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Research Data Management Toolkit

This guide provides information about research data management and the Research Data JCU platform

Introduction: The Ethical and Legal Framework

Research Data Management within Australia should comply with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and needs to take into account any relevant ethical obligations, privacy protocols, and intellectual property rights with respect to the storage and security of research data and associated information. The level of detail in which data can be shared may also be limited by factors such as research ethics, and/or by intellectual property rights and other legal restrictions. This section of the Toolkit explores the relevant legislation and guidelines.

Ethics and Research Integrity

Many research projects will involve collecting data or information about human or animal subjects in a way that might impact on their rights. Before collecting or using the personal information of others in research (e.g. health or social science research), or planning or conducting experimental or other research involving animals or animal populations, JCU researchers must obtain ethical clearance for their projects through a formal application process managed by the Ethics and Integrity office within JCU Connect.

Applications for ethical clearance will be assessed by the teams dedicated to Animal Welfare and Ethics or Human Research Ethics. Research involving First Nations Australians should submit applications through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics unit. There is also a separate process for registering and obtaining ethical clearance for Clinical Trials.

JCU's Ethics and Integrity office reviews all applications for ethical clearance within the framework provided by national guidelines, including those listed below:

For further information, contact JCU Connect's Ethics and Integrity office directly. 

composite image: left infant child with toy; right detail of a clownfish

(Left: photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash.Right: "Emo Clownfish" by  Jayvee F., licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Intellectual Property and Confidentiality

Intellectual property rights at JCU are managed in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure; see the JCU Connect website for further information about intellectual property in research.

Confidentiality of data may be a requirement for projects being developed with industry partners, and/or with commercial applications. Such projects may require the negotiation and enactment of non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, that generally will effect the handling and use of data. See JCU Connect's guide to data and confidentiality for general guidance here. Specific enquiries about data confidentiality in the context of protection and commercialisation of intellectual property should be directed to JCU's commercialisation or contracts teams at


Research involving the use of personal information (information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable) must comply with applicable privacy legislation:

Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) guides Australian institutions and researchers in responsible research practices and promotes research integrity. The Code is a principles-based document, and is supported by a number of other guides on specific topics to encourage responsible research conduct. Supplementary guidance on research data management can be found in the guide to Management of Data and Information in Research (2019). Compliance with the Code is a prerequisite for receipt of National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Research Council funding. For further information on the Code and its requirements, see the following section of this Toolkit.

The JCU Code has specific implications for Research Data Management. Under the Code, the institution undertakes to:

[Responsibility 8:] Provide access to facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference.

while researchers are required to: 

[Responsibility 22:] Retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials. Where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference to these by interested parties.‚Äč

Research Data JCU

Research Data JCU is a research data management platform where JCU researchers can create and maintain data management plans, as well as store and (if appropriate) publish their data. It provides integrated facilities to support all stages of the data management lifecycle, and its use is highly recommended to help ensure compliance with JCU and Australian government requirements for the responsible conduct of research. See the Research Data JCU section of this Toolkit for further information.

'plan' logo from the Research Data JCU platform

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