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Policy & Procedure
Policy Title :
Research Record Keeping Policy
Policy Number :
V. 15
Responsible Party :
Research
Effective Date :
21/05/2015
Revised Date :
_______________________

Purpose

The purpose of the Research Record Keeping policy and its procedures are to ensure that a clear and proper accessible research records are well-kept and maintained.

Statement :

Keeping and documenting a research project is extremely important as a means of demonstrating excellence in research practice and conduct and in providing evidence of the results obtained and outcomes.  Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University policy on excellent research conduct requires that the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project ensures that clear and accurate records are maintained during the life of the project. 

The keeping and maintaining of research records serves also the purpose of any potential commercialization of the research project that may rise at any stage. In such instances, documented records provide a solid base for communicating the research and its output.

Research record keeping will ultimately ensure the protection of individual and institutional intellectual rights, e.g. the research copyrights and patent applications originating from research. It will also support the consistency and productivity in management and administration and ensures a better performance of activities within the university.

The outcomes of adapting a successful record keeping policy will: minimize the risk of mismanagement/corruption; provide better access for research records; ensure a better performance of researchers in the university and overall will lead to a better organizational accountability.

The policy applies to funded projects and is recommended to be followed in the conduct of any research. The policy lists the benefits of maintaining research record to the different divisions of the university, the means on implementation including the type of research records, the roles and responsibilities of the key personnel such as the principal investigator (PI) and co-investigators (CoIs), the heads of school/department and heads of research centers and the procedures for a successful application of the policy.

Policy Content

This policy applies to all records generated, received or maintained by the staff of the university in relation to a research activity. Records and any documentation generated in the course of research either internally- funded or eternally funded are subject to the record keeping requirements. Research record could be in either paper or electronic format and refers to four main areas related to the research: records documenting the research process, records documenting the products or outcomes, records documenting the management of the project and records documenting the data generated.

Implementation

PMU researchers should be educated about this policy and understand their role in keeping and maintain their research records. The responsibilities of each member and the procedures to ensure a successful, efficient and effective implementation are discussed in the responsibilities and procedure sections.

The University Research Council has the right to gain reasonable access to inspect the produced records and financial procedures associated with the research grants and projects.

The policy and its implementation will be evaluated regularly with the first review of the policy to take place after 12 months from its first implementations. The Dean of Research Development and the academic staff will be consulted during this evaluation. The evaluation criteria will investigate the degree of compliance with the policy and its effect on the University. The University Research Council will monitor the performance of the research record keeping policy. Regular audits of research record keeping shall take place to determine compliance. Audits will be conducted by appointed system administrator.

Responsibilities

PMU has an upper hand responsibility to maintain its research records. The Dean of Research Development has the overall responsibility for this policy.

Heads of departments as well as heads of Research Centers have an inclusive responsibility for the management of records generated by their departments’ research activities. All records are kept and maintained confidential.  

Responsibilities for the relevance, completeness, clarity and security of research evidence rests on the shoulders of the principal investigator (PI). The PI may delegate tasks to other research member of the team including the co-investigators (Co-PIs) and other staff including student researchers and their supervisors and, technical staff. In the case of managing records, the PI must define and document all the arrangement made.

Researchers must keep accurate and clear records of all the procedures followed and the approvals obtained through the research process. This involves initial results as well as the results of the final outcome.

In the case where the PI leaves the University, the head of school, dean of college or in exceptional situations, the dean of research should assume responsibility.

Procedures

Research records may include, but not limited to, details of research team, funding, relevant study documentation, data collection procedures, key data collection dates, data analysis, periodic updates on project progress, evidence of peer review, evidence of ethical and other approvals, etc.

Through the life of a research project, research records must be stored and indexed in an efficient manner to be retrieved quickly and easily. This applies for both paper based records and electronic records as follows:

  1. Electronic records: should be organized according to the University Research Council guidelines, where specified or in accordance with University protocols. Confidential electronic records must be protected with either password or other electronic security means. Electronic system should be centrally managed by the IT department and designated staff should ensure a proper backup for all record to prevent any loss of data.
  2. Hard copies (paper based documents) should be stored in resilient containers which are clearly labeled with easily identifiable information and should be securely stored in an allocated space. Confidential record should be locked away in restricted access locations.

In line with the responsibilities section above, the principal investigator (PI) is the designated staff member to maintain a record of all activities which relate to the handling of research records including the content, format, location, transferring or destruction.

In the case of the departure of a staff member, all data and research records for any funded project should remain the property of the university and are subject to the terms of this policy.

New employees who come with existing research contract are expected to comply with this policy when they commence their employment with the university.