Intellectual property (IP) rights are inherent in any work created or invented with the intellectual effort of an individual, and can include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. IP can cover the ownership and retention of data. Generally, raw data are not considered copyright or patentable, but they may still be valuable in terms of protecting copyrights or patents.
As a researcher you should clarify who has primary ownership of the data, and whose rights should be considered when making decisions about the management and dissemination of the data (such as funders, research subjects, collaborators, publishers, etc.). Intellectual property should be clarified and documented at the beginning of your project to prevent unexpected limitations or expectations.
When re-using data, your responsibilities include:
- Identifying ownership of the data
- Obtaining permission to use the data (if necessary)
- Understanding any limitations if the data is licensed
- Citing the data appropriately