Does copyright apply to research data? How can researchers protect the intellectual work they have put into the research process?

The University cedes copyright on scholarly works to the authors in the Copyright policy. Generally, there is no copyright in data, because copyright attaches to words, pictures, etc. that contain inherent creativity and directly embody the thoughts of the author. So the creator of the data may be entitled to authorship, and to copyright ownership, in articles describing the substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. Data, in contrast, are themselves noncreative, but their collection is often the result of a creative intellectual process. They are controlled by contract or regulation. The process itself might be protectable by patent and written descriptions of the process are protected by copyright.

Research Data Policy subcategories: 
Data and Rights