University of Jyväskylä research data policy

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This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.


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 throughout the academic community and society as widely as possible is of primary importance. Hence, research datasets are important resources and research infrastructures for the University.

JYU promotes research data that is as transparent, accessible and openly available for further use 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).

This research data policy is applied to research conducted by researchers who are affiliated with the University of Jyväskylä.

Key terms of the research data policy are defined at the end of this document.

Goals of the research data policy

This research data policy (later “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 is based on the research development programme 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 the efficient storage, publication 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 remain usable and available throughout their lifespan. The lifespan should be planned to meet the data’s purpose.

The University’s data policy aims for as extensive implementation of FAIR principles as possible. These principles help 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. There are several means to implement the FAIR principles.

A further 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. Unless the question is about fully closed datasets, it is always possible to publish their metadata. The aim is to schedule the opening of publishable datasets so that sufficient first-user privileges are ensured for the researchers. It is always possible to publish the metadata before opening the actual datasets. Datasets can follow the FAIR principles even if they are not fully open – full openness is only the last step.

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 recruitment. 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.

Research datasets are also a significant part of the University’s capital. They offer many operational opportunities as well as also responsibilities. The aim of the data policy is a state, in which the updated information on research datasets handled at the University is always available.


The management and opening of research data comply with legislation, the requirements of research funders, the responsible conduct of research as well as the University’s own instructions and policies. Every researcher is responsible for taking care of the confidentiality, data protection and information security of their research data. Good data management practices must be applied to both digital and analogue data. When possible, digital data should be favoured because of their better findability and accessibility.


In connection with using and publishing the data, the researchers who have produced the data created at the University of Jyväskylä state the University of Jyväskylä and their own department as their affiliation.

Data management plans

JYU requires data management plans for all research data resulting from 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 to research data and agreements on the rights

Achieving the aims of the data policy requires a clear conception of the ownership rights, user rights and management rights of the research data. For research data collected by more than one person, an administrator must be assigned. The administrator is usually the principal investigator of the research project and looks after the rights of research data and enables the making of related agreements.

Unless otherwise provided by the intellectual property rights of the parties who originally created the dataset or disclosed it for research purposes (e.g. copyrights of written works produced by research subjects or ownership rights of databases disclosed for research purposes), the ownership rights belong, as a rule, to the person/persons who collected the data. However, the ownership of tangible datasets acquired with JYU funding or created at JYU in an employment relationship belongs to the University.

A significant part of agreement projects implemented with external funding involve an obligation to transfer rights of research results and research data to the University. If the employment contract of an employee belonging to teaching and research staff has included an attachment for transfer of rights, the rights are transferred to the University automatically. Alternatively, the transfer of rights may take place using a project-specific transfer of rights agreement (on the JYU intranet).

Even if there is no direct obligation to transfer the rights of research data to JYU (e.g. datasets created in open research), it is possible to transfer them to JYU. Reasons for this may be the need to clarify rights related to the data, the organisation of permanent governance for the data or the enabling of long-term storage.

Unless otherwise required by the funder of the research, the University ensures the researchers’ first-user privileges so that the creators of the data are able to utilise datasets transferred to the ownership of the University in their research.

To avoid later disputes, the parties who collect and use research data, for example, researchers, students and grant researchers, define the rights of the research data in writing. The University offers different templates and tools for agreeing on rights. Because research data agreements can be used to agree on issues related to the use and management of research data in more detail, it is always recommended and in the interest of researchers to make a separate agreement even if the ownership of the research data has been transferred to the University.

The simplest way for the owner of research data to ensure the availability and usability of the data is to license the data for open use and then publish the data. Datasets created in agreement projects can also be licensed with an open user licence, and many significant research funders set requirements for this. When opening research data and agreeing on user rights, attention should always be paid to possible restrictions of use based on legislation and research ethics.

Rights related to the data

The University’s data management plan guides the handling and archiving of documents related to research data.


When research data are opened, the dataset is provided with a licence that explains clearly what kind of use and sharing is permitted to users other than the author. Licences also regulate commercial use. JYU uses machine-readable licences that meet international standards. In practice, this most often means Creative Commons licences that ensure further use of the data and the authorship of the researcher. More detailed information on licences is available in JYU guidelines.


Metadata are maintained in the University’s research information system (Converis). Metadata are always published, unless otherwise provided by mandatory legislation, authority regulations or an agreement with the data supplier. The publishing of metadata is the minimum requirement to ensure the findability of the data. In addition to basic metadata, it is often necessary to describe the dataset in more detail, for example, its variables, methodology and handling. This type of metadata is kept as separate files along with the data and they are linked to basic metadata in Converis.

Saving of research data

Research data in active use can only be saved in the systems JYU has assigned for this purpose or in services provided by CSC. To ensure the usability of data, metadata relevant to the use of the data are always saved in connection with research data.

Open access publishing of research data

The University provides platforms and guidance for the publishing of ready digital research data and all related metadata. A prerequisite for data publishing is that the publisher has the necessary rights and that the publishing is not in conflict with the data protection obligations. The publisher agrees on publishing the data with the University.

If the dataset is publishable, the recommended mode of publication is open access or, when justified, use of data can be limited to research or teaching purposes. It is possible to deviate from the openness of research data to limited availability only for justified reasons, such as a funder’s requirements, to protect the research subjects, or legislative reasons.

JYU requires datasets to 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.

The publication obligation of analogue research data can be supplemented by publishing the metadata and, when possible, archiving them into the dataset.

Archiving research data

JYU develops the possibility to transfer ready research datasets to the JYU archive, if it is considered necessary for the realisation of public interest in the value estimation the principal investigator has made for the dataset. The value estimation must follow valid legislation or guidelines for universities based on the legislation. Research data can also be archived in another suitable archive.

Archiving comes into question if the dataset cannot be published because of included personal data or if it must be ensured that the dataset is preserved for a long time. When possible, research subjects must be informed of the planned archiving already in the data collection phase, especially when personal data will be archived. After the data has been transferred to the archive, the archive takes care of the storage and distribution of the data.

JYU coordinates the long-term storage of its datasets in a centralised fashion so that the most significant datasets will be saved this way. Long-term data storage requires transferring rights to the data to the University.

Referring to research data

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


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

The responsibilities of research data management have been defined in the application instructions related to the data policy (link to be updated).


Tangible research data

Tangible research data may refer to, for example, products, equipment, compounds or biological materials such as enzymes, antidotes, cell-lines, bacterial strains, plasmids, clones and micro-organisms created in research.

Analogue research data

Research data that has been saved in an analogue format, for example, on paper or tape.

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 actual data can also be published as accumulating data. Data can be stored as active as long as the original research purpose, the publishing of research data or ensuring the reliability of results so require.


The submission of research data to the archive, which takes responsibility for storing and distributing the data. As a rule, archiving takes place when data are no longer being used actively.

Open research

Research that is conducted without external funding (that is, with the core funding of JYU) and without contracting parties external to higher education institutions participating in the research.


Metadata describe research data’s properties that are relevant for the findability and accessibility of research data by following the general metadata models or research data.

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 the technical capability for centuries-long storage.

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. They can also be tangible research data such as samples. Research data includes all material based on which the research results are created and the research can be validated. Datasets that are left unused in the research are also included in research data.

Research 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.

Openness levels of research data

  • Open research data refers to research data that (a) has been published openly in information networks in a data archive providing the data with a permanent identifier, and (b) can be freely used, shared and modified. Open research data should always be referred to in accordance with the responsible conduct of research.
  • In case of research data with limited availability, only its metadata may be available and access to the actual data is governed by the holder of rights to the research data – either the researcher or the organisation. In this situation, the research data is not open but implements part of the FAIR principles.
  • In case of fully closed research data, not even metadata are available. Data can be fully closed only for a highly justified, exceptional reason. The reasons may include, for example, confidential business cooperation or the need to keep the cooperation and/or the existence of the data secret.

Ready data

Research data that are no longer subject to changes and the metadata of which are finished and in order. Possible anonymisation or other editing has been completed and active use for the original purpose has ended. The data are ready to be published or archived.


Research data policy of the University of Jyväskylä (PDF, in Finnish)

Approved by the Rector’s decision on 2 September 2020

Updated by the Rector’s decision on 22 December 2022

Creative Commons -lisenssi
This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.