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The Australian government, through research management/funding bodies, have published articles in relation to responsible research.

Ownerhip can be a very blurry line current day and age, but all entities/people associated with a research project have a role to play.  The list below is just a small sample of guidelines/suggestions:

  • Place the primary copy of you research data on a resilient storage environment as soon as possible after collecting/generating it.
  • Ensure that metadata exists for all research data and is easily associated with the research data - e.g., store in same location(s).
  • Where possible, identify and use resources/services provided by major research groups (national or international).
  • Maintain at least one more resilient copy of you data in a location that is geographically diverse from the primary copy.
  • Many researchers are collecting data (e.g., photos/video of nature) that can never be recaptured.  Above 4 points become critical and deletion of files should be very carefully considered in this case - e.g., you should ensure that data and/or metadata is not lost when modifying/converting the original files before deleting the originals.
  • Never delete files (data or metadata) associated with a publication.
  • Clean up (delete) files that have no value - e.g., if there is no metadata, the data may/will have no value.
  • Associate each of your publications with all research data/metadata them.
  • Use server class infrastructure (e.g., a HPC facility or cloud services) to perform all computational research.
  • Where possible, keep a record of software/hardware (inc. versions) used in computational research - this is metadata.
  • For researchers involved in software development, use version control software (e.g., git) and services (e.g., GitHub or BitBucket).
  • Ensure that you have permission (entitled/licensed) to use all software that is involved in your research project(s).
  • Ensure that you have permission to share your research before doing so, especially if your research involves sensitive data.

Never forget IT security:

  • When sharing data, read-only permissions are safer than read+write.  Will you be able to identify and revert all changes people with read+write privileges could make?
  • Don't share your account (or password) with anyone.  You could be held accountable for any/all actions associated with your account.
  • Key and certificate based authentication is more secure than password based authentication, providing you don't share private information associated with the authentication (e.g., passphrase and/or private key).
  • Two factor authentication is more secure than a password, key, or certificate authentication.  Preference providers that offer two factor authentication.
  • Always use and configure secure services/protocols (e.g., VPN).  Avoid using insecure/plain-text services protocols (e.g., http, telnet).
  • Keep all your computing environments up to date with security patches.

Efficiency & Sustainability:

  • Avoid re-inventing the wheel.  Search for software/libraries that reduce the burden of your programming efforts.
  • Preference higher level languages (e.g., R) for your programming efforts - will usually decrease time you spend in development.
  • Search for alternative algorithms/methods to computational research.  E.g., preference algorithms/software that can be run on multiple CPU cores in parallel.
  • On HPC facilities and cloud resources you have the ability to scale up.  Even if your software can only use 1 CPU core, you should be able to modify your workflow to run many jobs in parallel.
  • Think about the costs of your research plans.  E.g., Do you really need to use and store (long-term) 4K or raw-format video?

Responsible Locations for Research

ClassificationComputational Example(s)Storage Example(s)
Public cloudAWS, AzureAWS, Azure, OneDrive
Research cloudARDC (e.g., QRISCloud)ARDC (e.g., QRISCloud), AARNet CloudStor
HPC environmentsNCI, Pawsey, JCU HPCNCI, Pawsey, JCU HPC

Many national/international research programmes (e.g., GeoScience Australia) have facilties and, more importantly, services available for use.


PS. Contact eResearch or HPC staff if you need advice, clarification, and/or assistance.

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