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Research Data Management: From Plan to Publication (Sept 2019): Key Drivers & Policies

Federal Definition of Research Data

(3) Research data means the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues. This “recorded” material excludes physical objects (e.g., laboratory samples). Research data also do not include:

(i) Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law; and

(ii) Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study.

The Federal Government has the right to:

(1) Obtain, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the data produced under a Federal award; and

(2) Authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use such data for Federal purposes.

(e) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

(1) In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for research data relating to published research findings produced under a Federal award that were used by the Federal Government in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law, the Federal awarding agency must request, and the non-Federal entity must provide, within a reasonable time, the research data so that they can be made available to the public through the procedures established under the FOIA.

(2 CFR 200.315, effective December 26, 2014)


"We define a data management plan to be a plan that describes the data that will be authored as well as how the data will be managed and made accessible throughout its lifetime. Such a plan should be an integral part of a research project." 



“It is important that the community adhere to the ultimate goal of achieving the availability of research products under FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles.”