Data Management and Retention

man looking at laptop

The Principal Investigator is the custodian of research data and is responsible for the collection, management, and retention of research data. Research data must be retained in sufficient detail and for an adequate period of time to enable appropriate responses to questions about accuracy, authenticity, primacy and compliance with laws and regulations governing the conduct of the research.

The importance of data management and sharing cannot be understated. An appropriately developed data management plan ensures:

  • Integrity of research - Research data, including detailed experimental protocols, all primary data, and procedures of reduction and analysis, are the essential components of scientific progress. Integrity requires meticulous attention to the acquisition and maintenance of research data. Questions about the integrity of the research are often answered by inspecting and reanalyzing the primary data. Planning ahead for data sharing provides for verification of results and potential extension of the research. Planning ahead for data dissemination allows distribution of the data to a broader audience.

  • Intellectual property protection - Research data are legal documents for the purpose of establishing patent rights. Legal challenges to inventorship often require producing the original data with recorded dates. Proprietary issues can also drive data access and sharing practices.

  • Ensuring confidentiality - Sponsors and/or the university may want data to be kept confidential for proprietary or security reasons. Regulations to protect human subjects may require data to be kept confidential. Confidentiality concerns will dictate how data is collected, retained and shared.

Compliance with sponsor's requirements - Requirements can include how long data should be kept, with whom data can be shared, and who has rights to the data.

Research Repositories and Stored Data

  • A key component of research data management plans is the archiving of data, samples and other research products, and the preservation of access to them. UTech Research Computing and Infrastructure can help Principal Investigators identify the requirements that must be satisfied by any data storage solution for data created as part of the data management and data sharing plans.

Research Data Repository Requirements

  • University Policy on Collection and Retention of Research Data -- Faculty Handbook, pp. 83-85.

  • External funding agencies will each have different requirements regarding storage, retention, and availability of research data. Information regarding each agency should be gathered from the agencies themselves. Visit our Funding Resources page for common agency links.

HIPAA and Repository Security

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security rule requires that everyone with access to electronic personal health information (ePHI) implement safeguards to protect against inappropriate and unauthorized access to patient health data. As stipulated in HIPAA rules and regulations:

    • Protect all ePHI created, received, maintained, or transmitted.

    • Ensure that patient data is safeguarded against potential hacking and unauthorized access.

    • Partner with HIPAA experts at CWRU to ensure compliance with the requirements of the HIPAA Security Rule.

    • Any data sharing solution involving ePHI would fall under the HIPAA Security Rule.

Research Data Repository security

  • As creator of the data, the researcher owns the copyright to it. The copyright holder determines access and reuse of the data.

  • It is a best practice to create a rights statement explaining what use others may make of your data.

  • Consider a repository that allows an embargo of your data.

    • For a set period of time, only metadata about your data will appear

    • An embargo note will indicate that the data is not currently available for re-use.

    • Permits awareness of your data, so that others will not duplicate your work.

    • Allows peers to contact you about your data and its availability.

Research Data Repository Options

  • Principal Investigators at CWRU can utilize UTech data storage solutions such as Box for data created under your data management and data sharing plans.

  • Use an existing discipline-specific database, data repository, data enclave, or archive store and disseminate the data. See the Data Repositories List below for additional options.

  • Use the open-access services of professional societies and journals that publish the results of research.

    • The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has a depository for material that is supplementary to papers appearing in journals published by or through AIP. Appropriate items for deposit include data tables.

  • Use existing institutional solutions or “cloud” storage.

  • Within the CWRU infrastructure, storage can be arranged on Digital Case, the CWRU Google Docs, CWRU Box, CWRU OSF, or as an add-on to existing accounts already using network storage. Note: There may be some administrative/account maintenance fees in addition to physical storage fees. Costs should be properly accounted for in the grant proposal budget.

How can I get information about Data Repositories and Data Management?

  • Contact with any questions regarding Data Repositories and Data Management and their potential uses in faculty research. RCCI staff will assist to the best of our ability.

Where can I find more information about UTech Research Computing and the HPC?

In addition to the Additional HPC Information section below, please view our Research Computing Brochure.

Questions regarding the management of research data should be addressed to the Associate Vice President for Research.