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.
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 Research Data Management Planning (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
The Research Data Management Planning (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.
The RDMP can help you plan your project or activity. It should be completed for each project or activity and kept with the project data and records. It contains the minimum considerations necessary for responsible data and materials management.
The RDMP should be updated if substantial changes occur and upon project completion.
Longterm data retention
Planning for appropriate longterm 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 longterm retention. The Research Data Management Planning (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
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.
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:
Read our Making Data Available Guidelines that help researchers in complying with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the overarching VU Research Integrity Policy.