There are a number of situations where it is important to know who has ownership of project data, including:
- Before sharing or publishing data
- When engaging in collaborative or cross-institutional projects
- When working at an institution or on a project in a limited time frame
In all of these cases, it’s important to understand whether there are any institutional or funder policies that impact data ownership.
In the case of collaborations, it’s important that all researchers come to an agreement at the beginning of the project about topics such as how and when the data will be used, and by whom.
If you’re a post-doc or a student, it’s especially important to have a conversation with your advisor or lab director to make sure that there is a plan in place for what happens to your data if and when you leave.