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The University of California issued a Research Data Policy, effective July 15, 2022, that clarified "the Regents of the University of California owns Research Data generated or collected in the course of University Research, and exercises this responsibility to support research, collaboration, public dissemination of information, and to meet its responsibility under sponsored research awards and other research agreements." Ownership of Research Data by the University of California is a longstanding precept originally articulated in Regulation 4 (Academic Personnel Manual 020).
- Defines Research Data as recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry, regardless of the form or media in which they may be recorded. Research Data does not include:
- "Scholarly and Aesthetic Works" defined under the University of California's Copyright Ownership Policy;
- Informal notes, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, and communications with colleagues that do not include recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry;
- Administrative records incidental to award administration such as financial records, contract and grant records, or records related to institutional reviews and approvals; and
- Patient source documents and medical records created in the course of clinical care.
- Identifies Principal Investigators as the primary stewards of Research Data. Research Data will be retained by the Principal Investigator of a research project. However, the University may take custody of Research Data under certain circumstances, such as where necessary to perform any investigations associated with allegations of research misconduct, litigation, or to ensure continuity of research.
- Assigns responsibility for the interpretation, implementation, and oversight of the Policy to the Vice Chancellor for Research.
For more information, visit FAQs about UC's Research Data Policy.
Principal Investigator's Responsibilities
When Conducting Research
When University Researchers Leave UC Merced
When Research Project is Completed
Research Data Procedures
Outgoing Research Data
When Researchers (other than the Principal Investigator) involved in a University research project leave UC Merced, they may take copies of the Research Data that they generated or collected during their University Research, subject to approval by the Principal Investigator and any applicable sponsor requirements. Since the ownership of the Research Data remains with UC Merced and Principal Investigators continue to be the primary stewards, Researchers must contact the OTIIR to initiate a Data Transfer and Use Agreement before taking copies of the Research Data.
When a Principal Investigator leaves UC Merced and a University Research project is to be moved to another institution, the ownership of Research Data may be transferred or licensed to the new institution. Contact OTIIR to start the process.
Incoming Research Data
Contact the Sponsored Project Office.
Disposition of Research Data
Principal Investigator should review the "When Research Project Completed" section in the above Principal Investigator's Responsibilities chart and consult the appropriate Research Data Contacts to ensure there are no remaining retention obligations before disposing of the research data.
Data Transfer and Use Agreements
A data transfer and use agreement (DTUA) authorizes the transfer of a data set for specified limited purposes (e.g., conducting human research). DTUA terms typically address intellectual property, publication, confidentiality, etc. In some cases, these data use terms can be incorporated into an existing agreement for the transaction such as a subaward, material transfer agreement, clinical trial agreement, collaboration agreement, etc. Entering into a DTUA is best practices any time UC Merced faculty is granting access and/or transferring UC Merced generated data to a non-UC Merced entity for research purposes. The DTUA will protect the data, ensure they remain under UC Merced ownership, and limit the purpose of how the data are used. If the data contains Protected Health Information (PHI), a DTUA is required.