Data Lifecycle when a PI Leaves MSI

Protocols for Departing Principal Investigators at MSI

Outlined below are MSI's procedures for managing data when a Principal Investigator (PI) leaves the institute. It covers crucial aspects such as PI inactivity guidelines, treatment of abandoned data across storage tiers, and procedures for retrieving abandoned data. Understanding these policies is essential for ensuring compliance with MSI's data management protocols and facilitating a smooth transition of data ownership post-PI departure.

UMN policies

PI Inactivity

  • PI inactivity is based on MSI's annual renewal cycle. 
  • If a PI has an active renewal for the current renewal period, they are considered active at MSI. 
  • If a PI does not have an active renewal they are considered to have left MSI.

NOTE: PIs that are considered (part of) ESO or ISO entities are subject to different renewal terms and windows than MSI's normal renewal cycle based on their ESO or ISO contract. Please consult your contract for this information.

Left-Behind (Abandoned) Data

  • When a PI has not renewed twice in a row (two consecutive non-renewals), MSI considers the PI (and the PI's groups) data to be abandoned

To conserve space on its storage systems, MSI will automatically archive and/or delete abandoned data based on what storage tier the data was last located (see list below).

MSI strongly encourages all PIs to remove all data from MSI storage before they cease use of MSI systems. MSI staff are able to assist with this process if needed.

Primary Storage (Tier 1) - Archived Then Deleted

  • Abandoned data stored on MSI's Tier 1 platform is subject to archival to an archival storage platform.
  • This archived data is subject to deletion 4 years after the data is abandoned.

The archiving process, and storage backing the archival platform, is bulk and best-effort. Archives, data, or archival media may be damaged or degrade during the archival process, storage, or retrieval. These archives should never be relied on, and are provided only as a courtesy in the event that unforeseen events require the retrieval of data, or re-activation of a group after the initial inactivity period.

MSI is not liable for data that has entered this "archival" life cycle phase, including but not limited to instances where data is: lost during the archival process, lost while at rest on the archive system, lost while attempting to recover data from the archive system, or lost due to deletion from these archives.

Secondary Storage (Tier 2) - Deleted

  • Abandoned data stored on MSI's Tier 2 platform in the designated PI or Group "bucket" is subject to deletion. No copies of this data are retained.

NOTE: Individual group member storage "buckets" are subject to different rules as individuals may continue being active at MSI after a group they were part of is no longer active.

Information for PIs That Return While Data Is in the Abandoned-Data Archives

If a PI returns to MSI after their data has been marked as abandoned and moved to an archive, even if the data is still in the Abandoned-Data Archive (it has not reached the point where it would be deleted yet). MSI will not automatically restore the data from the archive. If a returning PI would like this data restored, they must put in a retrieval request as described below

Retrieving Data From MSI's Abandoned Data Archives

A PI may request the data back from an archive MSI has created of their data, if the archive still exists and is readable. MSI will require them to identify who they are and that they were the PI that owned the group. 

For large datasets, or datasets that require special handling, the PI may be required to fund the staff time needed for the retrieval.

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