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Research Data Management: Access


Regulating who will have access to the data and what level of access they are entitled to is an important consideration. Providing unauthorised people with access to the data may be unlawful. Access regulations may also have implications on determining an appropriate storage location.

Before allowing access determine:

  • Who has ownership of the data?
  • Are there ethical considerations?
  • What level of sensitivity or confidentiality is required for the data?
  • Are the data regulated under export control laws?

View ethical, confidentiality or privacy considerations from example data management plan.


Where a research project involves collaborators from other Australian or international institutions or organisations, consideration is required to determine the most appropriate means to provide access to these users.

Curtin networked drives are only accessible to Curtin users. However, non-Curtin users can often be given temporary access to Curtin Network Drives by becoming University Associates.

Please contact your school or department for more information on registration of a University Associate.

View collaboration details from example data management plan.

IP and ownership

Data ownership refers to the control and rights over the data as well as data management and use. Ownership of research is a complex issue that may involve the principal investigator, the sponsoring institution, the funding agency, and any participating human subjects.

Clarifying data ownership and intellectual property rights is an important part of data management as they will determine how the data can be managed and used, both during the project and in the future.


Ethical treatment of data applies not just to the collection or generation of data, but also to how the data will be stored, and if and how it will be made available.

Professional bodies, institution or funding organisation, including the  Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research may require measures to maintain the confidentiality of research data and primary materials by protecting the data from unauthorised access and use.

See Curtin’s Research Standards for more information.

Data sensitivity

Data in general is often classified in terms of sensitivity. Depending on the confidentiality, sensitivity and criticality of the data, a classification should be applied to the data.

This classification will determine:

  • Where the data should be stored
  • Who can access the data
  • How the data should be disposed

At Curtin, research involving humans as participants should be classified as In-Confidence or Protected, depending on the sensitivity of the research.

Mixed levels of access may be used to combine restricted access to confidential data with standard access to non-confidential data. It may include read-only or read-write access to files.

For more information refer to the Curtin's Information security classification policy and procedures.

Export control laws

In some instances, there are laws and regulations that prevent information about certain types of technologies being shared. This would include data relating to these technologies.

The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 regulates dealings in goods, services, and technologies identified in the Defence and Strategic Goods List to support Australia’s national security interests. Information on the application of the legislation to your research is available from the Office of Research and Development.

Example collaboration

These are example collaboration details from the data management plan for a fictitious research project.

This project is in collaboration with the Marine Studies Institute of Oceania and its Reef Survey Team. MSIO staff will be made Curtin University associates so that they have access to the Curtin R drive.

Curtin Staff

Jane Bloggs (principal investigator)

Jim Cricket (research student)

MSIO Staff

John Ghoti

Kym Lee

Example ethical, confidentiality or privacy considerations

These are examples of ethical, confidentiality or privacy considerations from the data management plan for a fictitious research project:

This project gathers observational data of marine vertebrates and has received Animal Ethics Committee approval (reference number 123456).

This data is not confidential and not subject to any privacy concerns.

Regulate access

Access R: drive on your personal computer

Step 1.

Step 2.

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