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Why should you preserve research information?

Stockholm University is a public authority and is thus, like all other authorities, responsible for keeping an archive of public documents. According to the Archives Act (1990: 782), the research information created in connection with a research project must be preserved, kept in order and cared for so that it satisfies the principle of public access to information, legal justice, the needs of the administration and as well as the needs of research.

Research information includes research data, research results and other related research documents. To enable the reuse of the research information, you also need to preserve any information that helps provide a good understanding of what happened and why during the research project and how research data should be interpreted. Each department is responsible for its public records (allmänna handlingar) that form part of Stockholm University's archive. Each department also has a designated records manager (arkivvårdare). The head of the department (prefekt) is responsible for the department's archives.

The Archives Act (1990:782)
Förklaring av allmän handling och arbetshandling (information on public records, only in Swedish)

Preserve proactively

You typically preserve material at the end of a project but you can save valuable time if you think about what information you need to keep and possibly preserve and what you can dispose of from the start. The records management plan, section five, (dokumenthanteringsplan) lists many document types that can be created in a research project. It clarifies which documents you need to preserve, which documents you can dispose of and after which disposal notice (gallringsfrist). If a document needs to be registered, you must submit it to the registrar or another designated person at your institution. As of yet, the records management plan is only available in Swedish. You can always consult the records manager (arkivvårdare) at your department, the central Archives and Registrar Office or the Research Data Management Team for support on what to keep and preserve and how. Digitally created documents must be digitally preserved.

Records management plan (Dokumenthanteringsplan: Verksamhetsområde 5, Forskning. Only available in Swedish)

Dispose of, keep, preserve

Not everything should be kept or preserved. Work documents can be disposed of when they are deemed unnecessary or irrelevant. Public documents, however, can only be disposed of if a disposal decision (gallringsbeslut) in the regulations allows it. The Swedish National Archives (Riksarkivet) is the authority that produces general regulations and general guidelines that apply to all state authorities that store public documents. For certain regulations, the authorities must decide how the regulation is to be applied to their authority. The records management plan is based on The Swedish National Archives’ (Riksarkivet's) regulations and our application decisions (tillämpningsbeslut). The records management plan states which documents you need to preserve, which documents you can dispose of and after which disposal notice period. The records management plan has six different sections. You find the research information in section five, but your research project can also include documents from other sections.

At the end of the research project, you gather the documents you must preserve and those with a long disposal notice period. You dispose of any remaining work documents or public documents of temporary and insignificant importance (tillfällig och ringa betydelse). If you have documents registered in W3D3, you do not need to preserve them yourself. However, note their record numbers in your documentation about the project. Research data should be kept in secure storage for at least 10 years after the project end. Ask the head of your department which storage solutions are available at your department. If your research data is pseudonymised, the code key must be stored in another secure storage, separate from the data itself.

For questions regarding what you should preserve and what you can dispose of, contact the designated records manager (arkivvårdare) at your department, the central Archives and Registrar Office, or the Research Data Management Team.

Stockholm University's applications of The Swedish National Archives regulations and guidelines

Examples of research information that must be kept or preserved

Administrative documents, e.g.

  • Applications and funding decisions, including those that have been rejected
  • Transfer of confidentiality according to The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act Chapter 11 Section 3 (Överföring av sekretess)
  • Ethical vetting of research involving humans and other permits to conduct research on, e.g. animals and chemical substances 
  • Data Management Plan.

Economic documents, e.g.

  • Financial interim and final reports to the funder.

Research data, e.g.

  • Research data (raw and processed).
  • Consent forms and information about the processing of personal data.
  • Code keys, variable list or codebook explaining the variables in your data.
  • Methodology descriptions.
  • Templates and forms.
  • Software, computer code used to perform analyses.
  • In addition, all information needed to understand the material.

Publications and other research outputs, e.g.

  • Theses, interim and final reports, papers and presentations.

What do researchers not have to preserve themselves?

Formal publishing of research data and research results facilitates preservation as the publishing renders the material more FAIR. Listed below are examples of when researchers do not have to make any additional efforts to preserve the material in the university archives.

  • Research data published in the data repositories that the research data management team curates. (If you only published metadata and not data files however you may need to preserve the actual data files. Data including personal or sensitive personal data is not a reason not to preserve the research data.)
  • Fulltext publications uploaded in DiVA.
  • Data Management Plans created in DMPonline.
  • Documents registered in W3D3.

It is the researcher’s responsibility to preserve all other documents required by the regulations.

Publish in line with the FAIR principles
Data repositories curated by the Research Data Management Team at Stockholm University
Search in DiVA
DMPonline

Preservation in the university archives

Each research project is unique. Once you are ready to preserve your material in the university archives, contact the central Archives and Registrar Office. The goods department (Fastighetsavdelningens godsmottagning) can assist you in delivering material to the university archives.

How to archive (Arkivering av handlingar, only available in Swedish)
The goods department

Can your research project be disclosed?

Research data are normally public documents. They can therefore be requested, at the department or the archive regardless of where at SU they are stored. Before research data has been purged or been formally archived, it must be stored securely at the department, in consultation with archivists with the same data protection measures as during processing. In the event that research data is requested, it must be organized and documented by the researcher herself or someone in her place so that an examination for secrecy can be performed.

If there is no secrecy provision that may cover the information in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009: 400), the document is official and must be disclosed. If there is a secrecy provision that covers parts of the information, the uncovered parts must be disclosed.

Public access to information and secrecy
Secrecy at Stockholm University (Sekretessbestämmelser vid Stockholms universitet, only available in Swedish)

Contact

For questions regarding preservation, you are always welcome to contact the designated records manager (arkivvårdare) at your department, the central Archives and Registrar Office or the Research Data Management Team.

The central Archives and Registrar Office  
Questions on preservation in the university archives.
E-mail: arkivet@su.se

Research Data Management Team
Questions on research data management, publishing and preservation.
E-mail: opendata@su.se

The goods department (Fastighetsavdelningens godsmottagning)
Delivery of material to the university archives.
E-mail: gods@su.se