3.12 Collection and retention of data

3.12.1 Organisations and researchers should comply with all legal, ethical, funding body and organisational requirements for the collection, use and storage of data, especially personal data, where particular attention should be paid to the requirements of data protection legislation. They should also maintain confidentiality where undertakings have been made to third parties or to protect intellectual property rights. Organisations and researchers should ensure that research data relating to publications is available for discussion with other researchers, subject to any existing agreements on confidentiality.

3.12.2 Data should be kept intact for any legally specified period and otherwise for three years at least, subject to any legal, ethical or other requirements, from the end of the project. It should be kept in a form that would enable retrieval by a third party, subject to limitations imposed by legislation and general principles of confidentiality.

3.12.3 Organisations and researchers should comply with any subject-specific requirements for the retention of data; for example, certain disciplines, such as health and biomedicine, may require research data to be retained for a considerably longer period.

3.12.4 If research data is to be deleted or destroyed, either because its agreed period of retention has expired or for legal or ethical reasons, it should be done so in accordance with all legal, ethical, research funder and organisational requirements and with particular concern for confidentiality and security.

3.12.5 Organisations should have in place procedures, resources (including physical space) and administrative support to assist researchers in the accurate and efficient collection of data and its storage in a secure and accessible form.

3.12.6 Researchers should consider how data will be gathered, analysed and managed, and how and in what form relevant data will eventually be made available to others, at an early stage of the design of the project.

3.12.7 Researchers should collect data accurately, efficiently and according to the agreed design of the research project, and ensure that it is stored in a secure and accessible form.