Please see the following frequently asked questions that were raised during the input period associated with the proposed research data policy. The final policy will be released later in 2022..
For information about the Research Data Initiative, please see our main webpage.
Broadly speaking, the new research data policy is designed to help all research personnel at Duke University adopt the best practices regarding managing research data. The benefits of these practices include attaining confidence that research outputs and results are reproducible, research data and outputs are properly secured and retained, and that the impact of the research is increased by the appropriate sharing of data.
Importantly, new data management requirements are increasingly being released by various funding agencies, and the new policy is designed, in part, to respond to those and position Duke research personnel and research support staff to meet these coming requirements.
No. Like Duke, many of our peer institutions are adapting policies to reflect the evolving expectations for managing and sharing data.
Yes. The proposed policies would govern the conduct of individuals interacting with research data and research outputs, regardless of funding.
Prior to disseminating research data or outputs, such as for an application for external funding, we recommend that researchers ensure that a DMP exists that establishes the provenance of research data, verifies that the research data is sufficiently stored, and that they have retained information necessary to allow for others within their scholarly community to reproduce results.
The retention of research data is important to substantiate research outputs that have been shared with the public. While data retention is a critical responsibility of all who conduct research, and would ideally be retained in perpetuity, a balance must be struck between the storage and sharing of data and the costs of doing so. The six-year retention period aligns with the standard set by the Institutional Review Board and the Research Misconduct policy.
The research data you retain should be enough to validate and/or reproduce your research project per the best practices of your discipline.
No. The new policy will set an expectation for the length of the retention period. Researchers should determine the appropriate storage location for their research data and outputs in consultation with institutional research support offices and according to the standards of their discipline. For more information on different storage options please see: https://secureit.duke.edu.
Researchers should typically follow the retention periods required by agreements. If the agreements stipulate the retention period is shorter than 6 years, but allows for longer (i.e., they do not have maximum sharing periods or data destruction requirements) then the researcher should adhere to Duke’s 6-year retention period.
It depends on many factors. In cases where any/all of the following apply, the answer is likely yes:
- There are contractual or regulatory obligations over the research data
- The trainees’ research project was funded by a third party/ies,
- Human subjects’ data were involved
- The trainee or mentor plans to use that research data for future research projects
- The research data was disseminated (or is planned to be disseminated) in some form such as publication, research poster presentation or other types of public dissemination
In cases where none of these factors apply, the mentor should ask the trainee if they wish to transfer the research data when they leave the institution (regulatory and contractual obligations around the data permitting). If the trainee declines to request a Data Transfer Agreement for the research data, the mentor is then able to choose whether to retain the trainee’s research data and outputs.
By assuming ownership of research data generated with University resources, Duke is also assuming the role of primary research data steward. The responsibilities of ownership fall to the University, including these key areas: 1) ensuring access to adequate resources for the storage and maintenance of research data and outputs; 2) responding to questions or inquiries into the provenance of or conduct related to research data and outputs; and 3) ensuring that access to and dissemination of research data and outputs is provided according to laws, policies and the standards of academic disciplines.
Yes. Duke University’s policy on Research Data Ownership is in line with its peer institutions. For references, see the links below to policies regarding research data ownership at peer institutions:
In general, Duke is not claiming ownership over data that was collected, generated, or created by entities outside of the University. And in cases of collaboration, shared ownership may be articulated in an agreement or contract. Note that such contracts and agreement must be reviewed and signed by institutional signing officials.
Assuming that the appropriate consulting agreements are in place, and the work is done accordingly, Duke would not have a claim of ownership of any work provided to the private company. Please note that consulting arrangements outside of your regular duties at Duke require that Duke resources or facilities are not used for the work. Faculty should refer to the following policy on Faculty Consulting Agreements and note the restrictions around research and intellectual property.
As with any collaboration, understandings of ownership, stewardship and data use should be resolved during negotiations over the research agreements executed by all parties, including Duke.
As with any research collaboration, understandings of ownership, stewardship and data use should be addressed and resolved during negotiations over the research agreements executed by all parties, including Duke.
A public dataset in its original form is not owned by Duke. However, if a researcher conducts any significant modifications to the data set or generates new research data or outputs from these modifications, it may represent a novel creation that would fall under Duke’s ownership.
As with any collaboration, the understanding of ownership should be addressed prior to the execution of a research agreement. Please note, research agreements – including Data Use Agreements –must be reviewed and signed by institutional signing officials.
Ownership of the datasets provided by the subscription service would likely be defined in the agreement between the subscription service and Duke University.
No. These agreements should be executed between the third-party entity and Duke University. As such, individual faculty/staff members cannot sign agreements on behalf of Duke. Only institutional signing officials can sign agreements on behalf of Duke.
The Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and the Duke University Libraries Center for Data and Visualization Sciences can assist the researcher or Principal Investigator in ensuring that a consent form includes appropriate language regarding treatment and sharing of data while guaranteeing confidentiality. Please note that it is common practice for a consent form to mention that data may be viewed by members of the research team, as well as others (Duke officials or sponsors) if required.