Checklist for Departing Researchers - Research Data

It is frequently possible for departing researchers to take copies of research data with them to their new institutions, but such transfers may be subject to limitations imposed by sponsors and data providers. As a reminder, per RPG01, “the University maintains ownership of all data collected from research conducted at the University, under the auspices of the University, or with University resources, subject to restrictions stipulated in University-approved agreements with sponsors and other third parties.” All such data must be retained in accordance with record retention requirements (AD35). Guidance regarding Electronic Data Disposal and Media Sanitization can be found here.

Confidential and Proprietary Information. Data brought into the University via Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and/or Data Use Agreements (DUAs) typically cannot be transferred to the researcher’s new institution. Standard procedure is to certify destruction or return of the data in accordance with the terms of the agreement. If the researcher desires access to such data at his or her new institution, the researcher should ask the data provider to enter into appropriate agreements with his or her new institution.

Human Subjects Data. It may be possible to transfer copies of human subjects data to the researcher’s new institution (including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI)), but such transfers must be approved by the Office for Research Protections and the University Privacy Officer, as appropriate, to ensure compliance with applicable Federal regulations and IRB-approved protocols and informed consent forms. Such transfers must be subject to an appropriate Data Transfer Agreement that contractually binds the new institution to any compliance requirements. See RP07 for additional guidance.

Foreign transfers. In addition to the above requirements for data transfer, transfers of technical data to foreign institutions may constitute an export. Such transfers should be reviewed by the University Export Compliance Officer (ADG09).

Other data transfers. It is generally considered acceptable to copy other research data for use at the researcher’s new institution, as long as such dissemination is consistent with the terms and conditions of any grants or contracts under which the data was generated. Questions regarding contractual requirements should be directed to OSP.

Note: At the College of Medicine, please contact the Office of Research Affairs for additional guidance. At all other locations, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs for assistance with Non-Disclosure Agreement, the Office for Research Protections for guidance regarding human subjects data, and the Office of Technology Management for assistance with Data Transfer Agreements.