The removal of original data to another institution could, in principle, infringe upon the rights of individuals, other than the principal investigator, who may have vested interests in such data (e.g. the principal investigator’s collaborators). Neither does the removal of original data abrogate UTMB’s responsibilities to federal granting agencies, which hold UTMB responsible for maintenance and storage of data that were obtained as a result of federally‑funded experiments carried out by its faculty. Consequently, the removal of original data must be undertaken with a view toward protecting the rights of all individuals concerned, including the principal investigator, his or her collaborators, and UTMB.
A principal investigator who intends to remove original data should inform the Dean of their school of this intent. The principal investigator would normally be expected to retain custody of the data, on behalf of UTMB. As custodian, the principal investigator will remain bound by UTMB policies for storage and maintenance of data generated at UTMB, even though the investigator is no longer affiliated with this institution. Under certain circumstances, UTMB may exercise the right to retain the original data or to transfer custodianship of the original data to one or more of the principal investigator’s collaborators who remain affiliated with UTMB. Under such circumstances, the principal investigator may remove a copy of the original data. If the original data consist of specimens, tissue samples, histological slides, cell products, or other material that cannot be duplicated, then the disposition of such material will be determined by negotiation. The negotiation should involve the Dean of the faculty member’s school, the principal investigator, his or her collaborators, and any other individuals who may have legitimate rights that pertain to the data. Under some circumstances, it may be appropriate to involve the chairmen of concerned departments in the negotiations. As stated above, the objective of any such negotiation should be to insure that the rights of all interested parties are protected.
The final outcome of the negotiation must be approved by the Dean of the school involved. Under certain circumstances the collection, maintenance, and disposition of data are defined by contractual agreement. The terms and conditions of such contracts will remain in force if the principal investigator moves, unless the terms of the contract are altered by negotiation. For example, confidential data that are removed from UTMB remain bound by the IRB protocol under which the data were collected.