University of California Research Data Policy: a few things to know

University of California Research Data Policy: a few things to know

The University of California Office of the President recently announced an updated Research Data Policy, effective July 15, 2022. The new policy complements the original policy from 1958. It re-confirms that research data are owned by the University but outlines how University Researchers may use the data generated or collected in the course of their research. While most researchers likely will find that the updated policy doesn’t require a complete overhaul of their data stewardship practices, it’s important to understand key  terms, conditions, and permissions enabled by the new policy. The policy, however, will help them make decisions around management, retention, data publication, and data transfer. Implementation of this policy at a campus level is currently under development. Additional details are forthcoming.

A few key points: 

  • The Regents of the University of California own Research Data generated or collected in the course of University Research. 
    • Research Data include “recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry.” Research Data do not include scholarly & aesthetic works, informal notes, paper drafts, administrative or medical records, and other materials (see policy text for complete list).
    • University Research means “research conducted by a Principal Investigator or University Researcher that is within the course and scope of their assigned duties, uses University resources, and/or is funded by or through the University.”
  • University Researchers may use the Research Data they generate or collect in order to conduct other research, share with collaborators, publish outcomes, and create scholarly works. The University “supports the free and unfettered dissemination of information, knowledge, and discoveries generated by University Researchers.” As such:
    • Principal Investigators (PIs) are the stewards of Research Data, and maintain autonomy about which data should be preserved or dispositioned;
    • Researchers may share data as dictated by scholarly/disciplinary standards or data management plans, or legal, funder, or contractual requirements; 
    • When a University Researcher leaves the UC, they may take copies of the data they generated or collected, as long as it is approved by the PI;
    • Neither the University nor University Researchers may assert ownership of Research Data owned by third parties.


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Written by Tim Vollmer, Erin Foster, and Anna Sackmann