Confidentiality & intellectual property
- MIT regulations: MIT researchers conducting human subject research should consult the MIT Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) in planning for data management and sharing.
- Health research regulations: Researchers need to adhere to privacy law regarding personal health information. See the HIPPA Privacy Rule, Information for Researchers.
- Informed consent: Researchers should include a provision for data sharing. See the guides to informed consent from the U.K. Data Archive and ICPSR.
- Maintaining confidentiality: Data made publicly available should not contain information that could risk the confidentiality of their participants.
- Other useful tips:
- Some archives, such as the ICPSR, will review your data for the presence of confidential information and provide infrastructure for restricted access to sensitive data.
- Check your discipline’s academy or association for more resources. The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science provides a guide on responsible data management.
Sharing data that you have produced or collected yourself:
- Data is not copyrightable. Particular expressions of data, such as a table in a book, can be copyrightable. Software, code, metadata, and other contextual information are copyrightable.
- Promote sharing and unlimited use of your data by making it available under an Open Data Commons or Creative Commons license. For software, consider one of the open licenses in the Software Package Data Exchange list of licenses.
- If you are uncertain as to your rights to disseminate data, contact us for a consultation.
Sharing data that you have collected from other sources:
- Licensed data can have restrictions in the way it can be used or shared downstream.