Data Management COVID-19 Guidelines

The current circumstances and COVID-19 response may introduce challenges in data sharing, management, and protection pursuant to data use agreements and data management plans.

The Office of Research Integrity within the Office of the Vice President for Research, in partnership with the Privacy Office, GW Information Technology (IT), School and College IT, and Libraries and Academic Innovation, provides the following COVID-19 related guidance to the research community.

Safeguarding data and information while working remotely is everyone’s responsibility.

Through data use agreements, researchers have access to sensitive information which may include personal and student records, personal health information, and other research data protected by statutes and regulations. Data management plans outline how data will be managed and documented throughout a research project, including the appropriate security and privacy controls for complying with data use agreements.

We understand that current challenges may compel principal investigators to revisit executed data use agreements and data management plansto ensure compliance with data use agreement terms and conditions and GW policies involving security and privacy. New or heightened safeguards may be necessary for storage and transfer of data and other files. For example, exclusive use of GW Box or encryption of data in transit and at rest may be necessary. We are reaching out to sponsors and data providers to seek updated data management recommendations and guidance during this time.

We encourage researchers to review the Data Classification Guide, Data Protection Guide, related GW IT policies, and to update their data management plans in accordance with any changes required by current circumstances. In addition, please work with GW and local IT to ensure data are secure during this time and foreseeable future. Please note, if the institution is unable to safeguard the data access process, the data should not be accessed and a risk analysis should be considered.

Should you encounter impediments in following data protection requirements (as outlined in data management plans, data use agreements, and/or GW requirements for data protection), contact the Office of Research Integrity ([email protected]) for further guidance.

Additional Resources for data protection can be found on the GW Privacy website: