Accurate and appropriate research records are an essential component of any research project, comprising the evidence necessary to evaluate research results and to reconstruct the events and processes leading to them. Research data are an increasingly important and expensive output of the scholarly research process, across all disciplines. All research requires some level of data management before, during, and subsequent to the active research period.
Research data and Yale’s mission
Proper management of research data aligns with Yale’s mission, goals, and key principles. As part of its core mission, “Yale is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice.” The University deems appropriate stewardship of research data as fundamental to both high-quality research and academic integrity and therefore seeks to attain the highest standards in the management of research data.
We take our mission to do good in the world very seriously. The free exchange of ideas is a core principle and that includes data.
–Steve Girvin, deputy provost for research and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, December 2016; Yale News
Research data management is a shared responsibility
Both the University and Yale researchers have responsibilities and rights with respect to research data. Researchers make decisions every day about data in the course of their work, including what data to use, how to analyze it, who to share it with, and how to report about it. Yale researchers have a responsibility to record, collect, manage, retain, and share research data and materials according to legal requirements, Yale policy, and the terms and conditions of sponsored awards.
Yale has an obligation to ensure that its resources are used appropriately and that research conducted at Yale meets standards of integrity imposed by law and Yale policy. Yale also has rights and obligations regarding the dissemination and commercialization of knowledge resulting from research conducted with Yale resources. Federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation among others, have expectations of grantees for providing public access to research data and materials, notably policies for data sharing, management and public accessibility to published results.
About the research data policy
This policy is designed to put in place a structure that ensures that, with respect to research data and materials, the interests of all parties are protected, including Principal Investigators, members of the research team, research participants, the University, and funding sources. The policy clarifies the University’s position on research data retention, access, transfer, and ownership. The policy complements existing Yale policies and the Faculty Handbook.
Guidance about research data management
Principles & Guidance: This document aims to assist Yale researchers in fulfilling their obligations and to minimize the inherent burden associated with research data management. It points to principles to consider as research data policies are developed at Yale and should be read in conjunction with these policies. It reflects the current state of data management and will be updated over time as conditions evolve.
Support for research data at Yale
Managing research data is complex. Research data management is described as concerning, “the organisation of data, from its entry to the research cycle through to the dissemination and archiving of valuable results. It aims to ensure reliable verification of results, and permits new and innovative research built on existing information.” Yale University provides policies and guidelines, services and infrastructure, and education and training to help researchers achieve their research goals and espouse best practices in research data management. See Yale research data resources.