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Policies and guidelines for research data management

On May 14. 2020, the rectorate approved updated policies and guidelines for research data management. The University of Oslo’s policy follows the "open as standard" principle in terms of access to research data. UiO will contribute to making research data openly available, but exceptions can be made for data that cannot and should not be made available.

Phaistios Disk, an example of early data storage. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (cc by-sa)

"To make as much as possible available to as many people as possible" (Rector Svein Stølen 22 August 2017)


What are Research Data?

Research data are representations of observations, objects, or other entities used as evidence of phenomena for the purpose of research or scholarship1.

Observational data: results from recognising, noting, or recording facts or occurrences of phenomena, usually with instruments. Any of these observations may be associated specific places and times and may include multiple places and times. Observational data are considered the most important to preserve, because these data are the lest replicable.

Computational data are product of executing computer models, simulations, or workflows. Sometimes the model inputs are preserved; sometimes the model outputs are preserved. Sometimes only the algorithms are retained on the grounds that the model can be run again if needed.

Experimental data are results of procedures in controlled conditions to test or establish hypothesis or new laws. If an experiment is designed to be replicable, those data may be easier to replicate than to preserve. If the conditions of the experiment cannot be replicated, the data also may need to be preserved.

Records: Documents, recordings, registries or other material become research data when used for the purpose of research or scholarship. Often these will be sufficiently preserved elsewhere and it is sufficient to document where. In cases when the authoritative record  is not properly archived or access is difficult it is reasonable to store a copy.


The University of Oslo aims to manage research data according to international standards, such as the FAIR principles, CARE principles and thereby support the development of a global research community in which research data is widely shared. This should contribute to:

  • improved quality of research by building on previous works and compiling research data in new ways
  • transparency in the research process and better opportunity for verifiability of scientific results
  • increased cooperation and less duplication of research work
  • increased innovation in the private and public sectors
  • efficiency improvement and better utilisation of public funds

UiO will arrange for employees and students to easily be able to follow the currently applicable regulations. This means that UiO should have clear data management guidelines, as well as adequate training opportunities, Internet pages, support functions, IT services and e-Infrastructure. The entire organization must cooperate, also with relevant external partners/funding agencies, in order to implement good practices under the framework conditions established by law and the funding agencies.

Research data should be:

  • accurate, complete, genuine, and reliable
  • findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable
  • securely stored and/or archived, either on institutional storage and archival solutions or in national/international/domain-specific archives
  • maintained in accordance with legal and research-ethical obligations
  • shareable with others in line with relevant ethical principles for sharing of research data.

Research data should be archived for as long as they are of value to the researcher and the wider research environment, and as long as specified by the funding agency, patent rules, legislation, embargo requirements and other regulatory requirements. The shortest storage period for research data is three (3) years after publishing/publication unless otherwise determined by law. In most cases, research data will be kept longer than the minimum three-year requirement. In general, research data should be made accessible at the earliest possible time, but only after the research team’s first right of use period.

When research is supported by a contract/agreement/scholarship containing specific provisions on ownership, storage of- and access to research data, the provisions of such an agreement/contract will take precedence.

If research data is to be deleted or destroyed, either because the agreed period of storage has expired or due to legal provisions, this should be done in accordance with legal and ethical principles, the requirements of funding agencies and collaborating partners, and with particular attention to confidentiality and security.


1. Research data shall be made openly available for further usage

  • Research data shall be made openly available, on equal terms, provided there are no legal, ethical or security reasons not to do so

2.Research data should be made available at an early stage

  • The data that forms the basis of academic articles should be made available as soon as possible, and never later than the time of publication
  • Other data that may be of interest for other research should be made available within a reasonable time, and no later than three years from completion of the project

3. Research data shall be provided with a data management plan

  • The data management plan is a document that describes how the data is to be managed both during the research project and after it has been completed 
  • The data management plan shall describe how the data should be made available in accordance with international standards
  • The scientific staff shall have a conscious attitude as to how research data considered as not having long-term value should be managed or destroyed after a certain period of time

4.Research data shall have metadata and be documented

  • The metadata and documentation shall enable others to search for and make use of the data
  • The metadata shall follow international standards if such exist
  • Metadata should include a description of the data quality

5. Research data must be securely archived

  • The data must be archived, either in institutional archives or in national/international archives

6. Research data shall be provided with licenses for access, reuse and redistribution

  • Licenses should be internationally recognized
  • The licenses should include as few restrictions as possible in respect of access, reuse, and redistribution of the data

7. Research data should be made freely available, but the actual distribution cost should be covered

  • Metadata shall be made available free of charge and published so that it can be harvested and used in searches for research data


UiO is responsible for facilitating the information flow, competence measures and research support systems that simplify the implementation process of the principles and requirements mentioned above.

University staff and students

Scientists and students are responsible for managing research data according to the principles and requirements stated above. Supervisors of ph.d candidates and students have a special responsibility for ensuring that candidates and students attend courses and manage research data according to the above guidelines.  This means that all scientists and students must develop and document clear procedures for gathering, storing, archiving, using, reusing, accessing and storage or destruction of research data in connection with their research. This should include division of responsibilities in collaborative projects with other institutions. The information should be described in a data management plan. Legal framework conditions and funding agency requirements must be adhered to.

Exceptions to sharing research data open access

Security considerations

Data sets shall not be made openly accessible in the event that data disclosure might threaten personal or national security.

Sensitive personal data

In the event that data disclosure cannot be anonymized to comply with the applicable personal privacy regulations, the data sets will not be made openly accessible.

Other legal provisions

Data sets shall not be made openly accessible in the event that data disclosure is in conflict with other legal provisions.

Commercial conditions

Data which has commercial value and that is generated in projects where a company has a contract with UiO may be exempted from the general principle of open access. In such cases, it is recommended that the research data be made available after a specified period, for example after three or five years.

Other factors

In cases where data disclosure has significant financial or practical consequences for those who have generated/gathered the data, or for UiO, the data sets may be exempted from the general principle of open access if a satisfactory argument can be presented for this.


1Definition of research data from Borgman, Christine L. 2015. Big Data, Little Data, No Data : Scholarship in the Networked World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Published June 25, 2020 11:45 AM - Last modified Nov. 3, 2020 9:31 AM