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Research data management

A library guide that addresses FAIR principles, policies and ethics, data planning, storing, and sharing data.

RMIT and National guidelines

RMIT policies and procedures

RMIT University researchers are required to comply with the following policies and processes for managing research data:

National codes and statements

RMIT University requires all research to be carried out in accordance with Australian guidelines. In addition, funding bodies within Australia have developed data-sharing requirements:

ARC and NHRMC Grants

The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) require research data management plans as part of the application process for grants and fellowships. For information on ARC and NHMRC funding schemes:

Ethical collection, storage and usage of data

If you plan to carry out research with people, their information or their tissue then you need to have human ethics approval before you start to collect data or recruit participants.

The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) advises on issues to consider when dealing with sensitive data. Some of these are:

  • If you plan to share the data, make sure you get informed consent for this from the research participants.
  • Protect people's identities by anonymising data where needed. 
  • Consider controlling access to the data.
  • Apply for an appropriate license if needed. 

Privacy and research data

Privacy is a component of ethical research practice.  Privacy legislation provides a set of principles which guides the responsible collection and handling of personal information by organisations, including RMIT University.

Ownership of research data

Ownership of research data can be difficult to determine when the research involves multiple researchers, externally sourced data, funding or contractual agreements. There are factors that influence the ownership of data.

The University – data created whilst employed at RMIT will be owned by RMIT as per RMIT’s IP Policy.

External body, university, or funding body – data created where a contract or agreement has been signed. The terms of the contractual agreement are crucial here. The agreement will contain an Intellectual Property (IP) clause that will detail who owns the intellectual property as a result of the research. Generally, it is the resulting IP (final output) that will be owned by the funding partner. Check the contract to see who owns IP.

Externally sourced data – you didn’t create the data it was sourced from a third party. The data will be owned by a third party. If the data is not clearly licensed under an open license such as Creative Commons, written permission of the owner of the data will be required.

Need help with determining ownership of research data, email: