Ethical requirements

A number of ethical requirements apply to the management of research data, particularly where the research involves human subjects.

The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans, particularly Chapter 3.2 on Databanks, outlines researchers' responsibilities in the areas of collecting, storing, using and disclosing research data.

Please see the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee’s information:

Researchers must be aware of their obligations in the following areas, and address these obligations through the existing ethics application process.


Research data must be managed in accordance with the existing University of Sydney Privacy Policy, and all relevant privacy legislation. Please see Legislation, Codes and Policy relevant to Human Ethics and contact Research Integrity for further information.

Confidentiality and consent

You must respect any confidentiality agreement about stored data that has been made with participants. Consent processes must include information about the form in which the data will be stored (specifically about identifiability of subjects) and the purposes for which the data will be used and/or disclosed. You must retain records of these agreements and ensure that data will not become available for uses to which participants did not consent.

Cultural sensitivity

Research involving indigenous people may have special data management requirements: decision making and communicating about methods of collecting information, including where data is stored and how it is accessed, may need special attention.

Research data management planning may also highlight a need to take into account indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights, in addition to other ownership and use of copyright and intellectual property.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) provides Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies and other resources for learning more about these issues and how to address them.

Commercial sensitivity

Please contact Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships to discuss commercial sensitivity and data management.