Michigan Tech shall ensure that all research data are made accessible to the public to the broadest extent possible in compliance with all policy, contractual, legal, and regulatory obligations, and therefore all Research Data shall be managed as such.
This policy supports Michigan Tech’s research data principles and describes the rights and responsibilities of individual researchers and Michigan Tech in the use, retention, maintenance, and sharing of research data.
Research data shall be recorded, maintained, retained, used, protected, and shared in accordance with State and federal regulations and with Michigan Tech policies and procedures. In cases where a conflict or discrepancy exists between this policy and requirements of federal or State of Michigan laws, regulations, or guidance, the federal or state requirements shall take precedence.
This policy applies to all individuals involved in research at Michigan Tech, including personnel (faculty and staff) and students, and includes all research data resulting from:
- Activities within the scope of employment of an individual on payroll or otherwise within the scope of compensated duties by individuals receiving other forms of financial compensation from Michigan Tech.
- Research activities conducted within the scope of:
- an external agreement such as a sponsored research agreement;
- an employee's research duties;
- a graduate student's dissertation, thesis, or report topic; or
- any institutional funding including but not limited to those from public, private, or internal sources.
- The use of Michigan Tech equipment, hardware, or software.
Research data, by definition, practice, and intent, is a Michigan Tech asset and must be managed as such to ensure full compliance with all applicable requirements for public accessibility. It requires consideration in terms of its ownership, access, sharing, and retention as follows.
Ownership of Data
OMB Uniform Guidance, Section 200.315(a) provides guidance on ownership and use of intangible property, including research data. Michigan Tech applies this guidance to all research data. Therefore, title to research data vests in Michigan Tech immediately upon its acquisition. Michigan Tech must use research data for any originally authorized purpose as outlined in any funding agreement sponsoring the research, and must not restrict access to the research data in conflict with applicable regulations or contractual requirements.
Access to Data
Data Sharing Requirements
Under the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum entitled “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” (dated February 22, 2013), the Federal Government requires that ”to the greatest extent and with the fewest restraints possible … the direct results of federally-funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry and the scientific community. Such results include peer-reviewed publications and digital data.”
Federal agencies have promulgated policies under the OSTP guidance. Michigan Tech complies with all applicable agency policies, and makes research data available as broadly as possible while also providing protection to data collected or acquired in the planning or conduct of research that is specifically restricted or controlled under federal laws and regulations (e.g., export controlled data, protected health information, or FERPA-protected personally identifiable information).
Access to research data, and to data related to research but not yet incorporated in a peer-reviewed publication, may be granted to other individuals (i.e., those working on the project as well as others) by the Principal Investigator only, as they are responsible for the data management and stewardship. The PI is responsible for informing all data recipients of any limitations or restrictions on the use or dissemination of the data. Recipients are subject to all applicable policies and procedures, state and federal laws, and contractual obligations relevant to the data that they are provided from the PI. The sharing of research data with external collaborators or researchers as part of the normal scientific or scholarly process of conducting research may require other agreements, such as the data use agreement for protected information or material transfer agreements to protect intellectual property rights.
In addition to the sharing of research data that supports published research results, Michigan Tech also engages in sharing of research data in the context of ongoing research collaboration. Such collaborations may be facilitated through the use of public or controlled data repositories. The PI shall exercise caution when publishing data to repositories to:
- Ensure that no data released is under contractual, regulatory, or policy restrictions; and
- Ensure that no data are released to a repository or system that does not provide adequate security, as required under Michigan Tech’s Policy 1.09 Information Security Compliance.
Michigan Tech’s library provides access to public data archiving through its institutional repository, currently Digital Commons at Michigan Tech. Refer to Michigan Tech’s Policies for Data for guidance on preparation and submission of data to the open access institutional repository. When Michigan Tech research data is to be archived in discipline-specific or other public data repositories, metadata directing users to such data may be included in the Michigan Tech open access institutional repository as a means of fulfilling data sharing requirements.
Retention of Data
Research data must be retained in accordance with 2 CFR 200.333 for federally funded research (i.e., a minimum of three years after the submission of the final expenditure report in most cases) or, for non-federally funded research, for a minimum of three years after the completion of the research project under which it was gathered. Longer retention of data may be required under additional circumstances, such as but not limited to the following:
- Conditions of the project sponsor,
- Program income transactions,
- Protection of intellectual property,
- Student involvement (research Data must be retained at least until the degree is awarded or until it is clear that the student has abandoned the work), and
- Charges, audits, claims, or litigations regarding research, such as allegations of scientific misconduct, non-compliance, fraud, or abuse. In these circumstances, research data and underlying data gathered in the conduct of research that is the subject of investigation is often required to be retained for seven years after proceedings adjudicating such charge, audit, claim, or litigation have resulted in full resolution and final action. Consult the General Counsel and the Vice President for Research Offices for specific retention requirements when audit, investigations or legal proceedings incorporate research data.
Retention requirements must be compliant with any data restrictions, as outlined in the Data Restrictions section below.
If public access to research data is required by the sponsor as set forth in the Data Sharing Requirements section above, Michigan Tech is responsible for providing such access unless the research study is transferred to another entity, as set forth in Transfer of Research Data Associated with a Transferred Contract or Grant Section below. Therefore, the research data must remain at Michigan Tech under the management of an investigator designated to be the data steward.
Legal and Regulatory Access
To ensure needed and appropriate access—for example, to facilitate response to an allegation of research misconduct—Michigan Tech policies and procedures provide for sequestration of records and research data under the authority of the Vice President for Research.
In some instances, a research sponsor has a legal right of access or access may be requested through the sponsor under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Such requests will be coordinated through General Counsel, in its capacity as Michigan Tech’s FOIA officer.
Michigan Tech is subject to regulatory requirements that affect the acquisition and protection of data associated with research and other operations. Among federal regulations and policies that affect Michigan Tech’s treatment of data are the following:
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 45 CFR Part 160 and Part 164, Subparts A, C & E, controls the use and release of Electronic Private Health Information (e-PHI) and impacts research carried out by, or in collaboration with Michigan Tech.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 34 CFR Part 99 and the associated Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) protects an individual’s educational records and controls the information that can be gathered and released concerning students in US educational institutions. FERPA and PPRA impacts research carried out with students in K-12 and institutions of higher education.
- Export control regulations are contained in the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR 730-774) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR 120-130). These regulations are overseen by the Department of Commerce and the Department of State, respectively. The goal of export control regulations is to prevent the sharing of technological items information that has been identified as posing potential threats to US national interests with foreign nationals. Data that is export controlled should never be shared publicly, but data resulting from work conducted within the requirements of the Fundamental Research exemption of US Export Control regulations may be released. Investigators must coordinate with Michigan Tech’s export control officers when conducting research involving export controls.
- Federal agency restrictions are sometimes placed on release of information or technology developed under federal funding. Such data are sometimes referred to as Sensitive or Controlled Unclassified Information in federal funding instruments. The Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) has primary responsibility for negotiating the terms of federal agreements, and seeks to limit Michigan Tech’s liability related to data restrictions. Investigators should coordinate with the SPO when they identify restrictions on Michigan Tech’s ability to freely publish its research findings.
Transfer of Research Data Associated with a Transferred Contract or Grant
Research data and preliminary data collected or acquired in the conduct of research at Michigan Tech must be retained at Michigan Tech, except as set forth below, when the PI leaves the University. When an investigator at Michigan Tech leaves the University, the investigator may take copies of research data and other data associated with the research when the individual’s participation in the design, conduct, or reporting of the associated project can be established, and with permission from that individual's supervisor and the PI.
When a PI leaves Michigan Tech, their supervisor shall determine who will take responsibility for the stewardship and management of the original research data.
Related Policy Information
Assistant Vice President for Government Sponsored Programs, 906-487-2226
Assistant Vice President for Industry Sponsored Programs, 906-487-2228
Scholarly Communications and Repositories Librarian, 906-487-1814
Van Pelt and Opie Library
- Principal Investigator shall be an investigator who has primary responsibility within Michigan Tech for the design, conduct, and reporting of research.
- Investigator under this policy shall mean all individuals involved in research at Michigan Tech within the scope of this policy.
- Research shall be understood to encompass all those activities carried out by investigators within their respective role statements, employment assignments, or courses of study, which are designed to increase knowledge or improve upon human inventions.
- Research data shall be as defined in the Uniform Guidance, 200.315(e)(3)(i) and 200.315(e)(3)(ii), and shall mean:
- “The recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: Preliminary analysis, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues. This ‘recorded’ material excludes physical objects (e.g., laboratory samples). Research data also do not include:
- “Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law: and
- “Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study.” Though the above Uniform Guidance definition focuses on the “scientific community”, Michigan Tech implements this more broadly across our academic community encompassing any Investigator engaged in Research, as defined above.
- Intangible Property, as defined in 2 CFR 200.59 shall mean “property having no physical existence, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents and patent applications and property, such as loans, notes and other debt instruments, lease agreements, stock and other instruments of property ownership,” and includes research data in accordance with 2 CFR 200.315(e)(3).
- Scholarly Communications and Collections Director, J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library—receive, deposit and describe relevant research data sets or links in a timely fashion.
- Sponsored Programs—communicate requirements to the PI and library staff.
- Principal Investigator—has the authority and responsibility for primary stewardship of research data and
all data associated with the conduct of research under their supervision on behalf
of Michigan Tech. In this role, they are responsible for the data management to meet
the requirements of this policy as well as best practices in their discipline by:
- Designing and implementing data acquisition processes that will support the conduct and reporting of research
- Implementing data management systems that accommodate any applicable data security, protection or restriction requirements
- Ensuring compliance with program and sponsor requirements
- Archiving data appropriately, in accordance with Michigan Tech’s procedures
- Ensuring proper management and retention of data in accordance with this and other Michigan Tech policies
- Establishing and maintaining appropriate procedures for the protection of restricted data and other essential data and records
- Complying with federal and state laws and regulation
- Terms of deposit and/or licensing with Michigan Tech’s Open Access Institutional Repository
If the PI is incapacitated, that individual’s supervisor will take custody of the research data and initiate steps to make other suitable arrangements for alternate custody of the data as necessary.
In support of this policy, the following procedures are included:
- Data Management Workflow
- Data Management Plan (DMP)
Thanks to Utah State University for inspiring the format and data policy presentation.
Adopted: 10/19/2020. Approved by Vice President for Research.