Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Data Archive

New ATSIDA data deposit licence agreement

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA) is a specialised research data archive that supports the sovereign rights of First Nations people to maintain, control, protect and develop their knowledges and representations. When Indigenous research data is deposited to ATSIDA, we collect a range of information to ensure that we are able to sustainably and accountably protect these rights for current and future generations.  One of the tools we use to collect information is a Data Deposit Licence Agreement.  This License Agreement sets out terms and conditions necessary for the data to enter our custody, and specifies the legal rights retained by the depositor and other key stakeholders. These rights include Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property and Moral rights. The License agreement also indicates any conditions or protocols that should inform our safekeeping of the data and any future uses of the data.

ATSIDA is pleased to share the latest version of our Data Deposit Licence Agreement. (145kB direct download .docx file)

This agreement has a number of elements that support a participatory and self-determined approach to managing Data:

  • Informed consent is a prerequisite – the depositor must show evidence that those involved in the research have given free, prior and informed consent for the deposit, retention and/or sharing of the data. This consent must remain valid at the time of deposit.
  • Supporting direct involvement – the depositor must provide the details of those involved in the research so that they may be supported to freely determine when, if or how data entering ATSIDA’s custody will be managed, accessed and used. Participant details can only be provided if consent has been obtained. Alternative arrangements for Indigenous data governance can be designated where an individual may not want to be identified or collective rights apply.
  • Securing Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights – ICIP and its owners are identified where ICIP is incorporated or referenced in the data. Ownership is not transferred in the Agreement.
  • As closed as necessary – the Agreement is flexible enough to support a range of access and use conditions, and can accommodate a variety of management plans and protocols.
  • For as long as required – the depositor can request to have data returned and removed from ATSIDA’s custody.

These elements enable Indigenous people to exercise ownership of data and have an active involvement in what happens to the data. Upholding the right of ownership and control guided all decisions we made when drafting this agreement. The ATSIDA Licence Agreement does not wrest ownership or control from the depositor or indigenous cultural owners, and at no point does ATSIDA own the deposited data as property.

The ATSIDA Deposit License agreement is a precondition of our ability to provide culturally appropriate and self-determined archival processes. It is one part of a broader set of procedures and behaviours – guided by our ATSIDA Protocols and ATSIDA Reference Group – that help to enable Indigenous people to control the use of their data and sustainably access their data. Our archival practice needs to be relational and the decisions made about data in our custody needs to be indigenous-led. This requires deep engagement with Indigenous perspectives, worldviews and ways of operating, and the building strong relationships. Above all, our work needs to provide for the cultural safety of Indigenous People and their knowledges.

ATSIDA was assisted by Terri Janke and Co in the development of the Data Deposit Licence Agreement. We owe them our tremendous gratitude.

This information can also be found in a Youtube video presentation at Research Support Community Day 2023, a community event for anyone involved in research support and related services.