Research Data Acquisition


A "Data Use Agreement" (DUA) is an agreement from a Data Provider that requires a signature/e-signature, or must be acknowledges in some other way in order to recieve data from another party. DUAs can be called many other things (Data Sharing Agreement, Data Transfer Agreement, License Agreement etc), but the basic purpose of a DUA is to define the legal obligations that the data recipient has related to use, storage, processing, and transmitting the requested data. These terms and conditions, if accepted by Penn State, are legally binding, so they must be reviewed by appropriate Penn State personnel

DUAs may also include a data provider’s requirements for handling unregulated, de-identified, or other low risk data. Interpreting the Terms and Conditions and other variables associated with the Data should be left to the appropriate offices within the University; researchers are not expected to be an expert in contract interpretation.

Getting Started: 

You can learn more about Data Use Agreements by visiting the Office of Sponsored Programs website or by reading the Data Use Agreements FAQ page.

More Information: 

equesting the Review of a DUA:

If a recearcher is in reciept of a Data Use Agreement or wants to otherwise request access to a Data Set, the researcher should complete the  Data Acquisition Request (DAR) Form. Please work with the College Research Office  to assist with submitting this form. Questions may also be directed to the Data Use Agreement Coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Programs.  The purpose of this form is to gather initial information to assist with processing data acquisition requests. This form, along with a copy of any relevant agreements and other documentation, should be submitted to

The agreement and Data Acquisition Request Form will be reviewed by Penn State to determine the next steps needed to agree to the terms and conditions on behalf of Penn State. These steps could include some or all of the following:

  • Negotiations to request changes to language in the agreement
  • Data Security Review
  • Acceptance of terms and conditions by department/college leadership 

Additional Resources:


This service is part of the Administrative and Business, and the Research Data categories.



  • This is an active service


  • A Faculty Member is not authorized to sign a Data Use Agreement
    • Only an authorized representative of Penn State may approve terms on behalf of the University, whether they are accepted by hard signature or electronically
      • When a DUA needs to be electronically accepted please contact and provide a copy of the provider’s terms (may be copy/pasted) and the Data Acquisition Request Form before accepting the terms and conditions - Researchers MUST receive a written delegation approval before accepting the electronic terms and conditions
      • When an actual signature is required, individuals that have been specifically authorized by Penn State must approve and sign the agreement (authorized individuals are listed in Policy FN11 and Guideline FNG02)

Information Security: