SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Research Ethics Advice Records

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

Research Ethics Advice Records

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

Research Ethics, Office of

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
Research Ethics Advice Records (Paper) CY + 2 years 5 years CY + 7 years Full Retention by Archives
Research Ethics Advice Records (Electronic) S/O Nil S/O Destruction

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records relating to the provision of advice by the Director of the Office of Research Ethics (DORE) to members of the University community on all aspects of ethics in human research. In particular, advice may relate to the interpretation of the principles set forth in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, SFU Policy R20.01, Ethics Review of Research Involving Human Subjects, and the preparation of applications for ethics approval of research projects and protocols.

Records include correspondence, memoranda and e-mail.

See also RRSDA 2003-007, Research Ethics Education Records.


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

The records provide evidence of the formulation of decisions relating to policy interpretation and ethics oversight procedures. Thus, the records have administrative value as a reference resource, documenting decision-making and precedents set by the DORE. The recommended total retention period (CY + 7 years) is sufficient to meet the ORE's administrative need for these records.

Retention and filing guidelines

Research Ethics Advice Records are created, maintained and used as part of the record-keeping system of the Office of Research Ethics which acts as secretariat to the Research Ethics Board. Advice records should be coded according to the ORE's file classification plan (see EE001, Advice).

The majority of the inquiries and responses to requests for ethics advice are communicated through the use of e-mail. The DORE should create a folder directory structure in his/her personal e-mail account space that mimics the secondaries relating to advice in the ORE file classification plan. Substantive e-mail communications, such as those that contribute to an understanding of the evolution or interpretation of ethics policy, should be printed and filed. Such e-mail can contribute significantly to the corporate memory of the ORE. Once printed and filed, delete the electronic equivalent of the message from the e-mail application in which it is stored. The printed version will be treated as authoritative, making the electronic version transitory. Non-substantive e-mail communications, such as those relating to scheduling and appointments, should also be treated as transitory and deleted when they are no longer of any use. Transitory records are produced to complete an action or document; once the action or document is complete and finalized, the preparatory records should be destroyed. See RRSDA 1999-061, Transitory Records.

At the end of the active retention period (CY + 2 years), box and transfer the paper files to the University Records Centre (URC). For each box prepare a box contents listing, itemizing all files contained in the box. Always include ONE copy of the file list inside the box sent to the URC taped to the underside of the lid; keep ONE copy for your own records; and send ONE copy (paper or electronic) to the Archives (see Procedures for Transferring Records to the University Records Centre).


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 29 May 2003

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