HIEv Data Policy

This document outlines the policies that underpin the HIEv application so that it is used to the best of its ability, whilst remaining responsible and fair for all users, and is an agreement undertaken by any user upon registration and login to HIEv.

Related Policies

The HIEv Data Policy is designed to work in concert with other related policy documents, and in particular, Western Sydney University’s ‘Open access to research policy’, the ‘Australian Code of Conduct for Research’, as well as any HIE ‘Facility’ policies, e.g. EucFACE, that may exist in regards to research data generated as part of that facility. Registered HIEv users should adhere to any policies and requirements outlined in those documents when operating inside HIEv. Whilst these policies act to further strengthen and inform the current policy, they at no time override any of the terms outlined in this document within the context of HIEv.

HIEv user accounts

  • Any employee within HIE is entitled to register and be granted access to HIEv. This includes researchers, PhD students, technical and admin/support staff.
  • Individuals external to HIE may be granted access to HIEv if it is shown that there is substantial collaboration occurring on data with a current member(s) of HIE.
  • External users will by default be added as ‘non-institutional’ members of HIEv, meaning that they will be given access only to data that has been explicitly assigned.

Passwords/API keys

  • HIEv, by default, enforces a level of security on passwords. Nevertheless, individuals should ensure that all passwords are reasonably complex and difficult for unauthorised people to guess. A password should be unique, with meaning only to the individual who chooses it. That means dictionary words, common phrases and even names should be avoided.
  • HIEv users must not share their passwords or API keys with any other individual, including supervisors, managers, IT staff members, etc. Everyone who needs access to a system will be given their own unique password.
  • If the security of a password is in doubt– for example, if it appears that an unauthorised person has logged in to your account — the password must be changed immediately.

HIEv Data Download and Reuse

In order to promote deposit of data into HIEv, whilst protecting the efforts made by individuals in compiling particular datasets, it is imperative that investigators must have a reasonable opportunity for first use of data they have collected, and receive appropriate scientific recognition for having designed the research and collected data. This may potentially include co-authorship of publications based in whole or part on these data; with specifics, context, common sense, and open dialogue determining the most logical and appropriate course of action in each instance. To this end, the following core agreements form the basis of data reuse in HIEv, and agreement with such is a requisite for registration and access to HIEv:

  1. Registered HIEv users may freely browse data within HIEv as well as download data for further exploratory needs. This includes both automated datasets from facility sensor networks etc, as well as researcher-uploaded data.  
  2. At the outset of any scientific study making use of data sourced from HIEv, it is highly recommended that a dialog is opened between the data downloader and the data owner/Facility P.I. In particular this is to:
    • Ensure a full understanding of the dataset involved (beyond what may be contained in the file metadata, and for example, include information relevant to the dataset that may not have been envisaged at the time of data upload).
    • Allow the data creator to have potential beneficial input to the study being undertaken, as well as promote further collaboration around the dataset.
    • Allow the data creator to relay any particular details of the data (not immediately evident in the file metadata) that may affect its suitability in the proposed study.
    • Ensure that the same, or similar, study is not already underway with that dataset
    • Allow the data downloader to feed back information to the data owner that may lead to an improvement in the dataset and/or associated metadata.
  3. Should data sourced from HIEv be used in any scientific communication, poster/talk etc, or scientific publication, it is a mandatory requirement that the author(s) approach the data owner prior to submission/presentation, allowing for an ‘opt-in’ approach on authorship.  If the data owner feels they should be acknowledged or offered participation as authors, they will inform the author and an agreement on such matters will be reached prior to using the data in a presentation or manuscript. The ‘Common Sense Approach to Authorship’ (see appendix) will form the basis of discussions around data owner attribution.

Data Upload

The effectiveness of HIEv as a means for data discovery and data reuse depends strongly on the quality of metadata supplied during file upload. In order to promote maximum discoverability and reuse of data, it is requirement that data uploaders make sufficient effort in documenting any data files that they should upload. This should include a thorough description as well as completion of all known metadata parameters. Uploaders should also strive to follow any data conventions (file naming conventions, data structures etc) that may be in place for the particular facility under which they are uploading data. In addition, it is the responsibility of data owners to update data descriptions/metadata with any new information that may arise following initial upload that serves to improve full understanding of data hosted within HIEv.    

Sharing of HIEv data with non-registered users

Data hosted in HIEv should not be shared with individuals who are not registered in HIEv, including non-registered members of HIE, without the express permission of the data owner. In the case of automated data, you should seek the permission of the Principal Investigator or Manager of the facility from which the data was generated.  


‘Common Sense’ approach to Authorship

The intent of this policy is to promote collaboration and encourage broad use of HIEv data, while ensuring that the intellectual property rights of researchers are recognized and protected. To help illustrate a common sense approach to authorship, we give two “book-end” examples.

In the first, imagine a researcher Q from outside HIE who wants to do a meta-analysis of elevated CO2 effects on property X, and wishes to use three published data points from EucFACE along with 997 data points from 49 other elevated CO2 experiments.  Unless Q for some reason invites all contributors to be co-authors, here is a case where co-authorship by any EucFACE researcher is not warranted, as he/she has already published the data and the EucFACE data represent a tiny fraction of the data used in the analyses.  In the second, imagine researcher R plans a meta-analysis of elevated CO2 effects on property Y, and wishes to use 177 published data points from EucFACE along with 223 data points from 3 other elevated CO2 experiments.  In this example, researcher B, who was responsible (i.e. data owner or owners) for the collection of the 177 data points from EucFACE should be offered co-authorship (even though the data were published) because these data represent a considerable fraction of all data being used in the analysis.  In this case, if another EucFACE researcher had also substantially contributed to this work, she/he might also warrant possible co-authorship, given the strong EucFACE footprint on the work to be done.

Note that if an offer of co-authorship is accepted, having provided access to archived samples or data is insufficient contribution to qualify for co-authorship. Significant participation in data analyses, interpretation, and/or writing are also essential to warrant co-authorship.  Between these two extremes is an enormous spectrum of possibilities.  Common sense suggests that contributing one of ten or fifteen (or fewer) data sets used in a synthesis might warrant serious consideration of possible co-authorship, whereas contributing one of forty or fifty might not.  We recognize these are arbitrary distinctions, but we want to emphasize, as done by Kueffer et al. 2011, that in this age of data accessibility, there must be some incentive for data collectors, or logic would dictate that we all choose the role of data user.