Data collection and retention
It is important that primary results are recorded accurately during research and can be retrieved or reproduced if necessary. For data which requires statistical analysis, the same methodology should be used in the design of the research as in its evaluation. The existence of verifiable data will allow research results to be tested by a third party if an allegation of scientific misconduct is made.
a) If some aspects of a study are outside the expertise of the investigator, he or she should consult other specialists before conducting the research.
b) Primary data should be recorded promptly, accurately and permanently by an appropriate method. Entries should be signed and dated by the investigator where possible. This is consistent with the requirements of US Patent Law, and will provide protection from allegations of misconduct as well as having positive benefits for the individual researcher.
c) Where computer and/ or instrument printouts are the main record of results, these should be kept in numerical order and affixed to any relevant laboratory notebooks.
d) Any changes made to primary data during the conduct of a study should be identified separately and the reason for the change should be indicated. Under no circumstances should data be modified in an improper manner.
e) Primary data is the property of Imperial College and should remain in the laboratory where it was generated for as long as reference needs to be made to it and for no less than ten years.
Research Data Management
Imperial College London is committed to promoting the highest standards of academic research, including excellence in research data management. This includes a robust digital curation infrastructure that supports open data access and protects confidential data.
Imperial acknowledges legal, ethical and commercial constraints on data sharing and the need to preserve the academic entitlement to publication. The Provost Board has endorsed the establishment of a Research Data Management (RDM) working group to take the College forward in this area. Imperial’s RDM policy is currently being formulated by key stakeholders across the College.