Research requires the collection of thousands of pieces of data, produced in multiple forms, and collected and stored over years. That collection needs to be secure and accessible at every stage of the research process. During research, it is never too late or too early to address most aspects of research data management. However, it is best to plan for data management before starting your project to avoid problems later.

Before you start gives an overview of what you need to consider for managing your research data, even before starting your project. 

  • During research has the next steps for storing, securing and analysing your research data during the project
  • Ongoing looks at sharing and re-using your research data once your project is completed

4. Ethics and research data management

Ethics and data management are an integral part of good governance in research.

When applying for ethics approval consider your responsibilities to research data according to:

Researchers should explain the processes used to protect research participants, including the steps taken to ensure anonymity of data. 

If you will be sharing or re-using your project's data in the future, ensure you have appropriate consent and ethics approval. In some cases sharing sensitive or confidential data may not be appropriate, in which case details of any restrictions to data sharing should be explained. 

Ethics and Data Sharing by Australian National Data Service (ANDS) provides more information.

Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) 

The UQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) accepts applications for ethics clearance using the NHMRC's Human Research Ethics Application.

Be clear on how you plan to manage your project's data, as Part 3 of the application relates directly to research data management and privacy.  Before you apply for ethics clearance consider:

  • Does your funder or journal require sharing or re-use of data?
  • Do you have appropriate consent for the future use of data in research?
  • Does your data management plan ensure data is collected and maintained in accordance with relevant security standards?
  • Are adequate data governance processes in place?
  • Can you protect the confidentiality of the data and meet the requirements of the  CTH Privacy Act 1988?
  • Will the data be non-identifiable and how will this be managed? Will it impact on re-use of the data in the future?
  • Does your storage plan meet the requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research?
  • Does you data management plan meet the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies?

You can contact the UQ Research Integrity Office for more information on successfully managing data in an ethical way.

If you are a member of a Human Research Ethics Application Committee (HREAC), refer to the ANDS Guide on Data Sharing Considerations for HRECs.

Next steps

During research covers storing, securing and analysing research data during your project