GDPR: why is it important to comply with this legislation?

Protecting the rights and freedoms of data subjects

If you process personal data, your job is to protect the rights and freedoms of data subjects in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For this you must evaluate the possible risks associated with the processing of personal data within your research. You do this by taking into account the risk of discrimination, stigmatisation, data breaches (disclosing the identity or sensitive data of people, or damaging their reputation through a breach of confidentiality), threats to the safety of participants and possible misuse of research methodology or findings.

By evaluating the risks you can provide the right safeguards within your research to limit and even avoid these risks.

Other reasons

In addition, there are a number of other important reasons for applying the GDPR rules meticulously in your research:

  • careful handling of data increases the quality and reliability of your research and the research results
  • careful handling of data retains the confidence of citizens in scientific research
  • a violation of the law can lead to reputational damage and negative media attention for Ghent University, your department and yourself as a researcher, and can also lead to heavy fines
  • compliance with the GDPR is often explicitly imposed by research funders (such as Horizon 2020, ERC, FWO) or even described as a work package (deliverable) in a project
  • when publications are submitted, journals are also increasingly asking for compliance with the GDPR

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Last modified March 12, 2024, 2:30 p.m.