Record Retention

Guidelines for Record Retention and Destruction

The majority of sponsored projects have legal requirements as to how long project records, particularly financial records, must be retained. These guidelines recognize these legal requirements as well as the substantial physical and fiscal resources required to retain technical, clinical, financial, and other project records.

“Records” includes any documentary material made or received in connection with the application for, or conduct of, a sponsored activity. “Records” includes paper, electronic records, and records, reports, or data in other media.

Electronic records should be backed up regularly in a way that would prevent a catastrophic loss and ensure the quality and integrity of the data.

Records should not be retained longer than required. This minimizes unnecessary administrative burden and expense, and records discarded in accordance with regulation and policy are no longer available for audit.

Fiscal Records

Record retention periods by funding source

Program records

Program reports, clinical study records, and more

Discarding records

Considerations for paper and electronic records