The University of California issued a Research Data Policy, effective July 15, 2022. The policy clarifies the long-standing precept originally articulated in Regulation 4 (Academic Personnel Manual 020) that research data generated or collected during university research are owned by the University. The University’s ownership rights in research data may only be transferred by an agreement signed by an authorized signing official for the institution.

Policy Highlights

  • Defines Research Data as recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry, regardless of the form or media in which they may be recorded. Research Data does not include:
    • "Scholarly and Aesthetic Works" defined under the University of California's Copyright Ownership Policy;
    • Informal notes, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, and communications with colleagues that do not include recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry;
    • Administrative records incidental to award administration such as financial records, contract and grant records, or records related to institutional reviews and approvals; and
    • Patient source documents and medical records created in the course of clinical care.
  • Identifies Principal Investigators as the primary stewards of Research Data. 
  • Identifies the responsibilities and rights of University Researchers who participate in the design, conduct or reporting of a Principal Investigator’s research project.
  • Indicates that the University may take custody of Research Data when necessary for investigations, litigation, or to ensure continuity of research.
  • Assigns responsibility for the interpretation, implementation, and oversight of the Policy to the Vice Chancellor for Research.

For more information, visit FAQs about UC's Research Data Policy.

Principal Investigator (PI) Responsibilities

As primary stewards of the Research Data, Principal Investigators have the following responsibilities:

  1. Provide scholarly leadership pertaining to Research Data, including the collection, recording, managing, retention and disposal of Research Data. 
  2. Ensure compliance with any department- or college-specific requirements regarding Research Data access, storage or management.
  3. Determine use of the Research Data by other UCSB Researchers and collaborators on the project in accordance with relevant agreements and their scholarly discipline’s practices, considering the need for academic progress of UCSB researchers, academic appointees, post-doctoral scholars, degree candidates and students.
  4. Make decisions regarding what Research Data should be preserved or dispositioned, provided that legal, funder, or contractual requirements are met following retention requirements of their scholarly discipline, UCSB requirements, funding agencies and applicable law and regulation, and for following the most stringent of these multiple requirements.

The research data lifecycle includes pre-project planning through post-project archival. Tools and services for planning and managing research data are available at the UC Santa Barbara Library. Many funders allow for data management as a direct cost in extramural research proposals.

Principal Investigators should contact the UCSB Office of Technology & Industry Alliances (TIA) to initiate a request or review of a Data Use Agreement (DUA) for research purposes.

Principal Investigators should initiate an agreement request with the Office of Technology & Industry Alliances in order to protect sensitive, regulated or prepublished data in accordance with UC and UCSB policy.

UCSB Researcher Responsibilities

Participants in the design, conduct or reporting of a Principal Investigator’s research project are subject to this policy and may include faculty, staff, academic appointees, post-doctoral scholars, students and trainees:

  1. Consult with the Principal Investigator for clarification of obligations related to Research Data.
  2. Collect, manage and share Research Data in accordance with the standards of their scholarly discipline, UC and UCSB policies, and other legal requirements.
  3. Adhere to applicable data management plans, IRB protocols, and the terms and conditions of third-party agreements (such as sponsored awards, material transfer agreements, or data use agreements).
  4. Proactively work with the Principal Investigator prior to leaving UCSB to ensure that Research Data remains at UCSB and is accessible to the Principal Investigator.

When a Principal Investigator or Researcher Leaves UCSB

Prior to departing UCSB, Principal Investigators should arrange for the management or disposition of any Research Data that will remain at UCSB in accordance with university policies and/or legal, funder, or contractual requirements.

If the Principal Investigator is leaving UCSB and plans to take Research Data (original or copies) to a new institution, contact the Office of Technology & Industry Alliances for consultation. An agreement or permission may be necessary to ensure compliance with applicable sponsor, regulatory, or legal requirements. Co-Principal Investigators, when applicable, should also be consulted.

If a Researcher other than the Principal Investigator is leaving UCSB and requests to transfer a copy of the Research Data generated in the course of their UCSB research, the Principal Investigator will review the request and any applicable sponsor, regulatory, or legal requirements.

Prior to leaving UCSB, review UC’s Research Data Policy to ensure compliance with all contractual, compliance and university obligations. This checklist may be used as a resource for ensuring a timely and compliant transition relating to Research Data obligations at UCSB.

Questions Regarding Ownership and Use of Research Data

Questions regarding applicable laws and regulations, sponsor requirements, third-party restrictions or other related agreement requirements governing ownership or restricted use of Research Data should be referred to the Office of Research as follows:

  • Industry (for-profit funders or collaborators), Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), Data Use Agreement (DUA), Non-Disclosure Agreement or Confidential Disclosure Agreement (NDA, CDA)
  • Non-Industry (non-profit, government, educational institution, etc)

University Access to Research Data

UCSB has the right to unfettered access to Research Data arising from all University Research, regardless of the location of the Principal Investigator or UCSB Researchers or whether the records are located on university-owned or personally controlled equipment or devices. When necessary to assure needed and appropriate access, UCSB has the option to take physical custody of the Research Data through appropriate long-term data storage options, or in a manner specified by the Vice Chancellor for Research or their designee. Principal Investigators and UCSB Researchers will cooperate in good faith to provide physical custody for Research Data.

Dispute Procedures

If a dispute arises over Research Data between UCSB Researchers, the matter should be initially referred to the Principal Investigator. If the Principal Investigator is party to the dispute, is unavailable or resolution cannot be found, the matter should be referred to the appropriate Department Chair or Dean, as applicable. The Vice Chancellor for Research, or their designee, may be consulted for clarification of obligations and resolution of disputes related to Research Data, and the interpretation of this policy.