For Researchers

Additional Resources for Research Data

Research Data FAQ & Related Materials

Click here for Iowa State University’s full Research Data Policy. Below are answers to the most common and frequently asked questions regarding Research Data.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why should I share my research data?

The university encourages the wide dissemination of Research data consistent with its mission and to ensure the research data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). Additionally, many sponsors and scientific publications require research data be made publicly accessible.

What has shaped Iowa State’s policy in supporting public access to research data?

As outlined in this charge, the university established a Data Sharing Task Force to provide guidance and develop a framework to assist staff from the Chief Information Officer, University Library and OVPR in implementing the services, systems and policies necessary to support data sharing.

Is all research data shareable?

Although generally the wide dissemination of research data is encouraged, university policies, regulatory requirements, and sponsor restrictions may restrict the dissemination of research data. See RELATED INFORMATION and DataShare Workflow for additional information regarding restrictions.

What research data should I share?

Disciplinary guidelines may offer specific guidance. The minimum recommendation is to share research data needed to reproduce and validate results cited in these journals, journal articles and other publications, and that has the potential for reuse by others.

What if there is no public repository for my discipline or the type of research data I want to share?

Consider depositing your data in the university’s repository, DataShare or contacting the University Library (datashare@iastate.edu) to discuss other options.

My funding source has requirements that are stricter than these guidelines, what requirements do I have to follow?

The requirements in these guidelines are considered the MINIMUM requirements. If funding sources, or other governing documents/entities require additional standards, those standards will apply and supersede these guidelines.

Do these guidelines apply to the retention of physical data such as printed photos, biological specimens, prototypes, etc.

This is determined on a case-by-case basis, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research at vpr@iastate.edu or (294-6344).

What other laws, policies, and regulations may apply to research data?

How soon should I share my research data?

The university encourages the sharing of research data as soon as practicable while respecting disciplinary practices, regulatory restrictions, sponsor restrictions or requirements, and university policies.

How will research data be licensed?

The Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT) will review submitted research data and recommend appropriate licensing options for the research data when intellectual property has been generated. An overview of the licensing options are available on OIPTT’s website. When data is meant to be open for reuse, licensing options are described on the DataShare website.

What is included in the incidental use of university resources?

Incidental use of university resources generally includes: a) tools or services for which the costs have been reimbursed by the employee; b) student instructional support covered by tuition and fees (for students not on appointment); c) support received by student organizations through the student fee allocation process; and d) other ancillary uses of university resources, which shall be reviewed on a case by case basis to ensure consistency with the university’s intellectual property policies (in consultation with the Iowa State University Research Foundation).

Who owns the research data a student generates as part of the student’s research thesis or as part of an undergraduate research experience if the student is not employed by the university or otherwise supported with university funds for a work assignment related to research and only incidental use of university resources were used to generate the data?

The student generally owns the research data unless the university is otherwise required by contract or sponsored research agreement to own the data.

If a student who is not employed by the university or otherwise supported with university funds for a work assignment related to research develops an experimental design jointly with the student’s adviser and generates the research data, who owns the research data?

Ownership of research data is generally determined by intellectual contribution to their generation. In this scenario, the research data will generally be owned by both the student and the university, unless the university is otherwise required by contract or sponsored research agreement to own the data or unless more than incidental use of university resources were used in the generation of the research data.

If a student who is not employed by the university or otherwise supported with university funds for a work assignment related to research generates the research data in an experiment that was solely designed and developed by a university researcher, who owns the research data?

Since the student had no intellectual contribution to the generation of the research data, the university will generally own the research data unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

How is ownership and sharing of research data addressed between university researchers and researchers at outside entities when participating in collaborative projects?

Ownership of research data is generally determined by institutional and sponsor policies as applicable.   it is recommended that expectations regarding ownership of research data and data sharing are established at the start of the project.  Some sponsors now require data management plans, which provide an opportunity to establish clear roles and responsibilities among a research team.

Who should I contact if a conflict with data ownership arises?

If the parties involved cannot informally resolve a conflict with research data, they should contact their unit head, chair, or dean for further discussions and guidance. The university’s Ombud’s Office also provides services to assist in dispute resolution, including consultations and facilitated discussions. The Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost may also provide further guidance and assistance as needed.

General Contacts

Responsible University Officer(s): Vice President for Research Peter Dorhout, VPR@iastate.edu

Policy Owner(s): Office of the Vice President for Research, 515- 294-1785

Policy-Specific Contacts

Primary: Associate Vice President for Research — James Reecy, jreecy@iastate.edu

Information Security: Information Technology Services — Mike Lohrbach, mlbach@iastate.edu

Legal: Office of University Counsel — Barbara Biederman, barbara@iastate.edu

Other: University Library — Curtis Brundy, cbrundy@iastate.edu