Data protection: legal considerations for research in Switzerland


FORS Guide Nº 17

How to cite

Diaz, P. (2022). Data protection: legal considerations for research in Switzerland. FORS Guide No. 17, Version 1.0. Lausanne (FORS).


The advent of Open Science poses a number of challenges for researchers with regard to research data management. Amongst the most salient is the necessary balance between data protection and openness. This guide aims to clarify the rights and obligations of researchers regarding the protection of personal data, following the main questions that should be asked before conducting a research project.


  •  If the data are complex and/or massive, it is best to assume that they are personal data.
  • Always inform people fully and accurately when collecting data. The information to be provided is: the identity and contact details of the data controller; the purpose of the processing; where applicable, the recipients or categories of recipients to whom personal data are disclosed; and where personal data are disclosed abroad, the name of the State or international body to which they are disclosed.
  • Always obtain consent from individuals to participate in a research project and keep a record of it.
  • When data sharing is possible and desired, provide for it in the information given to participants.
  • Provide a timeframe that allows for adequate storage for data use and sharing where possible.


Copyright: © the authors 2022. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

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