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Retention periods

Find out how long your data needs to be kept for
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You should adhere to the retention periods that pertain to your data. After the retention period is over you may choose to archive or dispose of your data.

Retention periods for research data vary depending on what the data is, and what research the data is related to. Retention periods are specified in:


Archiving options

  • Research data related to...
    Projects of national or international significance or of community or heritage value, projects that would be difficult or impossible to repeat, or areas such as gene therapy.
    Must be kept...
    Permanently
  • Research data related to...
    Projects involving human subjects with potential long-term effects.
    Must be kept...
    For 20 years after project ends, or until child subjects have reached 25 years of age
  • Research data related to...
    Projects with potential long-term environmental effects
    Must be kept...
    For 20 years after project ends
  • Research data related to...
    Patent applications
    Must be kept...
    For life of patent (usually 20 years)
  • Research data related to...
    Clinical trials
    Must be kept...
    For 15 years after trial ends or otherwise in accordance with applicable requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) or Department of Health and Ageing
  • Research data related to...
    All other research
    Must be kept...
    For 5 years after project ends
  • Research data related to...
    Short-term projects that are for assessment purposes only, such as projects completed by students
    Must be kept...
    For 12 months after project ends

You can delete the following types of data at any time, provided you no longer need them for reference or administrative purposes:

  • duplicate copies of data files
  • unused forms or templates
  • routine system logs
  • calibration or test data
  • temporary working copies of datasets used to prepare the final version
  • paper copies of data that have been captured in electronic form.

Disposal of research data

You must not destroy your data before the minimum retention period is up. You must only destroy data with the proper authorisation, documentation, and using secure data destruction methods. If you believe that your data is eligible for destruction, please contact Research Data team for advice on how to have it destroyed.