Opening or destroying the data

In the data management plan, you describe at this point

1) What do you intend to do with your data after the thesis is completed? If you destroy the data, how do you do it securely?

Related to the FAIR principles of Accessible and Re-usable.

When you are thinking about what will happen to your data after your thesis, you can start by going through this checklist. The topics listed are described in more detail on this page.

  • Do you dispose of the data, when and how?
  • If you plan to publish the data, where and when?
    • Estimate the time needed for this and whether the data requires changes.
    • Is there anything restricting the post? For example, if the data contains personal data, it cannot usually be published.
    • What have you promised your research subjects in this regard when you informed them of the research at the time?
  • If you use data produced by someone else or in a research project, what have you agreed on storing it after completing your thesis? Does it form its own independent entity to which you have rights?

Student data can be opened in the university's publication archive JYX. The Open Science Centre publishes well-organised and managed data in JYX that do not contain personal data.

Destruction of research data

If opening, publishing or archiving your research data is not possible or sensible, the data will be destroyed. If postgraduate research using the same data is not in your plans and the data is not suitable for publication, thesis data is usually destroyed. Remember that the data must never fall into the hands of outsiders, but must be disposed of in a secure manner.

Before disposal, check with your thesis supervisor how long the research data in your subject must be stored for the purpose of reviewing the thesis and results.

  • If your data contains special categories of personal data or sensitive, confidential information:
    • The most secure way to erase files is to overwrite. You can think of overwriting as a kind of technical paper shredder that destroys data.
    • Overwriting means that a file or storage medium is filled several times with random data, after which the original files can no longer be recovered.
    • There are separate programs for overwriting, e.g.: Eraser
  • If your data does not contain special categories of personal data or sensitive, confidential information:
    • On the U drive, the data is moved to the trash and the trash is emptied. Even if your U drive stops working after graduation, data should not be left on the U drive.
    • Data stored in the university's Office365 programs will also be deleted.
    • Overwriting can also be used as a safe method of destroying data in these situations.
  • If for some reason you have saved data on your own personal computer or work computer, overwrite.
  • Paper data are taken to a recycling box for confidential papers, from where they end up in a shredder; not in a regular paper collection box or bin!
    • Many of the university's buildings have dark grey bins for this purpose (Sulo bins).
  • Recoverable media (e.g. tape recorders) will be erased, overwriting if possible, before recovery.
  • Disposable storage media are emptied, overwritten if possible, and placed in a locked confidential data recycling bin.
    • You can find these green locked bins (Sulo bins) at the janitorial points of the university's various buildings.

Opening the data

Student data can be opened in the university's publication archive JYX. The Open Science Centre publishes well-organised and managed data in JYX that do not contain personal data.

Discuss with your supervisor whether it is possible and sensible to open your data for reuse: 1) Is the data anonymous? 2) If your data is anonymous, make a valuation with your supervisor to consider whether the data has research, historical or cultural reuse value so that it can be published in JYX.

Valuation criteria:

  • How unique a phenomenon does the data document, i.e. is it tied to a moment in time and the setting cannot be repeated?
  • How cumbersome would it be to produce the data again compared to releasing it for reuse, such as a photographic collection of architectural sites threatened with demolition?
  • Have you documented and described the data accurately enough for someone else to interpret and use it?

Opening the data is done simply by filling in the form

Based on the form, the course or thesis supervisor is asked to approve the publication of the data and do an assessment of its quality. Before publication, the metadata of the data is reviewed at the Open Science Centre and the usability and comprehensibility of the data are assessed. According to the supervisors' assessment, the data are divided into data suitable for theses and data suitable for scientific research.

The opening of the data should be planned. For example, you cannot decide to publish data at the end of the thesis process if the data protection notice has informed the research participants that the data will not be published.

The guiding principle for opening the data can be considered the phrase responsible science:

"As open as possible, as closed as necessary."

When making your decision, please note that opening research data enables their further use. In doing so, you promote the objectives of open science and implement the key values of scientific research.

Do you have the right to publish the data?

  • The opening of the data can be prevented, for example, if the data contains personal data. The opening of the data is planned before the data is collected, for example by conducting the survey anonymously, if possible.
  • If you are able to anonymise the data, opening may be considered. Plans to open the data must be communicated to research participants in the privacy notice.

Also consider:

  • Do you use existing data produced by someone else, and what rights do you have to process it after completing your thesis?
  • Have you made an agreement with a research group or company that the data may not be published?

Please do not confuse the publication of the thesis with the publication of the data. At this point, we are talking specifically about the publication of data, not the publication of a thesis.

Different forms of opening, publishing, and archiving

Opening, publishing and archiving data mean slightly different things. Please note that if you keep the data for some time after completing the thesis and then delete it when you leave the university, it is not opening or archiving.

Opening and publishing can mean the same thing. Opening means that the data is permanently available either to everyone openly or behind limited access against permission, for example in JYX or FSD.

  • The published data is available to everyone: for example, it can be downloaded from JYX.
  • However, the data may also be partially open or open only in terms of metadata.
  • It is possible that JYX has information about some research data, even though the data itself cannot be opened or made available for further use.
  • Publishing metadata tells others that someone has researched the topic in question. This is important, for example, for a researcher who wants to be known as a researcher in a certain subject area.

In further research, the policy is to publish at least metadata on all datasets. In the master's stage, the student evaluates the usefulness of the data and the possibilities and benefits of publishing them together with their supervisor. If necessary, the Open Science Centre will help!

Archiving data means that the author of the data draws up an archiving agreement for a data archive that operates within the scope of archival legislation (e.g. Archiving Archive). Language Bank, People's Archives, SKS Archives) and hands over the data to the archive. The archive acts as a distributor of the data, i.e. the data is no longer available to the producer for its original research purpose.

Archived data may not be openly available to everyone, but it will be stored for a period of time in accordance with the agreement between the donor and the archive.

If you hand over the data you have collected or produced to a research group, project or other similar party:

  • Before starting your work, make an agreement on handing over the rights to the data to the project (see agreeing on the rights related to the data at the beginning of this course).