- Originally issued: 5/24/2013
- Last revised: 4/4/2022
- PDF version of DUA Incoming Data Process
A Data Use Agreement (DUA) is a binding contract between organizations governing the transfer and use of data. The transfer of data between organizations is common in the research community. When the data is confidential, proprietary, or otherwise considered sensitive, the organization providing the data (“Provider”) will often require that the organization receiving the data (“Recipient”) enter into a written contract to outline the terms and conditions of the data transfer. Such a contract is referred to as a DUA and must be signed by a Harvard Chan School Institutional Authorized Signatory in the Office of Research Administration (“ORA”).
Note: DUAs may not be signed by University faculty or staff members in the absence of institutional approval from the appropriate Negotiating Office.
Process for Incoming DUA
Harvard has expanded its Huron IRB-ESTR system to include two new modules: DUA-Agreements and Data Safety. The new modules are in response to the recent rise in data security requirements and regulations.
This updated process for data use agreements (DUA) is for when a Harvard Chan researcher requests access to another party’s data - referred to as INCOMING DATA (PDF version of process). There is a separate process similar to this one dealing with Harvard Chan researchers sending data out to another party.
Purpose of Process
The past few years have seen a sharp increase of specific data security regulatory requirements throughout the world for research data. Due to the evolving landscape of data safety laws and standards (e.g., GDPR, FISMA, NIST, CMMC, PIPL etc.), the need for Harvard to be able to track more closely its research data commitments has become a necessity. This document updates Harvard Chan School’s DUA process to align with the new DUA and Data Safety modules to the ESTR/Huron system.
- A DUA cannot be signed/finalized until there is IRB approval (or a not human subjects determination) and Data Safety approval as well as the terms and conditions having been reviewed and, where necessary, negotiated.
- The “Owner” in the DUA module is merely a system distinction. This person is only responsible for reviewing and, were necessary, negotiating the terms of the DUA. The researcher responsible for making sure IRB/no-human-subjects and data safety are completed and related to the DUA record.
- You can start the data review in any of the three modules and navigate between the modules from any other. MAKE SURE TO RELATE the records from each module
Data you are asking to use may be subject to IRB approval given the nature of the data.
- You can either connect with an IRB specialist in the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Research Compliance (ORARC).
- If you believe the data to not be human subjects you can follow the IRB’s not human subjects guidance (the not human subjects form is also located in the DUA record you create).
- Data you are asking to use may be subject to IRB approval given the nature of the data.
- Most datasets require some type of security measure to keep it safe from those not authorized to use it. Penalties for breaches can be steep either financially, administratively, or likely both. These penalties would affect not only you, but the Harvard Chan School and Harvard University.
- The Harvard Chan School has a dedicated Research Computing resource.
DUA Terms and Conditions
- This is the actual content of a DUA that outlines your responsibilities as well as Harvard’s, as requested by the data provider (or by law), in storing, using, and disposing of the data.
- Access the DUA module
Often the terms are not unlike those you may find in a research grant/agreement, such as:
- Intellectual property
- Data Security
The DUA is reviewed and, if needed, negotiated pursuant to Harvard’s policies and practices by the Harvard Chan School’s Office of Research Administration (ORA).
- ORA manages the DUA-Agreements module only. The IRB manages ESTR and Data Safety manages the Data Safety module
PLEASE NOTE: A DUA CANNOT be signed by Harvard until the IRB and Data Safety approvals are satisfied.
- If you are certifying to not-human-subjects, you need to upload the completed IRB questionnaire referenced in section 1.ii above to the “Supporting Documents” area of the DUA record.
- You can also access the not-human-subjects determination questionnaire in the DUA system
- Read the DUA-Agreements Submission Guide
RELATE YOUR ENTRIES
- The system that ESTR, Data Safety, and DUAs are modules of allows you to “relate” records between the modules.
- This is a key function that allows the three offices (ORARC, IT Security, and ORA) having a roll in finalizing a DUA to see the status of each record. An ORA reviewer can easily see if IRB and/or Data Safety has been approved, making finalizing a DUA quicker and efficient.
- Office of the Vice Provost’s Research Data Management
- Harvard Chan School’s Research Computing
- HUIT Research Administration and Compliance Systems
 FISMA – Federal Information Security and Modernization Act; NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology; CUI – Controlled unclassified information (see also NIST 800-171 found at the NIST link above); FERPA – Family educational Rights and Privacy Act
 PIPL: China’s Personal Information Protection Law