Data Management Support Material

Managing the research data

Having a basic understanding of how to ensure appropriate stewardship and curation of all data and research materials, including unpublished ones, with secure preservation for a reasonable period of time, is an important aspect of research. Many universities have a digital platform for Data Management. For example, the University of Helsinki has Tuuli and the  University of Sydney has their own system.

You can also make use of this check list to familiarize yourself with the requirements of a data management plan.

Legal requirements

Have basic knowledge and aim to ensure that any contracts or agreements relating to research outputs include equitable and fair provision for the management of their use, ownership, and/or their protection under intellectual property rights, seek legal and/or other guidance.

The research institution will give guidelines on how long the data must be stored, at the same time, personalized data is stored as long as necessary and briefly as possible. The researcher is responsible for the safety of the data and ensures safe and proper destruction of it, when necessary.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into force in the spring of 2018 and changed some aspects of data collection in terms of research. Research has its own special place within the GDRP, however, as you can see from this article.

Access to data

Ensure access to data is as open as possible, as closed as necessary, and where appropriate in line with the FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) for data management within one’s research - it is important to remember that many journals require access to your source data to get published.

Provide transparency about how to access or make use of their data and research materials

Rises one’s awareness on data as legitimate and citable products of research - the owner is the researcher and the researching institution, if the research was conducted as part of a project, the project contract may regulate this.

Consent

When applying for resources the researcher informs all parties involved in research, avoids financing that could compromise the autonomy of the researcher, and adheres to the conditions related to financing and gives information if there are potential contradictions between different conditions. Use the informed consent checklist to make sure your consent letter includes all the required elements. The procedure for getting an informed consent could be as follows:

  1. Clarify the fundamentals of the research to the participants

  2. Get consent, preferably in writing

  3. Explain how the research data is protected

  4. Assure the participants that the research is confidential

  5. Eliminate/minimise risks

  6. Assure voluntary participation and the right to withdraw

  7. Debriefing - explain again on what’s about to happen

The GDPR allows institutions to collect data for research purposes without consent, and in some cases it is even allowed to transfer personal data to third countries. The reasoning behind this is that the GDRP is not aimed to prohibit, but rather encourage innovation, assuming the party collecting the data also takes the required measures to safeguard the data.