Data management

Swinburne implements confidentiality and security standards for the collection, retention and disposal of research data. These standards comply with statutory, ethical and funding body requirements.

We are also committed to optimising the benefits of research by making data accessible so it can be of benefit to the academic and wider community.

Managing research data

Swinburne Research is responsible for the University meeting its commitment to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. These procedures and guidelines should be read with the University’s People, culture and integrity policy which outlines the regulatory and policy framework for academic conduct at Swinburne University of Technology. Specifically, the University's policy on the Management of Research Data

The management of research data is an essential component of all research. These guidelines and procedures outline the critical steps for meeting the requirements of the above policy and provide practical advice for researchers for achieving compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, jointly developed and issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC), and Universities Australia. The code assigns researchers and their institutions the responsibility of addressing ownership, storage and retention, access to, and sharing of research data.

Laboratory Notebook Guidelines

Researchers and all those involved in research are responsible for retaining clear, accurate and complete records of all research and where possible allow access and reference to these records by interested parties (Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research).

The purpose of a lab notebook is to provide a record with sufficient detail to enable anyone with a certain level of expertise to be able to understand what was done. Lab notebooks can be vital in establishing ownership of IP and to verify procedures and avoid claims of scientific misconduct.

Good record keeping also ensures that you have an accurate record of your studies which can help you write your thesis or that next paper. A good lab notebook does not need to be wordy or use complete sentences but it should be comprehensive and unambiguous. There should be enough information about each experiment so that the experiment can be independently reproduced based on what was recorded.

Lab notebooks should be bound with consecutively-numbered pages such as the ones available at the Swinburne Bookstore. If an electronic lab notebook is to be used then at a minimum any electronic system must be able to identify who created the record, the date of creation, and have a means of ensuring that the record can’t be amended without a record of the amendment.

Lab notebooks remain the property of Swinburne and must remain at Swinburne even if you leave the University. In each lab a log book should be kept of the lab notebooks numbers, location and where any other files or data (electronic or other format) relating to the lab notebooks are stored.

Essential requirements when using lab notebooks:

  • Lab notebooks should be sequentially numbered.
  • Entries should be made in ink not pencil.
  • The date should be entered on each page of the lab notebook.
  • Title and purpose of experiment, and details of experimental plan should be stated.
  • Equipment to be used listed
  • All personnel involved in the experiment, including external participants, other lab members should be listed.
  • Any non-standard abbreviations clarified.
  • Results should be entered as soon as possible after they are obtained.
  • Any photographs or other printed documents should be stuck in.
  • Any data (electronic or hardcopy) that is kept separately from the lab notebook should be clearly indicated in the lab notebook with location and type of storage.

Non-essential but best practise:

  • Any photographs or other printed documents that are stuck in should be signed across the border to indicate that they have not been added later.
  • If a mistake is made, a line should be drawn through the incorrect entry. A notation should be made as to why the entry was incorrect. Correction fluid or erasers should never be used, and pages must never be removed from the lab notebook.
  • Blank sections or pages should have a single diagonal line drawn through.
  • Each page should be signed and, if possible, signed by a witness who observed the experiment.

Support contacts

Swinburne Research

  • Please contact Research Information Services (RIS) for general queries about research data management at ris@swin.edu.au
  • Please contact the grants team for all data management advice regarding ARC and NHMRC applications at resgrants@swin.edu.au

Swinburne IT

  • Please contact the Swinburne IT service desk if you require data to be stored/archived on the Research Storage Disk at ServiceDesk@swin.edu.au