RDM regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements

Copyright and licensing

Intellectual Property (IP)

The outcome of research work is IP and generally, as governed by legislation, intellectual property rights (IPRs) created by University employees are owned by the University and not by the individual who created them. For copyright and intellectual property issues, the University of Sheffield has produced a guidance document on IP and how it affects your research.
If you are using other data sources, check the conditions under which you can use and re-use the data. If you are creating your own data, consider the intellectual property rights of all the stakeholders, such as research partners and collaborators, research funders, and the University of Sheffield. See the University Copyright pages for further information.

Data licensing

Whatever form of publishing is used, research data needs to be licensed to indicate what users may or may not do with the data. Licenses or waivers are granted by the IPR holder of the data, so this will need to be established from the outset. Various forms of license exist, ranging from standard Creative Commons licenses to bespoke restrictive licenses. Data repositories will indicate what licenses are available for the data they house. More information is available from the DCC – ‘How to license research data’.

Ethics & data protection

Ethics approval and consent

Creating a data management plan will enhance your research planning and also help you to navigate ethics and governance requirements. The University of Sheffield Ethics Policy Governing Research Involving Human Participants, Personal Data and Human Tissue stresses the importance of ensuring that research is conducted ethically and with the minimum possible risk to all those involved or affected by it.
It is important to remember that personal or sensitive data may not be suitable for sharing with other researchers, depending on whether informed consent has been obtained from participants. The UK Data Archive has an authoritative and comprehensive guide on consent, confidentiality and ethics.

Data protection issues

The Data Protection Act (DPA) gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them, and provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly. All researchers must adhere to data protection requirements when sharing or managing research data. The Data Protection Act (DPA) applies only to personal or sensitive personal data, and not to all research data in general, nor to anonymised data.
Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS) provide detailed guidance on issues relating to this complex legislation:-

Commercial confidentiality

If you have obtained data from a commercial partner, or licensed it from a provider, it may be subject to a confidentiality agreement or collaboration agreement which will prevent you from sharing the data and place restrictions on how you are permitted to use it. If this is the case you should already have been made aware, but if you’re in any doubt check with your supervisor or contact Research & Innovation Services’ contracts helpline.
If you are negotiating a new contract, you should consider the following:

  • A robust data management plan will help show your prospective collaborators exactly how you will safeguard their confidential information
  • If the research is to result in publications, ensure you consider how the underlying data might be made available to readers
FOI requests As the university is a publicly funded organisation, any recorded information held, including research data, may be subject to FOI request for access. If you have objections to the release of your data on the grounds of confidentiality or any other exception, you will need to contact the FOI Unit. University of Sheffield provides staff guidance on the FOI Act. There is more information about FOI requests from the JISC and the DCC.

For further information, please contact rdm@sheffield.ac.uk