Group of Eight Australia
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Module 8: Project Closeout

2.5 Acquittal of confidential information

Confidentiality is an important consideration in many research projects. Some confidentiality requirements may be specified in the agreement with the granting body; others may derive from institutional or departmental policies. Good research project management involves creating awareness of, discussing, as necessary enforcing, and finding suitable strategies for implementing, confidentiality requirements throughout the life of a project. Then at the end of the project it is important that each project staff member is made aware of which components of project information are subject to ongoing confidentiality provisions. There should be policies in each department that outline these procedures and they must be strictly applied.

The non-disclosure provisions of research project contracts and agreements may have lengthy expiry timeframes, and may bind researchers to confidentiality for a lengthy time, often extending well beyond the official end date of the project.

The chief investigator has to ensure that all confidential information received by or created through the project is handled in an appropriate manner in accordance with the deed of agreement, the requirements of the university and the law. Information includes paper copies of documents, videos, images, sound files and any electronic files and any copies thereof. Note that all types of information are typically covered by confidentiality agreements, not just formal or official records; personal emails, meeting calendars, notes of phone calls etc. are also included.

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