RES-002: Laboratory Notebook and Recordkeeping

Date: 06/23/2004 Status: Final
Last Revised: 03/17/2021
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
Applies To:

Academic Division and the College at Wise.

Reason for Policy:

The University is committed to the collection and maintenance, in an accessible format, of research records. Requirements have been established to support verification of the research processes undertaken and of the resulting data.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Data (2):

    The results of research procedures.

  • Laboratory Notebook:

    The logbook of all processes and procedures performed in the course of research which shall be kept in such a manner as to enable an investigator to reproduce the steps taken.

Policy Statement:

The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of the utmost importance in the conduct of research. The investigator and all research fellows, assistants, technicians, and students involved in research activities, shall maintain complete and verifiable records of the procedures they have followed in pursuing all research, and the subsequent data they have thereby obtained.

Individuals responsible for supervising the conduct of research are encouraged to regularly discuss their expectations and any applicable requirements (e.g., University, regulatory, or sponsor) for research data management (e.g., collection, storage, access, sharing, security, and backup) as part of broader discussions about research ethics and integrity.

  1. Recording and Storage of Laboratory Data:
    The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of the utmost importance in the conduct of research, and it is the responsibility of each investigator to maintain such records in a secure location. Investigators are encouraged to maintain backup files of research data in a separate location in the event primary records are lost, e.g., due to system failure or natural disaster.

  2. Data Ownership and Records Management:
    Data and notebooks resulting from sponsored research are the property of the University of Virginia.

    It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to retain all raw data in laboratory notebooks (or other appropriate format) in accordance with the requirements of IRM-017: Records Management and associated schedules and standards. Research records must be retained for at least five years after completion of the research project (i.e., publication of a paper describing the work, or termination of the supporting research grant, whichever comes first) unless required to be retained longer by contract, law, regulation, or by some reasonable continuing need to refer to them.

  3. Research Data Security:
    The notebook or logbook shall be kept in a secure location where it cannot be removed by an unauthorized person.

    Per IRM-003: Data Protection of University Information, University records, including research records, must be safeguarded in accordance with the applicable data protection standard and procedures; unpublished research data (inputs or results) are categorized as “sensitive data” or “highly sensitive data.” When a discrepancy exists between a University data protection standard and an applicable external data protection standard the more stringent will apply and must be implemented to safeguard the data. See the Research Data Security content on the Vice President for Research’s website for information on sponsor requirements/expectations and links to UVA resources available to support research.

  4. Transfer of Data (Original or Copies):
    Principal investigators leaving the University of Virginia may transfer research data to another institution, provided that the Vice President for Research is informed of this transfer and approves of it. This shall be subject to the proviso that the University is given written assurance that the data will be retained for the required five-year minimum retention period and be made available to the University upon request.

    Research fellows, students, and visitors working on UVA sponsored research may take copies of research data with them when leaving the University only if approved in writing by the principal investigator. Such approval should occur as part of the off-boarding process.

  5. Compliance with Policy:
    Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is subject to University policy RES-004: Research Misconduct.

    Failure to comply with requirements of this policy and/or its standards may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Violation of this policy may also violate federal, state, or local laws.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Related Information:

IRM-003: Data Protection of University Information
Data Protection Standards, Procedures and Guidance
IRM-017: Records Management
Records Standards and Guidelines
RES-004: Research Misconduct

Major Category: Research Administration
Next Scheduled Review: 03/17/2024
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 06/23/2004
Revision History: Revised 3/17/21.
Supersedes (previous policy):
XV.E.5: Recordkeeping (Notebook).