Research Records Retention

At the direction of Provost Steve Hyman during the 2010-2011 academic year, the Sponsored Administration Leadership Committee (“SALC”), in collaboration with faculty and administrators at several Schools, the University Chief Information Officer, the University Archives, the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Technology Development, outlined a set of basic principles to guide the retention and maintenance of research records by Harvard faculty and staff.  In June 2011, outgoing Provost Steve Hyman and incoming Provost Alan Garber adopted these Principles and appointed Anne Margulies, University CIO, and Karen Emmons, HSPH Associate Dean for Research, to chair an ad hoc committee comprised of faculty and administrators to expand upon these principles and to prepare guidance applying these principles to the wide range and various methods of research at Harvard.  

The Committee developed the Retention and Maintenance of Research Records and Data Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs"), organized by Principle.  The FAQs establish the minimum University requirements for research records and data retention.  Each School must appoint a representative responsible for research records and data retention issues, consider discipline-specific issues and provide further guidance beyond these minimal requirements, consistent with best practices of the disciplines contained within that School.  The Provost’s Office is charged with assuring that each School appoints such a representative and develops discipline-specific additional guidance for each School that will be consistent with the Principles and this guidance.