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Terms of Use

Find details on acceptable use of this website and our liability.


This is the official website of Research Data Scotland (RDS). RDS brings together expertise, resources, and capabilities from a range of existing data-led programmes across the Scottish public sector. We are committed to making public-sector data more accessible and allow users – whether they be academic researchers or data analysts from charity, government, or business – to use that data to make linkages and improve policymaking.    

Your use of this website is subject to the following terms and conditions (Terms). We may change these Terms by updating this page at any time and it is your responsibility to check you are still willing to be bound by them.  

Our liability 

RDS make all reasonable efforts to ensure that all content is accurate and current. However, we cannot accept liability for any losses or damages which may arise from using or relying on information on this website, or through accessing information via hyperlinks published on our website.  

Acceptable use: website

You may not use the RDS website or any information it contains in any way that:  

  • is threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, seditious, offensive, pornographic, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, menacing, scandalous, inflammatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence, in breach of privacy or which may cause annoyance or inconvenience; or 
  • for purposes where you have not obtained all necessary licences and/or approvals; or 
  • constitutes or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise be contrary to the law of or infringe the rights of any third party, in the UK or any other country in the world; or 
  • is technically harmful (including, without limitation, computer viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software or harmful data). 

You must not attempt to interfere with the website or its workings. Specifically, you must not try to break security, tamper with, hack into, or otherwise disrupt any computer system, server, website, router, or any other device.  

If RDS become aware of any violation of these terms, we reserve the right to take action to stop the violation. This may include removing information, suspending, or removing a user, and providing relevant information to external bodies where required by law or regulation.  

We have no obligation to monitor or censor any information that users store within, or transmit through, the website. We are not responsible for any injury, damage, or offence that results from such storage and transmission of information.  

Acceptable use: Researcher Access Service

You may access Research Data Scotland’s Researcher Access Service via this website. The terms noted above for acceptable website use also apply to use of the Researcher Access Service. In addition, you must:

  • Provide information that is correct to the best of your knowledge. Any fraudulent attempt to gain access to secure data via the Researcher Access Service approval process may be reportable to your institution, the Information Commissioner’s Office and/or the police.

You must not:

  • Use the service to behave in a way that is threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, seditious, offensive, pornographic, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, menacing, scandalous, inflammatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence, in breach of privacy or which may cause annoyance or inconvenience. This includes communications with RDS or PHS staff supporting the service.
  • Share your personal login details with any other person or otherwise allow your account to be accessed by someone other than yourself. 

You can review how we use your personal information in our Privacy Notice.

Commercial and payment terms

As a user of the Researcher Access Service, you may incur costs relating to your use of the service and access to the data you have applied for. We will:

  • Follow a transparent and standardised cost model.
  • Provide a cost estimate and update this if it changes based on changes to your requirements or any other reason.
  • Liaise with your institution to arrange for transfer of funds at the appropriate time.
  • Charge VAT at the standard rate on all fees. Your insitution may be able to recover VAT but we cannot advise you on this. 

You/your institution must:

  • Provide a Purchase Order that is accurate, valid and covers the whole fee associated with your project.
  • Ensure that invoices are paid promptly within 30 days as per our payment terms.

If you are unhappy with the service you receive and wish to make a complaint, please direct this to in the first instance. We will provide more information on our Complaints Policy on request.

Intellectual property 

The names, images and logos identifying RDS are subject to Copyright. Copying of our logos and/or any other third-party logos accessed via this website is not permitted without prior approval from the relevant copyright owner. Requests for permission to use our logo should be directed to  

Except as permitted for academic, personal, or other non-commercial purposes, users must not reprint or electronically reproduce from the RDS website any document, graphic or image in whole or in part without the prior written permission of RDS, or in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  

RDS may publish information on the website under different terms (e.g. Creative Commons Licences) granting specific permissions for the non-commercial use and reproduction of content. 

Linking to and from the website 

You do not have to ask permission to link to pages hosted on our website.  

We have no control over the content of websites that we link to. We accept no responsibility for the content of other websites or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them.  

Page last updated: 23/04/2024 

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