Research data

Research Governance:

Guidance on Research Data Security

The purpose of this guidance is to set out UWE expectations of researchers in relation to the security of research data, and to signpost researchers to relevant specific guidance.

Research as used here means research by staff or students at any level.

Research data can be in any form, for example:

  • Electronic or hard copy;
  • Video;
  • Audio;
  • Artefacts;
  • Machine readouts;
  • All is valuable and must be appropriately protected.


Research Data should be classified as either (in accordance with the University's Information Handling Policy):


Data Definitions

This Guidance refers extensively to data which is confidential or restricted, including data which relates to an identifiable living person (personal data).

However, all research data is valuable and should be protected from loss. Care must be taken to appropriately protect the data asset. Some data will also be particularly sensitive, for example:

  • Company financial data;
  • Security sensitive information;
  • Information which may relate to dual use technology;
  • Data relating to populations of wild animals.


This guidance sets out UWE’s expectations and the sources of support available.

  • Research data must be securely stored, used and, only where appropriate, shared;
  • Researchers working with:
    • Security sensitive information should consult the UREC Guidance; and
    • Human tissue or animals/animal by-products the relevant UWE Quality Management System.

Research Excellence Framework

Research is defined for the Research Excellence Framework, and by UWE, as including the following:

  • For the purposes of the REF, research is defined as a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared. It includes:
    • work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship;
    • the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights;
    • and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction;
    • It also includes research that is published, disseminated or made publicly available in the form of assessable research outputs, and confidential reports.
  • It excludes:
    • Routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques;
    • It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research.

Further Information

Please Note: This guidance is supplementary to the following:

UWE Code of Good Research Conduct

Data Protection Standard for Research (incorporating GDPR)

University Research Ethics Policy

UWE Information Security Policy

UWE Research Data Management Plan guidance

For specific guidance, please visit the relevant ‘Research Data Security Guidance’ pages.

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