Controlling access

Before sharing data, either during or after the project, you need to make sure that you have considered the implications of doing so, in terms of copyright and IP ownership, and ethical requirements like privacy and confidentiality.

Your Faculty IT Manager can help you to identify and set up technical solutions to support sharing research data with other researchers inside or outside of the University of Sydney. These solutions may include collaborative research environments and data transfer tools.

Sharing data does not necessarily mean making data openly and publicly available although this is something that many researchers choose to do and may be required by a funder or journal publisher. When choosing to share data, researchers have the ability to control access to their datasets. Specific options will vary according to where data will be stored and made available.


Controlled or mediated access

  • a researcher may choose to remain the gatekeeper so that all requests to access the data are directed to a nominated contact, for example the Principal Investigator, or a Data Manager.
  • access methods may include sending the data directly to the requesting researcher or providing a login to download the data from a secure site.

Restricted access

  • restrictions may be necessary in order to protect sensitive data e.g. confidential information. Access to the data may be restricted to researchers within a specific discipline and there may be strict protocols to observe when working with the data.

Open access

  • open access to data generally means that the data is published and freely available in the public domain.

Controlling access to research data that cannot be accessed or transferred online

Controlling access to data in other formats can be done through physical means such as:

  • storing research data in safes and lockable filing cabinets
  • securing offices and workspaces
  • physically securing laptops and other hardware (e.g. portable hard drives)
  • instituting check-in / check-out procedures when research data is transferred between researchers or between institutions