowledge. For example, extracting, correcting, inferencing model generation, annotation, restructuring and analysis can all create derived data.

(65) ‘Dataset’ – a structured collection of information usually associated with a unique body of work.

(66) ‘Metadata’ – information that describes key attributes of a dataset, but not the content itself.

(67) ‘Research Data’ – means information collected, generated or used in research. This includes but is not limited to data in the form of facts, observations, images, computer program results, surveys, recordings, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory, test or hypothesis, or another research output is based. Data may be numerical, textual, descriptive, visual or tactile and includes artefacts. It may be raw, learned or processed, and may be held in any format or media. Research data is collected or created, not authored.

(68) ‘Research Data Management’ (RDM) – all the processes and actions required to manage and curate data throughout the research life-cycle to enable it to be preserved and accessible by a controlled audience for current and future research. It may include: data organisation; backups; archiving data for long-term preservation; data sharing or publishing; ensuring security of confidential data; and data synchronisation and disposal.

(69) ‘Research Materials’ – primary materials which are the physical objects such as biological samples, mineral samples, survey questionnaires, measurements, recordings, texts, and computer notes, from which research data may be derived.