Data Use and Sharing

Do I Need a Data Use Agreement?

The sharing or transfer of data within the George Washington University (GW) or with an external entity or organization will require a Data Use Agreement (DUA) between the provider and recipient.

What are Data Use Agreements?

DUAs are legally binding contracts between GW and another executing party that provide the terms for transferring data from the provider organization to the recipient organization.

Failure to follow DUA terms may result in significant liabilities including possible criminal sanctions as well as impacting the rights of the parties involved.

How to Initiate a Data Use Agreement?

The Office of Research Integrity & Compliance (ORIC) can draft DUAs or provide an approved template data transfer and use agreement (e.g., Federal Demonstration Partnership –Data Transfer and Use Agreement). ORIC will also review DUAs shared by data providers.

To begin the process, please complete the intake questions within the Agreements module in myResearch.

Initiate a DUA in myResearch

For detailed instructions, please view the orientation video “Agreement Creation” created by the Education and Training Unit within the Office of Sponsored Projects for instructions on completing a DUA. Instructions and guidance for DUAs begin around the 10:40 mark.

What are Faculty and Researchers’ Responsibilities?

ORIC will review DUA terms and conditions only. It is the responsibility of the faculty and researchers to ensure GW can comply with terms related to the administrative, technical, and physical safeguarding of their research data. Faculty and researchers are encouraged to consult with the GW Privacy Office, to review privacy compliance requirements and to determine the sensitivity of their research data (per the GW Data Classification Guide) and to follow requirements for data protection outlined in the Data Protection Guide.

ORIC strongly recommends faculty and researchers work with GW IT and GW Libraries to develop Data Management Plans (DMPs) that address access, protection, storage, and preservation of the data before submitting DUAs for review. Use of to create your DMP is recommended. GW Libraries provides a helpful guide related to DMPs, including a template. Follow the walkthrough to access the default template.

Who Reviews and Executes Data Use Agreements?

All DUAs involving GW as an executing party must be reviewed and approved by ORIC. ORIC will review DUA terms and conditions; propose or negotiate terms with the other party; and, when necessary, forward to partner units for consultation (e.g., Office of General Counsel, Office of Contracts and Insurance, and GW IT). ORIC will work with faculty and researchers to obtain additional information that may be required (e.g., documentation from the Office of Human Research or export-controlled information).

Upon request, ORIC can provide an explanation to DUA terms and conditions in which GW is a party. This recommended service allows faculty and researchers to understand their rights and responsibilities and those of the university.

Once the DUA review is complete, ORIC will forward the agreement to the designated institutional authority for signature. The Director of Research Integrity and Compliance within the Office of Research Integrity has been delegated with signatory authority to execute DUAs.

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document which outlines how a researcher or research team will receive/collect, secure, track/manage, and share (if applicable) research data. It may also include policies and standards pertaining to the data. In cases where data are being received from an outside entity, the DMP also documents specifically how the researcher will comply with the terms of the Data Use Agreement (DUA).

When are Data Management Plans Required?

DMPs are required to execute DUAs in which GW is receiving data. 

Contact Us

Email [email protected] if you have questions about Data Use Agreements, Data Management Plans, or how to get started.

COVID-19 Related Guidance

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts 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 in Data Management COVID 19 Guidelines.