University of Jyväskylä Research Data Policy

 

1. INTRODUCTION

Science is based on the reproducibility of scientific research. In addition to presenting and documenting the methods and results, this often calls for systematically created, described and stored datasets. The University of Jyväskylä (JYU) regards these datasets as significant research outcomes. Similarly to publications, their dissemination across the academic community and society as widely as possible is of primary importance. Hence, research datasets can be seen to belong to the most important resources and research infrastructures of the University.

JYU aims to promote use of research data that is as transparent and open as possible. The goal is to make datasets publicly available, and even when publishing is not possible for justified reasons, we publish information about the existence of the dataset, its theme, date, owner and other essential description (metadata).

1.1. Goals of research data policy

This data policy describes the principles, policies and responsibilities pertaining to research data produced in research activities at JYU, including the collection, use and management of research data. It aims at findability, accessibility, usability, citability, and appropriate storage of research data and related metadata. The data policy directs the handling of research data produced at JYU.

The data policy is based on the research development plan included in the University’s strategy, according to which JYU has a unified lifespan management system for research data as well as related support services to enable efficient saving, publishing and further use of datasets. Our researchers receive support for the management of research data and are able to meet the requirements set by research funders.

A central aim of the data policy is to guide researchers to consider the requirements of modern data management and incorporate these into their daily research practices. This contributes to the reproducibility of research as well as to information security and appropriate processing of personal data. Moreover, this is necessary in order to meet the funders’ and publishers’ requirements for the management and sharing of research data. At the same time, this helps ensure that the research data stay usable and available throughout its lifespan. The lifespan should be planned to meet its purpose.

Another goal is to ensure that research activities at JYU gain as much visibility as possible. JYU data management aims at maximal openness of the datasets, yet recognises situations that call for confidentiality or restricted access. Such reasons may include, for example, issues related to data protection and business secrets. Sufficient first-user privileges are ensured for the researchers.

Appropriate data management and open research datasets are recognised as part of a researcher’s academic merits. Data management skills are understood as essential research skills. The development of these skills is supported and the skills are taken into account in career progress and recruitments.

Different disciplines have different ways, practices and processes for the handling and managing of research data. However, the discipline-specific internal practices must comply with the basic principles set out in this policy document. In addition, research funders and academic publishers may also have requirements for data management and openness.

Research data are also a significant part of the University’s capital, which offers various options for action, but also entails responsibilities. This data policy aims at a state where the University always has up-to-date information available about all research data being processed at the University.

1.2. Terminology

Research data

Research-related data in digital or analogue form, which can be so-called raw data, primary material or data derived from primary materials. Research data have different meanings in different fields. In principle, we can consider research data to be any material a study uses as the starting point (hypothesis, research questions) from which to proceed towards the final results. Digital data may comprise, for example, statistics, different types of measurement results, digital images, videos, audio recordings, interview transcripts, questionnaire data or fieldwork observations, but also code, laboratory diaries and protocols.

Active data

Active, currently used, constantly changing, accumulating or processed data. Some datasets remain in this state forever, but this does not prevent the publishing of related metadata. The data themselves can be published as an accumulating set.

Open research data

Openly published research data that can be freely used, shared and modified. Open research data should always be referred to in accordance with the responsible conduct of research.

Metadata

Data describing relevant properties of the research data in question. The descriptive data are maintained in the University’s research information system (Converis). In addition to the basic metadata, it is often necessary to describe the research data more closely, for example, regarding its variables, related methodology and processing. This kind of meta-information is maintained in separate files in connection with the research data and linked to the basic metadata in Converis.

Ready data

Research data that is no longer subject to changes and the metadata of which are finished and in order. Ready to be published or archived.

 

2. GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR DATA MANAGEMENT AT JYU

The management and opening of research data comply with legislation, the responsible conduct of research, research ethics guidelines as well as the University’s own instructions and policies, including data protection policy. Every researcher is responsible for taking care of the confidentiality, data protection and information security of his or her research data.

Affiliation

When using and publishing research data, the researchers who have produced the research data at JYU should name the University of Jyväskylä and their own department as their affiliation.

Data management plans

JYU requires data management plans for all research data related to research conducted at the University. A data management plan should describe essential properties of the research data; management of related ethical issues, rights and obligations; planned lifespan of the data; and a plan for publishing the data.

Rights of use, ownership and agreements for research data

To avoid misunderstandings and to secure researchers’ rights of use, the University and the producers of research data make, using a relevant JYU template, a separate agreement on the ownership and governance of the research data, unless the researchers’ rights have been transferred to a sufficient extent to the University by a transfer of rights agreement attached to their contract of employment. The compilers and users of research data (researchers, students, grant recipients) agree in writing on the rights of use and on possible transfer of rights to the project and the University. Tangible research data obtained by the University’s funds or accomplished in an employment relationship belong to the University. The University’s authority on research data is limited by possible copyrights concerning the material (for example, photos and databases). In principle, copyright-protected works belong to the authority of the author, i.e. the researcher who created them.

JYU requires agreeing on the ownership, administration and use of research data (a) as early as possible and preferably before starting the research, and (b) before starting a research project. This applies regardless of whether the project involves an obligation to transfer any rights concerning the research outcomes and data to the University. The transfer obligation is described in the University’s contract instructions for R&D projects. JYU seeks to ensure that the ownership of research data produced in its activities be transferred to the University as widely as possible. The agreements take into account the requirements of responsible conduct of research, ensuring the researchers’ first-user privileges as well as legal restrictions such as those due to data protection regulations. Tangible research data obtained by the University’s funds or accomplished in an employment relationship belong to the University. Due to the Copyright Act, a separate agreement is also needed on the use of tangible research data.

For research data, there is an assigned administrator, who is usually the principal investigator of the research project. The principal investigator is responsible for taking care that agreements on the research data are made using relevant JYU templates.

Data-related documents

The processing and archiving of documents related to research data are guided by the University’s information management plan.

FAIR principles

As much as possible, JYU data management follows the FAIR principles to ensure the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of data. The University recognises that the FAIR principles can be implemented in various ways and on many levels. JYU-based research strives for implementing these principles as widely as possible, regarding the special characteristics and limitations of each dataset.

Licences

When research data are opened, the dataset is provided with a licence that explains what kind of use is permitted. JYU uses machine-readable licences that meet international standards.

Long-term storage

Long-term storage refers to the Fairdata-PAS service (Digital Preservation Service for Research Data) provided by CSC and the Ministry of Education and Culture, which offers storage for centuries. JYU coordinates the long-term storage of its datasets in a centralised fashion so that the most significant datasets will be saved this way.

Saving of research data

Saving of active research data during use is allowed only to the systems JYU has assigned for this purpose (currently network drives, Nextcloud and CollabRoom) or services provided by CSC. In connection with research data, metadata relevant to the use of the data are always saved as well.

Publishing of research data

The University provides platforms and guidance for the publishing of ready research data and related metadata. A prerequisite for data publishing is that the University has the necessary rights for it. JYU requires that datasets be published in a data archive relevant to the research theme in question. If a dataset is published in an archive outside the University, JYU publishes related metadata in the University’s own system.

Referring to research data

When using research data, the producers of the datasets need to be mentioned in accordance with responsible conduct of research. When referring to data, the same practices apply as in other scientific referencing.

 

3. DATA MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

A researcher is responsible for:

  • preparing a data management plan before carrying out the research and updating the plan during the research process.
  • obtaining necessary expertise for data management.
  • maintaining relevant metadata in the University’s research information system (Converis) and also in connection with the dataset itself to ensure the usability of the data.
  • keeping active data safe in terms of information security using the University’s data systems and taking care of backup copies.
  • complying with the requirements and practices of the University and research funders for the administration of research data.
  • following, throughout the lifespan of the dataset, the University’s instructions and data protection regulations when dealing with research data including personal data.
  • taking care of appropriate referencing when presenting and using datasets.
  • publishing metadata for datasets in the University’s JYX publication archive and, where possible, the actual research data in a data archive relevant to the research theme or if no such data archive is available, in the JYX publication archive.
  • entering relevant data to the research information system about publishing the research data elsewhere.
  • in cases where they leave research work at JYU, agreeing on the storage, rights of use, and further use of datasets, if these issues have not been settled previously.
  • taking care of the machine-readability of the dataset as far as possible.

The principal investigator of a research project is responsible for:

  • taking care of preparing agreements concerning research datasets in accordance with JYU research data policy.
  • supervising that any restrictions on the rights of use for the datasets and possibly chosen licensing models are followed in accordance with the signed research data agreement.
  • assigning the responsibilities and duties related to data management clearly among the research group members and monitoring how these are carried out.
  • taking care that necessary resources for data management are taken into account in project planning and application, and that the resources are allocated to data management when carrying out the project.

Supervisors of dissertation research are responsible for:

  • supporting and guiding their doctoral students in preparing a data management plan or ensuring that the doctoral students follow the research group’s data management plan if they are working in a research group.
  • monitoring the implementation of their doctoral students’ data management plans together with other supervision activities.
  • ensuring that doctoral students are aware of and follow the University’s data policy as well as aim at maximal openness in data management.

Doctoral students are responsible for:

  • attending data management training at an initial stage of their postgraduate studies.
  • preparing, updating and following a data management plan for their research.

The University is responsible for:

  • maintaining data management infrastructure (technical environments and tools needed for producing, preserving, sharing and describing datasets).
  • providing storage environments (network drives, Nextcloud etc.) and distribution services accessible to researchers safely and quickly anywhere online.
  • maintaining a data archive that fulfills the FAIR principles (permanent identifiers, interfaces, indexing, metadata models for datasets, and metadata pages also for datasets no longer available), where datasets are preserved in published form for at least 20 years. Long-term storage of metadata for the datasets is ensured.
  • maintaining other important server environments (JYX, Converis).
  • taking care of the seamless compatibility of the University’s data management infrastructure with major external service providers (e.g. CSC, the National Archives of Finland, the Finnish Social Science Data Archive).
  • guaranteeing sufficient resources for services related to data management.
  • taking care of guidance and support to researchers with regard to data management issues.
  • providing training on these issues.
  • monitoring the national and international development of open science and data management services and requirements, and taking care of the interoperability of the University’s practices and infrastructure with these.
  • producing and maintaining instructions for data management tools and practices.
  • providing up-to-date information about the effects of GDPR and tools for responding to the challenges arising from GDPR.
  • offering agreement templates and support for agreements on rights.
  • providing support for practical matters related to data protection and rights.
  • providing support for the estimation of data management costs and taking these into account when applying for funding.
  • creating mechanisms for monitoring the use of open datasets.
  • sharing information about data policy and related instructions, requirements, principles and tools widely across the university community.
  • taking care that the digitalisation of research takes into account research datasets and their management needs and possibilities.
  • creating a fair PAS process for selecting the University’s datasets for long-term storage and to help format them appropriately for the PAS service.

 

4. MONITORING

The implementation of data policy is monitored actively and the policy and related instructions are updated when necessary.