Maintaining comprehensive data, materials and records for each research project or activity is essential to the integrity of research.
It is also a requirement under the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. All research data, materials and records must be safely and securely stored during each project.
Procedures & guidelines
The following procedures and guidelines assist researchers in complying with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the overarching VU Research Integrity Policy.
Data retention period
Data, materials and records must be kept for a defined retention period beyond the completion of the project. This is to ensure that outcomes can be validated and justified.
The minimum retention period is normally five (5) years. Other obligations are listed on the final page of the Victoria University (VU) Research Data Managment Planning (RDMP) form (Word format of the RDMP form).
At the expiration of the retention period the data and materials should be re-evaluated and considered for further retention at VU or elsewhere.
Research data management planning
VU has developed a Research Data Managment Planning (RDMP) form, which should be completed for each project or activity and retained together with the project data and records.
The RDMP is a tool that can help you plan your project or activity. It contains the minimum considerations necessary for responsible data and materials management.
The RDMP form should be kept and updated if substantial changes occur and upon project completion. Completed forms should be submitted to the research office by email to eResearch@vu.edu.au.
The RDMP form is the primary mechanism for VU researchers to document and inform the University of responsibilities, storage locations, retention periods, and other requirements relating to data and materials.
Long-term data retention
Planning for appropriate long-term storage locations is the foundation of data and materials management. Storage must have appropriate security measures in place (e.g. locked filing cabinet, password protected storage, key access).
Appropriate safety measures must also be in place, for example ensuring the data is safe from damage, deterioration or accidental loss by keeping backups and imperishable copies or records.
Data, materials and records should be retained in a college or central university facility that is recommended for long-term retention. The RDMP form explains how and where data and materials can be accessed by the University or college if needed.
R: Drive – VU's digital data store
The R: drive (research data storage) has been established for the safe storage and retention of digital data, files and records. All VU researchers and research students have free access to the R: drive.
R: drive folders are automatically backed-up and password protected. They are accessible from any VU computer or from off campus (via VPN), and allow files/records to be shared within your project or with supervisors.
To access the R: drive from off campus you will need to set up access to the Virtual Private Network (VPN). Instructions for downloading, installing and connecting to the VPN is available in the ITS Knowledgebase Base (requires VU login when off campus).
Your research contributes to your field and to your communities. You should consider promoting some of your data or collections for wider access by publishing your data directly, or contributing your data to a managed repository, archive or other organisation. These can include:
- VU special collections
- Research Data Australia
- discipline repositories such as those listed with re3data.org.
- Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
- VU's Research Integrity Policy
- Research Data Managment Planning (RDMP) form (Word format of the RDMP form)
- VU's eResearch support page for data services
- Australian National Data Service (ANDS)
- Australian Government's Open Access and Licensing framework (AusGoAL)
For assistance with research data management at VU contact: