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Research data management

Before, during and after your project, the documents and data created need to be managed in different ways to ensure compliance with laws and guidelines. This concerns, among other things, security, personal data management, access, storage and preservation.

In order to ensure that research documents and research data are handled, archived and made available in a satisfactory manner, the Faculty Board has decided on guidelines for the handling of research documents and research data at the faculty (21 December 2022). In addition, a division of responsibilities has been drawn up. The Faculty library is now working on routines for different parts of the handling of documents and data.

On this page you will find in-depth information about laws and guidelines as well as concrete advice on what you as a researcher need to do. The types of responsibilities and support available are also listed.

The sections on general documents and on archiving, apply to both research documents and research data, while the other sections are more focused on research data.

What are research documents?

Research documents refer to the material created before and during the research process, for example project plans, research data and publication lists. This applies to both physical and digital documents.

Please note that research data is part of the research documents created in your project.

What is research data?

Research data refers to data that is collected or produced within the framework of scientific research activities. Scientific publications and articles do not constitute research data.

Research data is the information needed to support or validate research observations, findings or publications. Data can consist of, for example, experiments, statistics, audio recordings, interviews and surveys, and appear in printed and digital format.

The issue of whether legal cases used in research should be considered research data, is under investigation at the Faculty.

Lund University is an authority and research documents are therefore public records that can be requested according to the principle of public access to official records.

Read here about disclosure of public records and confidentiality.

For support for the universityto keep its documents in order, there is the Document Management Plan (only in Swedish) is used. Section 4 deals with research documents. At the end of the project, the research documents must be archived, read about archiving in the below section How to archive when the project is finished?.

Read about the Records Management Plan for Lund University.

What should I specifically do?

  • Make sure that the Faculty Office receives the documents that must be registrered and later archived.
  • Keep in mind that the principle of public access to official records affects the design of agreements of participation in research.

Support concerning public records

  • The Faculty Office for questions concerning handling of public doucments and disclosure of public records.

A research projecet qickly generates a number of questions, such as storage of data, security and GDPR. A Data Management Plan (DMP) may help to sort out aspects concering how to organise, store and save your data during and after the project. As a helping tool it is likely to be updated several times during the project.

Many funders ask for a DMP, more or less extensive, either when applying for funding or when you have been granted money.

Examples of the aspects in a data management plan

  • If and how data will be gathered or produced.
  • Hor research data will be stored and protected during the project and who is responsible to ensure a secure handling.
  • Who will need to have access to research documents and research data during the project.
  • How documents and data will be organised.
  • How documents and data will be archived after the project.
  • If and how data will be made openly available.

What should I do specifically? 

Support for Data Management Plan

Research support at The Faculty Library.
For guidning and discussions on the different parts of a DMP.

If your collected data contains personal data, these need to be handled in accordance with various regulations.

What should I specifically do?

Report to PULU

  • All handling of personal data must be reported to the register PULU - Personal data Lund University. Responsibility: the project leader.
  • Click here to register your research project in PULU.
  • Start by registering your project in LUCRIS to be able to register in PULU.

Obtain consent and provide information to participants in accordance with data protection legislation

Support on personal data

Information and research data must be stored and handled securely while the project is in progress. Stored refers to technical storage of data. Securely means that the data cannot be lost or damaged (technical aspect), that the data can be accessed by those who will work with it and not access by unauthorized persons (physical and administrative aspect). Files on removable media can, for example, be destroyed or the media lost. Passwords can be hacked.

Storage differs from long-term preservation where you also ensure that the data can be found and understood over time, including by adding relevant metadata. This is mainly relevant when archiving and is dealt with in that section further below.

Information security is also important from a personal data perspective.

Read more about information security on Lund University's website.

Storage of documents and data that do not contain personal data and sensitive data

At project start, a secure place for each project will be set up at the Faculty's server. It is created by the Faculty IT department.

Storage of sensitive data and personal data

The recommendation is to use LUSEC, which is a platform for storing, managing and analyzing data in a high-secure way. This is done through encryption, two-factor authentication, secure user environment and controlled access (at Lund University or remotely). Access to LUSEC is provided by the Faculty of Medicine through a fee.

Read more about LUSEC on the Faculty of Medicine website. 

What should I do specifically? 

  • What type of data should be handled? Is it sensitive data?
  • Who will access documents and data? Do, for example, people outside the faculty or outside Lund University need to access the data?

Support for storage solutions

Regardless of whether you work with physical or digital documents and data, the quantity quickly becomes vast. Giving consideration to how the material should be organised, for example decide on a basic structure and how to name documents, can save time and effort in the long run. 

An advice is to use a simple structure. You probably already have a way of naming versions, documents, interviews, etc. A clear structure is particularly important when a project involves several researchers that will create and use documents and data. 

What can I do specifically? 

  • Decide on a folder structure for where to save different kinds of documents. There is usually a viable solution based on the project design. This applies to both digital and physical documents.
  • Decide how to name files. For example, should they contain dates, names or other details that are significant for the file?
  • Decide how different versions should be managed. Should each version be saved or overwritten?
  • Can you choose to save in persistent formats that make it easy to reuse the data itself in the future?
  • Write down your choices so that others can understand the structure and which you can refer to.

Here you can read the HT library's page on organizing data.

Here you can read SND's page on organizing data. 

Support on organizing documents and data 

Research Support at The Faculty Library

At the end of the project, the faculty takes over the responsibility for the documents but your knowledge about the material is needed and important in this process. Many of the documents are probably already handled according to the Document Management Plan. 

Materials created during the research process that are not clearly working materials are public documents. You cannot freely destroy and delete documents. Public documents may only be destroyed with the support of the National Archives' regulations and Lund University's local regulations. Some documents must be preserved, while others, especially research data, can be destroyed out. 

What should I specifically do? 

  • You need to describe the documents so that in the future it is possible to understand what they contain.
  • This is best done in a so-called README file with descriptions of for example the purpose of the project, project managers, how the research was performed, which data that was collected, the results in the form of, for example, publications, conferences, conference presentations or other activities. The kind of data is also described here, for example if it is sensitive data. In short, it includes things that are important if the documents are requested and if they are later to be disposed of.
  • An example of a README file (forthcoming)

Support on archiving 

In Sweden and globally, there is an ongoing transition to an open science system with making research data available as one part. In Sweden, the goal is that by 2026 at the latest, all research data from publicly funded projects should be published and openly accessible. The Swedish Research Council is responsible for coordinating, following up and promoting the transition. 

Read the Swedish Research Council's pages on open access to research data here.

Openly available research data means that they are published openly available to the extent possible. The data is published in reliable and secure platforms.

Please note that open data is not the same as open access publications. Many funders already require that publications from research funded by them should be published with open access. 

Here you can read about the Swedish Research Council's requirements for open access for publications.

Here you can read Lund University's policy for publicatioin which they advocate open access for articles (in Swedish).(PDF)

For legal and/or ethical reasons, not all research data can be made openly available, for example if it contains personal data, sensitive data or trade secrets. However, even if the data is not made openly available, it can be registered and described for possible use with restrictions.

What should I specifically do? 

  • Decide whether you want to make the project's research data available to others. It is not until the end of the project that you need to make a final decision.
  • Contact the library to discuss if making the data open is relevant, available solutions and how to proceed.

Support on Open Data

Research support at the Faculty Library.