The need to comply with legal and regulatory obligations continues to be one of the main incentives for retaining and preserving digital information. The most common legal drivers are:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) applies to all information held by public authorities, which includes electronic records.
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) applies to all information about individuals, including electronic records. It requires that the information be secure, accurate and up to date, and retained no longer than is necessary for the original purpose for which it was collected.
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) requires that an organisation must respond to any requests for access to environmental information that they hold.
(Taken from the Digital Preservation Coalition Mind the Gap Report.)
There are also patent requirements: if you apply for a patent, it may be necessary for you to demonstrate fixity and authenticity of digital objects.
It is likely that much of this responsibility will be taken on by your records management department which has a duty to manage corporate records and ensure that they remain accessible and authentic. However there may be digital records (for example emails) that researchers create that also fall under these regulations and acts. Archived copies of Web sites and digital resources may also be required for auditing and checking of strategic, legal, financial, contractual or scholarly information. Breaking contractual and auditing obligations will put your institution at risk.