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Policy on the handling of research data at the University of Freiburg

This is an unofficial translation (PDF) of the document „Policy zum Umgang mit Forschungsdaten an der
Universität Freiburg
“. For binding referencing, the German document is decisive.


I. Preambel

The University of Freiburg recognizes the fundamental importance of research data, its creation and
processing context, as well as its documentation and publication, for maintaining high-quality
research and scientific integrity. The University of Freiburg strives to meet the highest possible
standards. It further recognizes that accurate, easily discoverable and accessible research data are
essential foundations of any data-driven research project. They are necessary for the traceability,
validability, and reproducibility of research processes and results. Research data thus have a longterm benefit for science and the potential for extensive subsequent use and dissemination in society.
This policy is intended to give scientists guidance in dealing with research data and to contribute to
a sustainable research environment. In conjunction with „The University of Freiburg’s Open Access
Resolution“, it is intended to contribute to spreading and living the idea of “Open Science” and
“Open Data”.

II. Scope

This policy is addressed to all members of the University of Freiburg who deal with research data,
both as independent researchers and in their function as teachers and persons responsible for the
supervision of scientists in the early career phase. It was adopted by the directory board on
09/21/2022. This policy should also be taken into account in the case of externally funded projects.
Specific agreements with third-party funders regarding data management take precedence over this

III. Handling research data

When dealing with research data, the entire lifecycle process must be taken into account, during
which it is collected or reused, processed, analyzed, edited, archived and, if applicable, published.
The FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) should be taken up at an early
stage in this process, provided that there are no legal or ethical reasons to the contrary and that they
are technically feasible. It is of particular importance to preserve the integrity and context of
research data. Research data must be stored in a correct, complete, unaltered and reliable manner
and must be reusable in the long term.

In accordance with intellectual property rights and provided that no third party rights, legal
provisions or other property rights prohibit it, research data shall be provided with a free license for
subsequent use and shall be made openly available.

Research data should be deposited in a suitable repository or archiving system. It is recommended
to examine primarily subject-specific or methodologically suitable repositories, provided that they
meet the OA requirements stated in this policy in substance and in spirit. Data should be provided
with persistent identifiers in addition to at least descriptive metadata. In particular, the University of
Freiburg recommends the use of ORCID IDs for individuals, of DOIs for publication of data sets (if
applicable, in addition to discipline- or repository-specific identifiers and metadata).

Research data intended for re-use should be made available in citable form. This includes ensuring
the appropriate context, which may include the research software and workflow environments used.
This task may be outsourced to appropriate professional services. It should be guaranteed that
citation rules are observed and terms regarding publication and use are met. The origin of reused
data is thus clearly traceable and the corresponding source is honored.

Research data and documents shall be retained and kept accessible for as long as required by
internal policies, professional guidelines, or the requirements of research funders under applicable
legal and contractual provisions (e.g., EU requirements regarding the collection of personal data).
The minimum retention period for research data and documents is ten years after publication of the
data, publication of the relevant work or after project completion.

If research data and associated documents are to be deleted or destroyed after the storage period has
expired or for legal or ethical reasons, this may only be done taking into account any legal or ethical
considerations. The deletion must be traceable and documented. When deciding whether to retain or
delete data, the interests and contractual provisions of third-party funders and other parties
involved, in particular contributors and collaboration partners, must be taken into account. Aspects
of security and confidentiality must be considered.

IV. Responsibilities

The responsibility for research data management during and after the duration of research projects
and undertakings lies with the University of Freiburg and its researchers and should be in
accordance with the recommendations for safeguarding good scientific practice. The
implementation of these recommendations is supervised in the „Regulations of the Albert Ludwig
University on Safeguarding Academic Integrity

a. Responsibilities of the researchers

i. Researcher collect, document, store and archive research data and the related documentation so that access or
proper deletion is possible. This includes agreement on procedures and responsibilities in
collaborative research projects. Such information should be part of a data management plan (DMP)
that documents the acquisition, aggregation, editing, retention, use, and publication of the data used
and describes the requirements for integrity and confidentiality of the data. Researchers shall
prepare a DMP for each research project and maintain and keep it current during the conduct of the
project. Where appropriate, they shall document the availability of research data in representations
of their projects, e.g., in a research information system or other publicly accessible project

ii. Researcher handle research data in a way that complies with the principles and requirements of this
guideline. They ensure already during project planning whether open source software can be an
equivalent alternative to programs whose source code is not disclosed. In particular, the use of
software available under free licenses is advised.

iii. plan, as far as possible, the further use of the data, especially after project completion. This
includes both the determination of rights of use and exploitation after the end of the project,
including the allocation of corresponding licenses, as well as the regulation of data storage and
archiving in case of leaving the University of Freiburg.

iv. comply with and advocate for all relevant organizational, regulatory, institutional, and other
contractual and legal requirements related to both research data and the management of associated
research records (for example, in the case of context or provenance).

b. Responsibilities of the University of Freiburg

i. The university of Freiburg supports its organizational units, provides adequate funding and resources for research promotion, services, operation of organizational units, infrastructures and staff qualification. To this end, it
participates in cross-cutting exchanges with other institutions, research funding agencies, and is a
member of the National Research Data Infrastructure Germany.

ii. The university of Freiburgpromotes compliance with the recommendations on good scientific practice. To this end, it provides templates for DMPs, conducts monitoring, and offers qualification measures as well as
support and advice. This is done in accordance with current policies, contracts with third-party
funders, internal bylaws, codes of conduct, and other relevant guidance documents.

iii. The university of Freiburg develops mechanisms and provides services to store, securely retain, and publish research data to ensure access to research data during and after the completion of research projects.

iv. The university of Freiburg provides access to the services and infrastructure described above so that researchers can comply with the requirements of third-party funders and other legal entities and fulfill their responsibilities as described in this Policy.

V. Validity

This policy shall become effective upon adoption by the directory board on 09/21/2022 and shall
supersede the policy dated 12/19/2018. It will be reviewed every three years at the end of each year
to determine if it needs to be updated.