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Research Data Management

Research Data Management

Data ownership, funder and ethics: Costing RDM, data ownership, intellectual property, funders, data, ethical legislation and GDPR

This will differ depending on the project. Schools or faculties may have various expectations or processes for data ownership from PGR students.

You may be working with external stakeholders/funders where there may already be an agreement as to who owns the data and who has responsibility for collecting/ managing the data. You may also be involved in a project that already has a data management plan with roles for responsibility and ownership defined.

If you are involved with participant data, there are different roles and responsibilities around data in order to comply with GDPR and more information on this can be found in the Ethics pages or via the University's GDPR training.

You will need to make sure you are aware of:

  • Who owns the data resulting from your project
  • ​What you are responsible for in regards to the data
  • Who has overall responsibility for the data
  • What you can or cannot do with the data / access rights after the project. This will affect what you can do with it during and after your involvement with the project, and is of particular importance if your department asks you to sign a data transfer agreement.

Talk to your supervisor or project lead and make sure that this information goes into your data management plan. Make sure that the details about what you can do with the data are explicit enough for your use. E.G. Who can use the data? Who can publish the data? Can you submit the data as part of a peer review process if necessary? Who can share the data with third parties?

Licenses and permissions:

If you are planning to use someone else's data you will need to check what you can do with the data. Check to see if the data has got a license applied to it. For creative works and data the most common type of license is a Creative Commons license, but code or software may be available under an Open Source License.

If there is no description of permissions or license attached to the data, you may need to contact the copyright/data owner to ascertain if you can use it and under what conditions. You will need to factor whatever license or permissions that apply to the data into your plans for dissemination of the work. E.G. If the data is licensed for non-commercial purposes, you may not be able to sell work resulting from it.

Attribution and citation:

You may find information on how the data should be cited from the repository record where the data is located. You may however, wish to use Data Cite's tool to generate a citation in a specific style using the DOI of a dataset.

There is also more information via the Data Curation Centre on what information you would need to place in a citation and the principles behind data citation. As well as being part of good academic practice, there are currently ongoing projects to link data and related works using citation, as well as using citation to examine impact of datasets so citing datasets should lead to tangible benefits for researchers in the near future.

Funders increasingly have requirements around research data and you may be asked to create a data management plan in order to comply with your funder's requirements. The DMPOnline tool keeps templates and examples for different funders, which you can access here.

In additional to planning for data management, many funders now also stipulate how the data should be retained and/or archived after the project. They may have a period of time that the data must be retained for, or require that the data is placed into specific repositories.

You will need to know about the needs of your funder towards the beginning of the project as well as familiarise yourself with the requirements of any named repository, so that you can plan for how to meet these requirements as you carry out your project.

You can use the Sherpa/Juliet tool to check funder data requirements, however you may also wish to then look at the funder's online guidance - links are given in the box below.

If you are using participant data, you will need to apply for Ethical approval and will need to complete GDPR training as a part of this process. It is worth noting that any sort of participant data that you are collecting/handling, including information mined from social media sites and information that has been anonymised, counts as participant data, whether the data will be shared/published or not.

You must also use services that the university has an institutional contract with to process data that falls under GDPR, e.g. data collection forms, transcription services etc. Information on approved suppliers can be found in Sharepoint on the Procurement site.

GDPR does not apply to research in quite the same way as it applies to the general public, and UK Research & Innovation have produced a helpful overview for researchers. Training for PGRs in GDPR can be accessed from here.

This video from the University of Edinburgh also very neatly describes the changing landscape around Research Data, Ethics and Data Sharing. At the end it describes their services around data, for information on University of Plymouth data storage services please contact IT Self Service.

There may also be other ethical concerns around your data. For more information on Ethics and to contact advisors within the university who can advise on Ethics as it refers to your project and data collection/management, please see the University of Plymouth's Ethics Governance pages. This page also includes additional information on certain types of research, such as human tissue, animals or patients.

Ideally, you would consider the costs of Research Data Management within your project proposal/ funding application and apply for it as part of the costs of your research, particularly where your funder requires you to archive/preserve the data. The JISC RDM Toolkit has pages with information on ways to cost for RDM as well as a link to the UK Data Service's tool.

For PGR students however, the main costs they may wish to consider are probably the costs of data storage, specialist software to do with their data and the costs of archiving and/or preserving data. 


Data Storage:

You currently have access to 1TB of storage on your personal OneDrive account, but you can also raise a support request for a Research Site. You can request the amount of TB space required to use the Team Site for collaboration, basic versioning of documents, and some control over access/sharing of files.

However, depending on the amount of data your are collecting, how much data needs to be 'active' at any given point or other specific security needs, One Drive may not be suitable for your data. In this case it may be worth talking to TIS via a service request to find out if a bespoke storage may need to be bought and how this will be procured.

For further information on safe storage of data, please see our RDM page on Storage and Backup.


Archiving/ Preservation:

You can archive/preserve your data using the university's PEARL repository with no additional cost. However, while we can handle as much data in total as you need to deposit, there is a limit on individual file sizes. To find out more, contact Open Research.

If you are depositing using another repository, they should include information on costs within their guidance. Our pages on Selection, Preservation and Sharing has more information on decided what to retain, for how long, and choosing a suitable repository.