CREST statement on the use of personal data in our research

Where freely-available open-source software is studied as a research subject

The Centre for Research in Evolution Search and Testing (CREST) is part of the Computer Science Department at UCL and undertakes research in software engineering, including the analysis, modelling, and manipulation of source code.  In common with research organisations around the world, CREST often uses freely-available open-source software in its research for purposes such as evaluating new techniques, understanding the characteristics of software in general, and creating models of (evolving) code. 

In these circumstances, the research does not study or make direct inference about developers themselves but rather the development product (i.e. the software and accompanying documentation and files in all their versions).  

Nevertheless, open-source code and its meta-data (e.g. commit histories) acquired from open repositories (such as github, bitbucket and similar) may contain (at the discretion of those contributing the code and documents to the repository) personal information such as developer ids, names, email addresses and similar (e.g. these may occur in comments, commit messages and identifiers, data files, string literals, accompanying documentation etc).  This information may be indirectly collected by CREST as a result of cloning a repository for the purposes outlined above. 

Personal information acquired in this way will be treated in accordance with UCL's General Privacy Policy

Other types of research projects

In addition to studying freely-available open-source software, CREST may carry out research in circumstances where membership of a repository or website is required to obtain the data. Again, this research will not focus on the developers but on the software and accompanying documentation and files. To the extent that any personal data is processed as part of this research, it will be used in accordance with UCL's General Privacy Policy <>.

Research that focuses on developers themselves may also be undertaken by CREST. Note that these activities will be subject to separate risk assessment, review, approval, and/or exemption under UCL's research ethics and data protection policies and procedures. Separate information notices will be provided to individuals involved.

This page was last modified on 01 Aug 2018.