CSU Policy: Research Data

Policy Title: Research Data Category: Research
Owner: Vice President for Research Policy ID#: 7-2001-013
Vice President for Research
Web: https://www.research.colostate.edu/
Email: vpr_research_information@Mail.Colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-7194
Original Effective Date: 5/17/2016
Last Revision: 7/29/2022
Print Version: Click Here to Print
Attachments to this Policy:


Data are valuable assets. The University is the ultimate steward of research data and materials as defined herein. The goals of this policy are to:

  • Support the University’s mission
  • Support research excellence
  • Protect the legitimate interests of the University
  • Protect the legitimate interests of researchers
  • Acknowledge differing practices in different disciplines
  • Support appropriate openness and transparency, and ensure accountability for the use of public funds
  • Support compliance with Federal and State laws, and University statutes and regulations 
  1. Colorado State University is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, it supports the principle that the results of its research should be freely accessible where possible and where appropriate, and therefore supports its Research Staff and Students in making their research data available ‘as open as possible and as closed as necessary’, as articulated in the FAIR Principles for scientific data management and stewardship.
  2. University Research Staff and Students are responsible for managing and curating their research data in accordance with the policies of their research funders, the University’s IT Security Policy, Classified Research Policy, Dual Use Research of Concern Policy, Export Control Policy, Human Subject Research Policy, Research and Research-Related Misconduct Policy, and Intellectual Property – Copyright and Patents Policy as they may be amended, supplemented or replaced from time to time. Key aspects of these documents are incorporated into this policy.
  3. Because research data is a rapidly evolving area, the Research Data Best Practices will be a living document that will be reviewed at least annually by university stakeholders and may therefore be subject to change.


This policy applies to all CSU departments and units, and all university employees (including but not limited to faculty, state classified employees, administrative professionals, students, and student employees). Research data and materials resulting from projects in which CSU students, affiliates, and others participate in research activities at or with CSU may also be covered.


Principal Investigator (PI) is the individual judged by the applicant/awarding organization as having the level of authority and responsibility to direct the sponsored project. The PI is responsible for ensuring expenditures are in accordance with sponsor and institutional regulations, policies, and procedures and responsible for regulatory compliance, effort reporting, and technical reporting back to the sponsor. Where Research Data and Materials are generated as a result of research that is not funded, the lead researcher responsible for such creation will be considered the “PI” for purposes of this Policy.

Research Staff and Students research staff are individuals undertaking academic research either in direct employment of the University or under formal agreement with the University in another capacity (e.g. retired staff) regardless of where that research is taking place, whether  at CSU or elsewhere; research students are individuals who are undertaking academic research at the University as part of an informal research experience or in pursuit of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or other award.

Research is a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

Research Data is the recorded factual information associated with the research, including, but not limited to, all records necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of the results of research, regardless of the form or medium on which the material is recorded (such as lab notebooks, photos, digital images, data files, data processing or computer programs (software), statistical records, etc.). Research Data do not include books, articles, papers, or other scholarly writings that are published or publicly presented; drafts of such scholarly writings; plans for future research; peer reviews; or communications with colleagues.

Research Materials are the tangible items that are the product of research or that are used to conduct research. Examples of Research Materials include reagents, cell lines, plasmids, vectors, chemical compounds, and some kinds of devices and software.


The University places a high value on its research mission and the rights and interests that researchers have in the data and results of research.  Accurate and detailed research records are an essential component of any research project. Both the university and Research Staff and Students have responsibilities and rights concerning access to, use of, and maintenance of data resulting from research conducted at the University. Under this policy, the PI is the agent of the university and is responsible for the control in accordance with the Principles below, including the use of data in scholarly publications and presentations. Under federal regulations, any tangible research property, including Research Data, Research Materials, and any other records of research conducted under the auspices of the University, belongs to the University.

The University’s responsibility for the scientific record for work/research conducted at the University, under university auspices, or with university resources is based upon (a) United States Office of Management and Budget Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance), 2 CFR § 200.333-337; (b) the University’s need to assess and defend charges of intellectual dishonesty or misconduct; (c) the University’s goal of supporting and commercializing  intellectual property; and (d) the University's mission to develop and disseminate new knowledge.

  1. Reproducibility of research is a central tenet of the University, and all researchers are expected to conduct their work in a rigorous manner.
  2. The University recognizes the importance of the long-term availability, with as few restrictions as possible, and long-term preservation of all research outputs including research data.
  3. The University is committed to implementing procedures that are discipline-appropriate, proportionate, evidence-based, practical, cost-effective and sustainable, and in the best interests of enhancing its mission, in order to disseminate research and scholarship as widely as possible from research publications to all forms of research data.
  4. The University is committed to achieving compliance with the data policies of its external research sponsors, publishers and governmental agencies, and requires its research staff and students to abide by terms and conditions agreed with third parties. The University also recognizes that such third parties’ policies are evolving and that they may require higher levels of data accessibility and dissemination in the future.
  5. The University recognizes that there is a balance between openness and duties under professional codes and legal obligations.
  6. The University has, as one of its principal missions, the education of its students and the preparation of its graduates for future professional and academic endeavors. As such, student access to and use of data may be critical to their academic success and every effort should be made to provide access to and support use of data for these purposes.
  7. This policy applies to all research conducted by University Research Staff and Students.

The University supports principles such as the Concordat on Open Data and works in line with the FAIR principles and the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. It is working towards embedding these across the institution. The Research Data Best Practices reference has the most current and up-to-date information.


The University supports the principle of openness in research, creativity, and scholarly inquiry. Open dissemination of data, processes, and results of research and other sponsored and scholarly activity is crucial to a vibrant and healthy academic environment. The University promotes the prompt and open exchange of Data with colleagues outside the investigator's immediate laboratory or department, subject to relevant grants, contracts, other agreements, or applicable law.

In the case of externally sponsored research involving a grant, contract, or other agreement, the institution receiving the funding will generally own and be primarily responsible for the data. The Principal Investigator (PI) will be responsible for controlling storage, use, and distribution of Research Data arising from the research activity, subject to provisions of the applicable grant, contract, or other agreement, and University policy, or applicable law. If multiple PIs are involved in the creation of Research Data, they should agree up-front on what responsibility each will have with respect to Research Data. Where the research is performed without a grant, contract, or other agreement, such as institutionally sponsored research, the individual primarily responsible for the conduct of the research will be responsible for the storage, use and distribution of the Research Data arising from the activity. 

The University’s current processes and best practices for management of research data is attached to this policy and will regularly be updated as necessary and appropriate.


Compliance with this policy is required. Compliance assistance may be obtained by referencing the associated Research Data Best Practices document, detailing relevant offices.


Research Data Best Practices

University Libraries, Data Management Resource Page

Mountain Scholar Digital Repository

CSU Policy: Information Technology Security

CSU Policy: Information Collection and Personal Records Privacy

CSU Policy: Central Administrative Data Governance

CSU Policy: Export Control

Federal Regulations and Policies:

2 CFR 200.315; 45 CFR 75.322: Rights in intangible property acquired under federal awards belong to the institution as the grantee.

NIH Grants Policy Statement §8.2.1: “In general, [grant] recipients own the rights in data resulting from a grant supported project.”

National Academies Science Engineering Medicine Open Science Report (NASEM)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)


Approved by Anthony A. Frank, President, May 17, 2016

Revision approved by Dave Ryan, Co-interim Vice President for University Operations on July 29, 2022


Print Version: Click Here to Print

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