Accurate and detailed research records are an essential component of any research project whether supported by University resources or by external funders. Cornell researchers (faculty, staff, and students who are involved in the design, conduct, or reporting of research at, or under the auspices of, Cornell University, including Weill Cornell Medicine), and the University share in this responsibility as outlined in the University Policy 4.21.  Each research team member needs to understand their role in data retention and their specific responsibilities. 

Definition of Research Data:

Research data is defined as the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues, as defined in 2 CFR 200.315 (e) (3).

How to comply with the Research Data Retention Policy?

To ensure researchers understand their research data retention responsibilities, Cornell researchers are required to complete a CU Learn Course “RSRCH-OVPRI-101 Research Data Retention Policy 4.21.” The course includes the following:

  1. An overview of the policy, describing its principles, to whom it applies, and the need for such a policy; and
  2. The required attestation that the researcher understands and will comply with the terms of the policy.

The required course will take about 5 minutes. Once completed, you will have fulfilled the attestation requirement and only be asked to complete the course in the future if there are policy changes.

Who to Contact to Review My Research Program and Data Retention Requirements?

The following resources provide support for research data retention requirements: