Find below some answers to the most recurrent problems related to the management of research data at UNIL.

If you have not found the information you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact UNIRIS or the faculty research consultants.

General questions

Can I freely dispose of my research data ? Who owns the research data related to my projects ?

Regardless of where the data are stored and regardless of the storage medium, any data created or modified as part of the professional activity of a UNIL employee is protected by copyright but belongs to UNIL. This means that for any use other than for scientific and academic purposes, the agreement of the Management is required (e. g. for commercialization). More information.

I'm leaving the university. Can I take my data with me ?

In the event of the departure of a group leader (Principal Investigator), a copy of all data created or modified during the professional activity must be returned to the dean's office of his faculty (directive 4.5 Art. 19 al. 1) regardless of the degree of confidentiality, accompanied by the information necessary for their understanding and management. To do this, we recommend saving them to the NAS storage space. In case of commercial use, the prior agreement of the UNIL Management is required.

If desired, the IAP may request, through its faculty, permission to take a copy of the research data of its research group. In case of agreement of its faculty, an assignment contract between UNIL and the institution hosting the IP is established and signed in accordance with directive 4.1 of the UNIL Directorate on the signing of research contracts (assignment contract). If personal data are involved, the relevant provisions are reserved.

Who is responsible for research data and its proper management ?

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for ensuring that the research data of his or her research group is managed throughout its life cycle, from creation or receipt to destruction or archiving, in compliance with applicable legislation and UNIL guidelines or, when data is received from a third party, according to agreed contractual terms (directive 4.5 Art. 10 al.1).

Where can I store my business data at UNIL ? Which infrastructure is available to me ?

UNIL encourages employees to backup all their professional data generated in the course of their work at UNIL on the University's institutional infrastructure (directive 4.5 Art. 8 al. 2). To this end, the UNIL Computer Centre (Ci) provides a NAS storage server.

UNIL's Isilon NAS server is a secure and robust storage service that guarantees the security and durability of your data. This network storage server is available for all UNIL contract employees and offers a high availability rate. It is divided into two distinct trees - research and administrative - which make it possible to organize the data according to their nature. More information.

What are the computer resources dedicated to research at UNIL ? What are the conditions of use ?

Since June 2019, the UNIL Computer Centre has strengthened its research services at the University by creating the Division of Computing and Research Support (DCSR). This unit is competent to advise researchers and provides them with new infrastructures for the storage and processing of research data.

The RESEARCH NAS server (nas.unil.ch\RESEARCH) is dedicated to storing research data organized by project for each Principal Investigator (PI). HCP infrastructures allow researchers to do scientific computation.

To benefit from these resources, IPs must complete the DCSR application form and, if applicable, submit a Data Management Plan (DMP) when requesting storage space related to a research project.

These services are subject to a charge and their use is invoiced to IPs according to the annual fee schedule (authenticated UNIL access) established by the UNIL Computer Centre.

Can I use services in the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.) to process and store my data ?

The use of services in the Cloud must meet the legal requirements of UNIL. In addition, any use of these services is the sole responsibility of the user, who fully assumes the risks, knowing that no assistance is offered by the Data Center.

The University allows the use of third-party storage services provided that the data is stored in Switzerland (directive 6.9, art. 5). If the data is stored abroad, the data must be encrypted and the encryption key must be stored in Switzerland.

Unfortunately, most known services do not meet these criteria (e. g. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.). SWITCHDrive is currently the only one to meet the required conditions. For more information, please refer to the Computer Centre (Ci) documentation on SWITCHDrive.

However, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the use of services in the Cloud may involve risks for your data :

  • The service provider may modify his service at any time (service interruption, change in price, etc.).
  • In the event of data loss, no assistance is provided by the Data Center.
  • Data may be read and used by third parties (foreign legislation is often more flexible in terms of data protection).

To the pages dedicated to storing your data at UNIL.

Who should write a Data Management Plan ?

Since October 2017, each request to the SNSF must include a Data Management Plan (DMP), as well as projects submitted to the H2020 funding programme.

It is also planned that each request for storage space at the DCSR will be accompanied by a DMP. More information.

How do I write my Data Management Plan ? Where can I find information about Open Data ?

UNIRIS has developed a Data Management Plan template for UNIL researchers and provides personalized advice. To the pages dedicated to the DMP.

Training courses are organised via the Graduate Campus on DMP writing and Open Access publishing. To consult the calendar of proposed activities and register, we invite you to visit their website.

Online tools are also available to researchers: the SNSF framework is available on MyFNS and the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics (SIB) has created a Data Management Plan generator compatible with SNSF requirements.

At UNIL, are there any software programs to facilitate laboratory and inventory management (LIMS, ELN, etc.) ?

Several projects are underway at university level to answer these questions (see CRUS). Indeed, even if it is very tempting to use a program downloaded from the Internet that would meet the needs of a group of people, management very quickly exceeds the resources (financial and human) and knowledge (legal, computer, etc.) of a single research group, or even a department.

We observe that more and more users interested in replacing the paper laboratory notebook want to make the management of the different data carriers more efficient or are looking for stock management solutions for the equipment used in the laboratories.

To meet this need(s), the FBM IT Department has tested several software packages and is in very close contact with the EPFL Faculty of Life Sciences, which has already set up a system.

How to share large files ?

The SWITCHFileSender web application allows you to send files of up to 50GB to a list of recipients of your choice (info on the IT Center website).

Under what conditions should I keep my data after my research is published ?

After publication, data produced in the course of research must be kept secure for at least 10 years (directive 4.2, art. 2.4). Responsibility for the appropriate storage of data rests with the research project manager. More information.

How long should I keep my research data ?

In the event of a patent application and at the request of the Technology Transfer Office (PACTT), UNIL's patent data will be kept at least for the duration of the patent (20 years) (directive 4.5 Art. 15 al.2).

Data related to a publication must be deposited on a non-commercial repository, subject to other requirements formulated by the research funding body (directive 4.5 Art. 15 al.3).

Data not related to a publication can be archived on a Ci infrastructure and/or on a non-commercial repository. The decision to file is the responsibility of the IP (directive 4.5 Art. 15 al.4). More information.

Questions related to SNSF

Where can I find information on the DMP obligation in SNSF-funded projects ?

Since October 2017, it has been mandatory to include a Data Management Plan (DMP) with each request. The SNSF provides a DMP in the account of each researcher on MyFNS.

More information available on our dedicated pages.

My research is funded by the SNSF and not the University. So Data belong to me ?

In accordance with Article 44 of the General Regulations on Subsidies of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the ownership of research data initially collected or created at UNIL in the context of research financed by the said Swiss National Science Foundation is attributed to UNIL, regardless of the status of the collaborator who conducted the research (directive 4.5 Art. 5 al.3).

What is the "data set" tab in MyFNS and how do I fill it in ?

The link to the data is to be entered in mySNF, with some metadata, including DOI. The name of the chosen InfoStore is also to be specified. The data itself must not be uploaded to mySNF.

The data must be made available at the same time as the corresponding publication. If publication takes place after the end of the project, the link to the data must be indicated at that time and therefore not necessarily at the end of the project as such.

The aim of the SNSF's Open research Data policy is to promote the impact, transparency and reproducibility of research results. To this end, the aim is that these data should respect the FAIR data principles and can be accessed later. As the SNSF has signed the DORA declaration, the creation of databases is also an output to be taken into account in the evaluation process. The data are not archived at the SNSF but are made available on data repositories that comply with FAIR data principles. As the links to the data are included in the mySNF output data, they will be accessible in particular on the SNSF P3 database.

Answers to the concerns of the researchers

Good data management practices are too costly.

Data management, such as metadata allocation, repository management and data retention activities, obviously have a cost, but the benefits far outweigh these costs. Repeating the research to obtain the same data is expensive. In addition, this is impossible in many cases because the researchers, subjects, test conditions, etc. are no longer there. Maintaining a reliable and orderly framework to protect the considerable investments made by institutions in the creation of research data represents a relatively modest cost compared to the prohibitive cost of recreating such data.

from Data Management Toolkit : trousse de sensibilisation réalisée pour l’Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (ABRC)

If I share my data, I limit my options to exploit patents and other economic benefits.

Good data management principles are not incompatible with those governing intellectual property and data ownership. Researchers may choose to restrict access to their data in order to maximize their professional and economic benefits by postponing the release of data until the patent is published or enforced, or by using a non-commercial use license for the data. The OECD recommends that measures that promote access and exploitation for non-commercial purposes while protecting commercial interests, such as deferred or partial release of data or voluntary licensing mechanisms, be taken into account. Such measures can enable key participants to make full use of research data, without unnecessarily restricting access to it

from Data Management Toolkit : trousse de sensibilisation réalisée pour l’Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (ABRC)

I cannot archive and communicate my data because it is about humans.

The best way to protect the confidentiality of personal information is through anonymity. If the data stored and made accessible are anonymous, then no problems of opening and reusing the data.

Well-established procedures exist to ensure anonymity of data and researchers can consult with the Coordinator for Ethical Issues at Unil to determine whether and how to anonymize data containing personal information so that they can share it.


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