In August 2022, the University of California issued a UC Research Data Policy (effective July 15, 2022). The policy clarifies the long-standing precept that research data generated or collected during university research are owned by the UC Regents. The Research Data Policy also addresses matters related to stewardship, collection and preservation, sharing, transfer, and disposition of research data.

Policy Highlights

  • Defines Research Data as recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry, regardless of the form or media in which they may be recorded. Research Data does not include:
    • "Scholarly and Aesthetic Works" defined under the University of California's Copyright Ownership Policy;
    • Informal notes, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, and communications with colleagues that do not include recorded information embodying facts resulting from a scientific inquiry;
    • Administrative records incidental to award administration such as financial records, contract, and grant records, or records related to institutional reviews and approvals; and
    • Patient source documents and medical records created during clinical care.
  • Indicates that the University may take custody of Research Data when necessary for investigations, litigation, or to ensure the continuity of research.
  • Identifies Principal Investigators as the primary stewards of Research Data.
  • Assigns responsibility for the interpretation, implementation, and oversight of the Policy to the Vice Chancellor for Research at each campus. At UCLA, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities has this responsibility.

For more information, see the FAQs about UC's Research Data Policy.

Principal Investigators' Responsibilities

  • Provide scholarly leadership pertaining to Research Data, including collecting, recording, managing, and disposing of Research Data.
  • Determine use of Research Data by other UCLA researchers and collaborators on the project in accordance with relevant agreements, the practices of their scholarly disciplines, and the needs of other academic appointees, postdoctoral scholars, degree candidates and other students who are using Research Data to complete ongoing projects and/or thesis or dissertations.

Research Data Procedures

Collecting or Generating Research Data at UCLA
Follow best academic practices with respect to data integrity, including collecting, recording, storing, and sharing Research Data.

Acquiring Research Data from other Institutions (Incoming)
The PI should contact the UCLA Technology Development Group (I) to initiate a request for a Data Use Agreement (DUA) for research purposes regardless of whether the incoming data are being provided to UCLA by a for-profit or non-profit organization.

Taking Research Data to other Institutions when Leaving UCLA
In general, when the Principal Investigator leaves UCLA and a research project is to be moved to another institution, Research Data may be transferred or licensed to the new institution, but ownership is retained by the UC Regents. Under special circumstances, for instance, when a data repository is being moved from UCLA to another institution, UCLA may agree to transfer ownership of the Research Data subject to retention of rights for continued access by and use by the UC Regents. Contact TDG to initiate a request for a Data Transfer Agreement (DTA). The PI should also contact the campus offices listed below (as applicable) prior to initiating a request for a DTA:

  • If Research Data was collected or generated under research that was externally sponsored, contact the UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration (OCGA) for non-profit and government-sponsored awards), Clinical Trial Contracting & Strategic Relations (CTC&SR) (for industry-supported clinical trials), or the Technology Development Group (TDG) (for other industry-supported research) for sponsor or contractual requirements.
  • If Research Data was collected during human subject research, contact the campus Office for Human Research Protection Programs (OHRPP) to ensure compliance with applicable IRB-approved protocols and informed consent forms.
  • If Research Data was collected during animal research, contact the Animal Research Committee (ARC) to ensure compliance with approved protocols.
  • If Research Data is related to an invention, contact the Technology Development Group (TDG).

Additionally, Research Data and or health data that resides within the UCLA electronic medical record may only be shared with a party outside the University if approved in advance by the UCLA Health Data Oversight Committee (HDOC).

When Researchers other than the Principal Investigator leave UCLA, they may take copies of the Research Data that they generated or collected during their University Research, subject to any applicable sponsor requirements and the Principal Investigator’s approval. Ownership of the Research Data remains with the UC Regents. The Principal Investigator continues to be the primary steward of the Research Data.

Sharing and Preserving Research Data
The PI is responsible for ensuring that all data generated or collected under university research are managed in accordance with data management plans, shared appropriately, and suitably stored and curated.

Disposing of Research Data
Before disposing of Research Data, Principal Investigators should review the information under the tab ‘When Projects Have Been Completed’ within the ‘Principal Investigators’ Responsibilities’ section above and consult with the appropriate campus contacts to ensure there are no remaining retention obligations.

A DUA authorizes the transfer of a data set for specified limited purposes (e.g., conducting human research). DUA terms typically address intellectual property, publication, and confidentiality. In some cases, these data use terms can be incorporated into an existing agreement for the transaction such as a sub-award, sponsored research agreement, material transfer agreement, clinical trial agreement, collaboration agreement, and other appropriate requirements.

Entering a DUA is best practice any time UCLA grants access and transfers UCLA-generated data to a non-UCLA entity for research purposes. The DUA will protect the data, ensure they remain under UCLA ownership, and limit the purpose of how the data are used.

Transferring or sharing UCLA health or research data residing in the UCLA electronic medical record to a third party outside of the University requires UCLA Health Data Oversight Committee (HDOC) prior approval.

Research Data Contacts

Animal Research Committee

Health Systems Data Oversight Committee (HDOC)
Contact: Sandra Binder

Industry-supported Clinical Trials

Industry-supported research (not clinical trials)
Contact: Karla Zepeda, TDG


Library Data Science Center

Material Transfer Agreements

Non-Profit and Governmental supported Contracts and Grant
Contact: Tracey Fraser, OCGA

Related Resources

  • UC Data Research Policy
  • FAQs about UC's Research Data Policy
  • IRB Guidance and Procedure: Data Security in Research
  • TDG Receipt/Transfer of Materials & Data
  • UCLA Library Data Science Center