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ACU Research Data Management Toolkit

This toolkit will help you to determine your research data management needs and create a data management plan that documents how data will be managed during the research process and after the project is completed.

What is sensitive data?

Sensitive data are data that can be used to identify an individual, species, object or location that introduces a risk of discrimination, harm or unwanted attention, The major categories of sensitive data are:

  • human medical/health and personal data, including information about secret or sacred practices; and
  • ecological data that may place vulnerable species at risk. (Australian National Data Service)

What is anonymisation?

Anonymisation is the process of turning data into a form which does not identify individuals and where identification is not likely to take place. Anonymisation may be needed for ethical reasons,for legal reasons or for commercial reasons. Personal data should not be disclosed from research information, unless a participant has given consent to do so.

Modifying sensitive data for publication/sharing

Sensitive data that has been anonymised can be openly published and shared. You will need to obtain informed consent from the participants in your study to allow for publication/sharing or their anonymised or de-identified data from the research.

The Sensitive Data: Publishing and Sharing - ANDS Guide outlines best practice for the publication and sharing of sensitive research data in the Australian context. This guide provides straightforward, step-by-step advice about what you need to know and do before publishing and sharing your sensitive data, including:

  • confidentialising your human and sensitive ecological data
  • what's legal

  • what to include in a consent form requesting data publication and sharing

  • sharing sensitive data that you did not collect (i.e. third party data)

  • making data discoverable: metadata

  • conditional access to data: what is it; how do I do it?

  • licensing your data

  • depositing your data

  • a comprehensive guide on most things you need to know about publishing sensitive data.