Research Data Governance

What is Research data?

Research data are the original sources or material that have been created, generated or collated in the conduct of research. They can be digital or non-digital. The response to a particular research question is based on the analysis of the research data. Research data includes but is not limited to the following:


  • Any data which is generated in the conduct of research
  • Methodologies and workflows
  • Clinical records of treatments and test results
  • Models, algorithms, scripts
  • Annotated bibliographies and readings
  • Photographs, films
  • Records of interviews in the form of notes, audio or video recordings
  • Protein or genetic sequences
  • Notes, audiotapes, videotapes, including those collected during interviews or by other means
  • Questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
  • Collection of digital objects acquired and generated during the process of research
  • References stored in management software (e.g. Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote)
  • Contents of an application (e.g. input, output, logfiles for analysis software, simulation software, schemas)
  • Responses to surveys or questionnaires
  • Curated data from other research projects
  • Numerical or graphic results obtained as the output of simulations, modelling or any other software or as the result of analysis of experimental results
  • Database contents (video, audio, text, images)
  • Any other recorded data that is of significance to research undertaken by the university's researchers.
  • Design portfolios, mock-ups
  • Slides, artefacts, specimens, samples
  • Documentation of a research journey
  • Spectra
  • Documents (text, Word), spreadsheets
  • Standard operating procedures and protocols
  • Drafts of music scores
  • Survey responses
  • Experimental results and the contents of laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries
  • Test responses
  • Human/animal materials (e.g. Slides, artefacts, specimens, samples)
  • Any other source or primary materials, in particular where these may be necessary to validate research results
  • Images or visualisations
  • Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law
  • Metadata
  • Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study

The following are not considered to be research data and as such are covered by the University’s Institutional Data Governance Policy:

  • Administrative data – which consists of data such as payroll, student enrolments, research management, etc. This kind of data is subject to the University’s Data Governance Policy.
  • Learning and Teaching data – which consists of data relating to students who are studying at UNSW and their progress in their courses. It includes data which is stored in Learning Management Systems and related solutions that are part of the teaching function of the University.
  • Research publications.
  • Research management systems – including but not limited to Info Ed, F1 Ethics, GRIS, BORIS.
  • Library management systems – including but not limited to Research Outputs System (ROS) and UNSWorks.


Research Data Governance

Research data is a strategic asset of UNSW and the appropriate governance for management and use of research data is critical to the University’s operations. Lack of governance could expose the University to unwanted risks and may lead to improper management of a UNSW asset.

Research data is a valuable resource. It validates research findings and has long term value as a potential resource for future research and teaching. Good practice in research data governance benefits the wider research community and enhances the public value of research by enabling the data publication, sharing and citation, reusability of research data for future researchers, and reducing the risk of data loss and corruption.

Research Data Governance Policies

The Research Data Governance policies are a collection of principles that describe the rules to control the integrity, security, quality, and usage of research data during its lifecycle.

These policies define the roles and responsibilities of University research staff, contractors, consultants, internal and external parties in relation to data access, retrieval, storage, disposal, and backup of University research data.

Research Data Governance Framework

The framework enables UNSW personnel who are engaged in research to manage research data consistently and in line with best practice.

Research Data Governance Framework to support a pragmatic and sustainable governance structure for research data across the University. The Framework will establish policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards to be applied across UNSW.

Research Data Governance Framework

Research Contacts

Contact the Research Division here.

If you have queries about Research Integrity please go here.

The UNSW Researcher Development Unit is also available to assist you with any queries regarding research training and development.

ANDS, RDS, Nectar Merged website: