Data Use Licenses

Data Use licenses have these purposes and characteristics: data use situations where UT is collecting-or is provided- confidential (non-personal identifiable information) data or unstructured information from a sponsor or non-sponsor for use in research where UT’s researchers are analyzing, aggregating, de-identifying or otherwise manipulating the data/information in order to perform department, single sponsored research or IAP research and perhaps produce a publishable report on the research (including theses and dissertations) that does not violate the confidentiality of the original data/information. The licenses quite often cover oil and gas production, engineering, geological and geophysical data. The licenses can be for short or long-term research use by departments under IAPs, student and department research. Such licenses do not include HIPAA or FERPA data (note that personal identifiable data is handled under a similar but unique document called a data use agreement (as opposed to a license). OIE and OSP have the responsibility for reviewing and signing data use agreements, in coordination with the department. In all such cases, internal confidential control data plans are required for the handling of data.

Data use licenses may arrive and appear as an NDA or named in a certain way by the company who is sharing their data sets. No matter what the document may be titled, it is important to understand context and purpose and determine:

  • what research is being performed
  • what is the exact data being provided or collected
  • permitted uses and access by researchers, including length of time needed
  • how to control further transfers of data, including how the data will be protected and stored at UT
  • perform export review
  • determine rights to arising IP
  • define confidentiality, including term
  • allow uses in publications; recognition; dissemination of results. A company should fully understand and support the fact that the researcher/student will have to publish and excepting raw or confidential information, there can be no provisions that restrict publication rights.
  • establish any warranties and liabilities

OSP and OIE will negotiate and sign data use licenses under Industrial Affiliate Programs or where funded sponsored projects are involved. Data Use Licenses will be reviewed and signed by the Business Contracts Office when no IAPs or sponsored projects are involved.

The process for OIE will consist of:

  • The negotiator will review the terms against the context (see above determination examples).
  • The PI will draft a description of the purpose of using the data for the research, exactly how the PI and department are storing and handling confidential data and/or databases, and confirm compliance with the minimum security measures for Category I data in accordance with the ISO guidelines. The PI will ensure that the department Chair and Associate Dean are informed about the Data Use License and protection plan, as appropriate.
  • Every individual who will have access to the data will have to read the agreement and provide their written agreement to comply. It is the PI’s responsibility to comply with this requirement on an ongoing basis, since new research participants may gain access.

Pertinent Office(s):

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