Research Data Governance

The Research Data Management Steering Committee has developed a new Research Data Governance & Materials Handling Policy, which is now live. The policy is supported by the Research - Handling Research Material & Data Procedure.

This policy applies to everyone involved in research at UNSW including researchers, research trainees, staff and consultants. It outlines the requirements, roles and responsibilities associated with access, retrieval, storage, disposal and backup of UNSW research data and materials, as well as best practice measures to enable compliance with these requirements.

This policy was developed in close consultation with the research community and under the guidance of the Research Data Management Steering Committee.

For researchers, this new policy replaces the Data Governance Policy and now incorporates policy guidance on the handling of research materials. 

Data Classification & Data Handling

The University's Data Classification Standard and Data Handling Guideline are also available online. 

What is Research data?

Research data are the original sources or materials created, generated or collated in the conduct of research. They can be found in digital or non-digital form. The response to a particular research question is based on the analysis of the research data.

Examples of Research data

Research data takes many forms, including the examples listed below. More detailed examples of Reseach data are provided in the Research Data Governance & Materials Handling Policy.

  • Any data generated in the conduct of research
  • Clinical records, test results, protein or genetic sequences, slides, artefacts, specimens, samples
  • Numeric or graphic results
  • Surveys and questionnaires, responses, transcripts and codebooks
  • Database contents (video, audio, text, images), curated data from other research projects, and collections of digital objects acquired and generated during the process of research
  • Documents and spreadsheets, references stored in management software (e.g. Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote), as well as annotated bibliographies and readings
  • Methodologies, workflows, models, algorithms and scripts, standard operating procedures and protocols
  • Audiotapes, videotapes, photographs, films, images or visualisations.

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.


Why researchers need to know about Data Governance

Research data are a strategic asset of UNSW, which makes the appropriate governance regarding management and use of research data critical to the University’s operations. Data governance involves creating and implementing rules to protect and get the most benefit from data. Lack of data governance could expose the University to unwanted risks and may lead to improper management of UNSW assets.

Research data and materials allow research findings to be validated and have long-term value as a potential resource for future research and teaching. Good practice in research data governance and materials handling benefits the wider research community by enabling future researchers to publish, share, cite and reuse the research data and materials by reducing the risk of data loss and corruption.

Research Data Governance Framework

Research data governance at UNSW is based on a framework developed to enable all University personnel engaged in research to manage their data consistently and in line with best practice

Research Data Governance Framework

Research Data Governance Policies

The Research data governance policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards listed below provide researchers with the University's rules for controlling the integrity, security, quality, and use of research data during its lifecycle.

They 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 contacts

For all research data management matters, please email or visit the RDM webpage.

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: