Data retention and disposal

Data retention and disposal

Researchers will be required to specify in their data application form:

  • the length of time that they require access to the datasets they request;
  • how long the data will be stored for after the completion of the project (data retention period); and
  • why the dates for the data retention period of time has been chosen.

The date that data will be returned/destroyed will also be outlined in the Researcher Agreements. As specified in the Researcher Agreement, researchers are only permitted to access the data they receive for the specified time agreed. Researchers may apply through the data linkage unit and relevant Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) for an extension to the data retention expiry date if required.

Researchers will also be required to specify how the information, in all forms, will be disposed. The data disposal method must be approved by the data linkage unit(s), data custodian(s) and HRECs involved.


If the linked data was provided via SURE, access to the SURE will be terminated when the data retention period expires, unless an amendment to extend the data retention date has been submitted and approved.

After a research study is completed, files stored for that project workspace will be archived to tape and/or optical disc (depending on the size and quantity of files that need to be archived) and stored at a secure facility in an encrypted format. These will be retained for the period nominated on the project workspace registration form for each study. Restoration of a project workspace from its archived state can be requested and performed at a cost. Research outputs and other artefacts may be able to be retained by researchers as well as archived. Requests for restoration by researchers must be made prior to the end of the SURE retention period.

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PHRN COVID-19 Offering

Our network remains open. The network is interoperable and can source expertise, technology and data from around the country. Our expert staff are highly qualified and experienced in linkage of patient data, including population-based administrative data (such as hospital admissions, notifiable diseases and death data) as well as linkage of research cohort data. In addition, we provide secure file transfer and secure remote access services. We are able to work with other NCRIS capabilities to deliver coordinated access to national research infrastructure.

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