Manage Your Research Data

Data acquisition and management is emerging as a key component of many research activities. Sharing data reinforces open scientific inquiry, encourages diversity of analysis and opinion and promotes new research. Below you can find resources and guidance to support data access sharing and management.


Guidance for Faculty on Data Agreements

Memo from Ann Arvin, Vice Provost and Dean of Research and George Triantis, Professor of Law, Dated February 5, 2015

Access to large data sets has become a key component of research at Stanford. Often, the data providers -- or recipients -- require the researcher or Stanford to sign a written or online agreement.  This memo clarifies when Stanford researchers may sign these agreements themselves and when to contact a University office to review and sign the agreement.

  • Stanford’s research contracting and procurement offices can answer questions and help you navigate these agreements:
  • Agreements with government or non-profit entities are handled by the University’s Office of Sponsored Research. 
  • Agreements with industry should be sent to the Industrial Contracts Office. Agreements to purchase or store data are handled by the Procurement Office. 

Agreements for Incoming Data


You may sign a data agreement in your individual capacity under the following conditions, which relate to: (a) the nature of the data, and (b) the proposed terms of agreement. This applies whether the agreement is a letter, non-disclosure agreement, a license, or comes in another form -- including online “click” agreements.

The Data

  • Does not include “Personal Identifying Information” (PII), “Protected Health Information” (PHI), identifiable education records, or other personal, private or financial information that may not be publicly disclosed. 
  • Is not obtained from human subject research participants, even if de-identified.
  • Is neither identified as, nor is known to be, export-controlled.
  • You and your lab members have no financial interests in the data provider.

The Agreement

  • Includes no data security requirements, citizenship access restrictions or penalty for not complying with the agreement.
  • Contains no terms stating that the data provider will own or control your research results, or may approve or restrict your publications.
  • Contains no language that subjects the University to liability, such as insurance and indemnification terms, or statements that the agreement is governed by foreign law.

However, when the data agreement does include any of the conditions above, or you have questions, contact the appropriate contracting office above. They will ask for information about the research, such as a project description, your funding, and University compliance (as applicable). They will consult with the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Risk Management, the Privacy Office, the Information Security Office and the Export Control Office, as appropriate.

Agreements for Outgoing Data

For agreements where you send out data sets, please contact the appropriate contracting office from the list above when the agreement involves one of the above bulleted issues, or:

  • The data to be shared is subject to obligations to others (e.g., is restricted by a sponsored research agreement, or derived from other data).

If you receive or send data without any agreement, the usual academic conventions such as authorship of publications and not sharing others’ unpublished data without permission would apply.

The Stanford Research Computing Center can assist with data security requirements.

If you wish to license out data created in the course of your Stanford work for commercial purposes, contact the OTL (Office of Technology Licensing).

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Genomic Data Sharing

NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy is effective January 25, 2015.  For guidance see below:

Stanford HRPP Guidance GUI-G1

 Guidance and information on Genomic Data Sharing which links to:

Standard Forms related to Institutional Certification Genetic/Genomic Data Sharing can be found on the RMG website.

View RMG Genomic Data Sharing Forms


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The Stanford Digital Repository

The Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) provides digital preservation, hosting, and access services that enable researchers to preserve, manage, and share research data in a secure environment for long-term citation, access, and reuse. By depositing data into the SDR you will:

  • Receive a permanent link (persistent URL) to your deposit that will not change over time
  • Be able to control when your data is made public and what the licensing rules are around your data
  • Make it easy for others to find your data
  • Rest easy knowing your data are securely preserved for the future

View the Site

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Data Management Services

Stanford University Libraries offers tools and services to help researchers comply with funding agency provisions on data management and to improve the visibility of their research.

The University Libraries offer Data Management Services to assist Stanford's researchers with the organization, management, and curation of research data, including:

  • Understanding and creating data management plans
  • Organizing and backing up your research data
  • Acquiring and analyzing data
  • Assigning metadata to enable future discovery
  • Preserving your data for long-term access

The DMP Tool (Data Management Planning Tool) provides templates, Stanford-specific guidance, and suggested answer text for creating a data management plan for your next grant submission. The Stanford Digital Repository provides long-term preservation of your important research data in a secure, sustainable stewardship environment, combined with a persistent URL (PURL) that allows for easy data discovery, access, sharing, and reuse.




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The Data Management Plan Tool

The Data Management Plan Tool (DMP Tool) puts at your fingertips all the information you need to write the data management plan for your next research grant proposal. This online tool includes:

  • Current funding agency requirements for the NIH,  12 NSF directorates, NOAA, NEH-ODH, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and IMLS
  • Help text with suggestions and guidelines on composing each plan section
  • Links to Stanford-specific guidance, as well as general guidance from funding agencies and information about best practices
  • Suggested answer text for those interested in preserving data in the Stanford Digital Repository, and the ability to track, edit, share via pdf link, and export your plan

View the Site

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