Research Data Management Overview

All researchers produce data, whether ‘traditional’ numbers in graphs and tables, or primary research materials such as manuscripts, text, interview transcripts, or videos. Along with the research code of conduct, federal and state regulations, UNSW has a number of policies and procedures which govern how researchers should manage their data.

If you require any help with how to manage, store and handle your data, please email us at: To create a Research Data Management Plan for your project, you can use our new ResToolkit System. 

***Addressing the Data Management Section in your ARC Grant Application***

The Management of Data section asks applicants to outline plans for the management of data produced as a result of the proposed research, including but not limited to storage, access, and re-use arrangements. ANDS (now ARDC) has a guide to filling in the data management section for ARC applications

To address this area, as a minimum, you should consider the following:

Why is good data management important?

What's in it for you?

Effective data management underpins top level aims of good stewardship of public resources and responsible communication of research results.

Storing the right data in the right place protects staff, teaching and research work, and both the University’s and your reputation. Failing to do so may mean re-creating documents, redoing experiments, paying to repeat procedures, hours of tedious administrative clean-up and searching through multiple backup tapes, or even retracting a published paper.

Data management policies, standards and procedures

UNSW Data Management Policies and Procedures

UNSW researchers (Staff/HDRs) must store, handle and manage their research data in accordance to:

Funding, Publication, and Compliance

UNSW researchers must also comply with data management requirements from funding bodies, publishers, and other organisations. Funding agencies increasingly require applicants to outline their data management plans (for data derived from the project) within the grant application. 


"The ARC does not require that full, detailed data management plans be submitted for assessment, but from 2020 will require that such plans are in place prior to the commencement of the project."

Research Data Management Plans (RDMP)

At UNSW, you can create an RDMP using ResToolkit 

Data management roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities for UNSW research data?

Data & Information Governance website has assigned various roles and responsibilities based on how they interact with data.

‘Research Data Owners: are typically Heads of Schools, Heads of Research Institutes, Chief Investigators or Principal Investigators and are accountable for ensuring effective local protocols are in place to guide the appropriate use of their data and materials’,

‘Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are the data owner for their research data in respect of their HDR enrolment’.

Data ownership and IP/copyright ownership are can be separate (or the same, depending on the project). Therefore it is important to clarify this at the start of a project. More information on IP and copyright is addressed in the sections below.

What does this mean?

UNSW's primary responsibility is to ensure the maintenance of and access to research data and materials to meet in accordance with any ethical, legal, regulatory requirements. As a researcher, you should ensure the original research data and primary materials are retained by the university (on a UNSW supported platform) subject to any additional contractual, statutory, ethical, or funding body requirements.

For Group leaders, Researchers, Supervisors, and HDR students, it is crucial to ensure your (or your staff/student's) research data is properly archived and accessible. A good way to achieve this is storing the data on a UNSW supported platform prior to you (or your staff/student) graduating/leaving UNSW. You are permitted to retain a copy of said research data for future use, subject to any contractual, statutory, ethical, or funding body requirements.

It is important to reiterate that the ownership of the IP and future reuse of the research data is subject to UNSW IP Policy and agreements in place. which you should clarify and document at the START of a project (i.e. not when you or your staff/student are leaving).

Intellectual Property (IP) and Copyright ownership

Intellectual property (IP) relates to the property of your mind or intellect such as knowledge, discoveries, and inventions. It can include rights in respect of inventions, copyright, trademarks, designs, patents, plant breeder’s rights, circuit layouts, know-how, trade secrets, industrial designs, reports, publications, literary and artistic works.


IP ownership for UNSW Staff  

For Staff, the UNSW IP policy states fairly clearly how IP ownership is asserted

Except as otherwise agreed in writing by the President and Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise, or as stated in this Policy, the University asserts legal and beneficial ownership rights over all IP and to ensure that such ownership rights vest in the University Staff must assign to the University all IP

For affiliate institutions, and/or projects with external partners (universities or industry), it is often good to clarify any IP questions before you begin the project. 


IP ownership for Postgraduate Research Students 

For postgraduate research students, UNSW IP Policy states how IP ownership is asserted. ARC@UNSW also provides a good overview of how this may apply to your PhD research.

As stated in the policy: 

The University does not assert ownership of IP created by Students unless the IP:

  1. consists of teaching materials; and/or
  2. (has been separately assigned to UNSW under a specific agreement with the Student; and/or
  3. has been jointly developed with University Staff and the Student is deemed to be a co-Creator; and/or
  4. is the subject of an existing agreement between The University and with a 3rd party (usually associated with industry-sponsored research programs). 

It is important to establish IP ownership at the beginning of a project. For many postgraduate research students, it is particularly crucial to clarify:

  • what constitutes your postgraduate research project?
  • what is a side project which may be led by your supervisor or another staff member and you are contributing into?, and/or
  • for students who are also employed as staff (e.g. as a casual), whether the project you are working on is as part of your staff duties?


Copyright and research data

ANDS FAQ for research data licensing and copyright and/or Research Data Rights Management guide

Sharing, and licensing research data

Sharing data

The ability of data to be effectively reused depends on good data management practices.

If you intend to share your data or are collaborating with other researchers, it is useful to think about the following before you go ahead:

  • How the dataset will be used
  • How access to the dataset will be protected to ensure it is secure – who can access and under what conditions?
  • How the integrity of the dataset will be maintained (so that the contents are not modified, altered or amended)
  • How to safeguard the data from being shared to any third party without your consent
  • How the data transfer will be managed

For more information, you might want to take a look at the Data & Information Governance website, which provides links to the UNSW Data Sharing Agreement form and the UNSW External Data Sharing Agreement form (Note: Data Gov is currently working on data sharing info specific to research). 


Data can be made more "reuseable" when it is properly licensed. Attaching a license can also help protect your work. Unless otherwise stated, materials deposited in the UNSW Open Access institutional repository, UNSWorks, are protected by the Copyright Act 1968 and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND).

Your Outreach Librarian would be able to advise on licensing matters.

The library's UNSWorks institutional repository webpage also provides details around the different kinds of licenses available when depositing materials into the UNSW Open Access institutional repository, UNSWorks. 



RDM@UNSW has a brand new main page full of up to date info, tools, and training to help you manage your research data



For general inquiries regarding the research data management, storage or retention, please contact us at:


For technical support and information contact the UNSW IT Service Centre (9385 1333)

Data Governance

For information on policies, standards, procedures, guidelines, and frameworks on governance, management, and use of data at UNSW please visit Data & Information Governance at UNSW or contact:

IP and Copyright

For assistance with IP and Copyright issues, visit the UNSW Library Copyright page or contact Library Research Support.