Research records

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Retention periods for research data and records

Research data is always supported by other records, such as those documenting ethics committee processes, intellectual property rights, and research project administration and reporting.

The Retention periods for research data and records guide outlines the minimum legal retention periods for research data and records.

These periods of retention have been determined by comparing retention periods required under the NSW State Records Act 1998 through the NSW State Archives & Records Authority’s General Retention and Disposal Authority ‐ Higher and Further Education Records (GA47) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Where there is a conflict between retention periods from these authorities the longer retention period has been applied.

For more in-depth information about these retention requirements in relation to research, refer to the this complete Guide.

This information should be read in conjunction with the UNSW Research Code of Conduct, the UNSW Procedure for Handling Research Material and Data and UNSW guidance on records disposal

Responsibilities for researchers

The UNSW Research Code of Conduct (R9) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (R22) require that researchers retain, "clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials."

Determining when to dispose of research records

There is a significant cost to the University in storing records, particularly paper records, for periods longer than those for which it is legally obliged to retain the records. Records should therefore, be destroyed once their retention period has expired and they are no longer required for their original purpose.

Records which are required for known, or reasonably anticipated, litigation, inquiries or investigations, or records that may be relevant to allegations of research misconduct must not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of until the litigation or investigation has been concluded. They should not be retained 'just in case' litigation or inquiries may arise at some time in the future

View Destroying Records for further information on the processes at UNSW.

Research records

Please refer to the Retention Periods for Research Data and Records guide when considering destroying records relating to research.

For assistance with managing research data at UNSW, please contact the Research Data Management team

Have a question?

Contact the Records Team on 02 9385 2861 or email / Contact the Archives Team on 02 9385 2906 or email