Legal issues

Legal issues affect your data throughout your project. The University therefore has a lot of information to help you understand your rights, obligations, and responsibilities.

Intellectual property rights

Almost every kind of output is a form of intellectual property. Although IPR is often less tangible than other forms of property, it nevertheless shares the same essential characteristics: it has an owner, it can be bought, it can be sold, it can be rented and it can be stolen. This applies to your research data too. Read more on your IPR.

Freedom of information and data protection

There are 2 substantial pieces of legislation that impact the information and data that is stored in computers, systems and data file storage owned by the University. These are the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Freedom of Information Act (2000).

University policies

The University has a series of agreed policies and regulations (UPRs) relating to research and data management. In the first instance, you should check Appendix III IM12 Data management Policy – University Guide to Research Data management. Other UPRs may be relevant to your individual case. All of the University of Hertfordshire UPRs are available on StaffNet, the University intranet.


The University is committed to the principle of open access. Researchers are expected to make their research data available to all unless explicitly restricted on the grounds of: personal privacy, legal requirements, commercial confidentiality, or other recognised good reason. To protect your intellectual property rights and to control how your research data is used and re-used, the University recommends the internationally recognised standard of the Creative Commons model. Read more on licences.