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Module 3: Conducting Research Responsibly - Protecting Yourself, Your Research, and Your University

4.3 Research data ownership

Ownership may be influenced by the funding or contractual arrangements of specific research projects. As part of your overall project management, you must ensure that ownership of research data is identified and documented at the start of a research project and reviewed and updated whenever appropriate. This is particularly important for cross-institutional research projects. You should work with your research legal or contracts area to understand the arrangements in place regarding ownership of data you generate during the course of a research project.

Staff and students may have different ownership rights regarding data produced in the course of research. You should refer to your relevant university policy on data ownership for more information. Australian copyright law may also govern certain types of data you generate, so seek advice from your research legal or contracts area for a greater understanding of this in relation to your work.

Aside from who actually ‘owns’ the data, researchers commonly enquire who has the right to use the data generated in the course of the research. Are you able to take the data you generated with you if you leave the university? Are research students able to take the data they generated during the course of their study with them when they finish their studies? To help you answer these questions, you should refer to your relevant university policy on data ownership for more information.

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