Policy for Research Data Management (RDM) at the TU Wien

The TU Wien sees itself as playing an important role in the expansion of knowledge and technology transfer of research results. It thus encourages innovation and ultimately benefits economy and society. A key to supporting academic research activities lies in the institution's ability to systematically manage, preserve and make available scientific output from different disciplines for reuse. In its Policy for Research Data Management, the TU Wien affirms the value of research data for research and teaching and the potential of their reuse by society.

The TU Wien recognizes the fundamental importance of research data and the management of research data and records in maintaining quality research and scientific integrity, and is committed to state-of-the-art handling and management of research data. RDM policies are highly valuable to current and future researchers.

The TU Wien acknowledges that correct and easily retrievable research data are the foundation of and integral to research. They are necessary to verify and defend the process and results of research. Research data have a long-term value for research and academia, with the potential for widespread use in society.

This policy for the management of research data applies to all researchers active at the TU Wien. The policy was approved by the Rectorate on 03.07.2018. In cases when research is funded by a third party, any agreements made with that party concerning intellectual property rights (IPR), access rights, exploitation rights and the storage of research data take precedence over this policy.

The TU Wien holds the right to use all data created or processed in the course of research work at the TU Wien for research purposes and commercial exploitation. In cases where a legal entity other than the TU Wien has the primary right of use under a contractual arrangement, the TU Wien shall be granted the rights of use required to ensure compliance with all applicable legal and contractual provisions. In cases where the IPR belong to the TU Wien, the TU Wien has the right to choose how to publish and share the research data.

Research data refer to all information (regardless of form or presentation) needed to support or validate the development, results, observations or findings of research work, including contextual information. Research data include all materials created in the course of academic work, e.g. through digitisation, records, source research, experiments, measurements, surveys and interviews. This includes software and code.

Research data management spans the entire life cycle of the research data: their planning, generation, analysis, evaluation, archiving, publication and eventual reuse by third parties. Besides documenting the research data, RDM includes specifying – and possibly storing – the equipment and software employed in producing them. Metadata should be captured together with the research data during the research process, since they facilitate the identification, interpretation and reuse of research data.

Research data should from the beginning be stored and maintained in appropriate systems and made available for use in a suitable repository (see 6.1. b). Research data must be provided with persistent identifiers within the repository.

It is important to preserve the integrity of research data and to comply with the FAIR principles. Research data must be stored in a correct, complete, unadulterated and reliable manner. They must be findable, identifiable, accessible, traceable, interoperable and whenever possible reusable and replicable.

In compliance with intellectual property rights, and unless third-party rights, legal requirements, Rectorate decisions, other reasonable interests or property laws prohibit it, research data should be assigned an open use license.

Citation norms and requirements regarding publication and future research should be followed; data sources should be explicitly traceable in order for the original sources to be acknowledged.

Research data and records are to be stored and made available in accordance with intellectual property laws or the requirements of third-party funders as well as applicable legal or contractual requirements (e.g. EU restrictions on where identifiable personal data may be stored). Research data that may be of future historical interest and the records accompanying them should also be archived.

The minimum retention period for research data and records is 10 years after either the assignment of a persistent identifier or the publication of a related work following research completion, whichever is later.

In the event that research data and records are to be deleted or destroyed, either after expiration of the required retention period or for legal or ethical reasons, such action is to be carried out only after consideration of all legal and ethical perspectives. The following aspects must be taken into consideration when decisions are made about the retention or destruction of research data: interests and contractual provisions of third-party funders and other stakeholders, employees and partner participants in particular, as well as confidentiality and security. Any decision taken must be documented.

The responsibilities for research data management during and after research lie with the TU Wien and its researchers, who should comply with widely recognized national and international codes for the responsible conduct of research. The TU Wien and its researchers should become aware of their responsibilities as follows.

Researchers are responsible for

  1. Managing research data in adherence with the principles and requirements expressed in this policy; this also includes defining responsibilities for joint research;
  2. Collecting, documenting, storing, archiving, providing access to or ensuring the proper destruction of research data and records;
  3. Completing and updating data management plans (DMPs)8 that explicitly define the approach to matters of research data collection, administration, integrity, confidentiality, storage, use and publication;
  4. Ensuring compliance with
  5. Registering new research at the proposal stage in the TISS Project Database in order to ensure appropriate institutional support.

The TU Wien is responsible for

  1. Providing the means and resources for research support, ensuring ongoing access to services and infrastructures, and providing employee education and training according to financial possibilities;
  2. Supporting established scientific practices from the beginning through e.g. DMPs, providing training, education and support for researchers in compliance with regulations, third party contracts for research grants, university statutes, codes of conduct and other relevant guidelines; encouraging the integration of good practices of research data management in education to strengthen the research data management expertise of early-stage researchers;
  3. Designing and deploying mechanisms and services for the storage, safekeeping, registration and deposition of research data to support current and future access to research data during and after the completion of research activities;
  4. According to financial possibilities providing information on, or access to, services and infrastructures for the storage, safekeeping and archiving of research data and records, enabling researchers to exercise their responsibilities (as outlined above) and to comply with obligations to third-party funders or other legal entities;
  5. Communicating its commitment to the principles of research ethics and scientific integrity and ensuring their implementation at the TU Wien; raising awareness of the importance of research data management;
  6. Ensuring compatibility of this policy with data protection regulations.

This policy will be reviewed and updated as required by the Rectorate of the TU Wien every three years. In case of legal or regulatory changes, the review of this policy can take place at an earlier point in time.

Research

is any creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

Researchers

are all members of the TU Wien, specifically employees and doctoral candidates, who conduct research. Persons not directly affiliated to the TU Wien who are conducting research on TU Wien premises or using TU Wien facilities are also included in the term. Visiting researchers or collaborators are also expected to comply with the policy.

Third parties

are natural or legal persons, public authorities, institutions or other entities that are not affiliated to the TU Wien.
Research data
refer to all information (regardless of form or presentation) needed to support or validate the development, results, observations or findings of research work, including contextual information. Research data include all materials created in the course of academic work, e.g. through digitisation, records, source research, experiments, measurements, surveys and interviews. This includes software and code. Research data can be classified as
•    raw or primary data: information recorded as notes, images, video footage, paper surveys, computer files etc.,
•    processed data: analyses, descriptions and conclusions in the form of reports or papers, and
•    published data: information distributed to others than those involved in data acquisition and administration.

Metadata

is descriptive or contextual information associated with publications and research data to assist in their identification, location and retrieval by users, while facilitating content and access management. Metadata usually take the form of a structured set of elements.

Persistent identifiers

are identifiers attached to publications and their underlying research data that make them easier to link to and find. They must be unique and remain associated with the correct version of the publication and/or research data. Ideally they provide access to digital objects through a resolver service, as digital object identifiers (DOIs) and handles do.

The FAIR principles

provide a framework to ensure that research data can be effectively reused. FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

Data mangement plans (DMPs)

are living documents that describe how research data will be managed during their life cycle. DMPs should state what research data will be created and how, as well as outlining plans for sharing and preserving them. Any restrictions on access to research data should be noted along with mechanisms to protect unauthorised access. In the event that research data and records are to be deleted or destroyed, the DMP should specify the person(s) responsible for taking and carrying out that decision, the storage location of the deletion process documentation, the person(s) responsible for preserving this documention and the basis of the decision. Ideally, DMPs should be delivered in a machine-actionable format.

Recommendations for open use licensing

The license is selected according to the type of data and in order to label the research data and facilitate their utilization. An example for a source code license would be the GNU General Public License (GPL). For all other kinds of research data, Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licenses can be used. Research data which are not subject to any copyright restrictions should be clearly marked as such with e.g. the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.