Funder policies

Many research funders, both UK and international, have policies in place relating to research data management, or data sharing.

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) agreed a set of Common Principles on Data Policy; one of which states that “publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner”. Further guidance and information on the individual principles can be found here. These principles form the basis of many of the funder data policies.

The Digital Curation Centre has produced a summary of data policies for various funders.

The information below outlines the key funder requirements, but you should also consult individual data policies relevant to your research. Please check with the Research & Enterprise Development Team if you are unsure about the policies for a particular funder/scheme.

Responsive image

 

The AHRC data policy is detailed in the Research Funding Guide. Sections on the Technical Plan (p.51) and 'deposit of resources or datasets' (p.99) are of particular interest.

Summary:

  • Technical Plan required where digital outputs or digital technologies are an essential part to the planned research outcomes
  • Digital outputs or technologies should be preserved in an accessible repository (institutional or subject specific) for an appropriate period after the end of project funding - a minimum of three years is recommended but in many cases a longer period will be appropriate
  • The AHRC expect access to data to be open or that data are freely available on request. If access must be limited, this should be justified in the Technical Plan.

Resources:

The BBSRC data sharing policy states that applicants should make use of existing standards for data collection and management and make data available through existing community resources or databases where possible.

Summary:

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • Data should be retained for a period of ten years after completion of a research project
  • The BBSRC expect that timely release of data would generally be no later than the release through publication of the main findings, or within three years of the data being generated
  • The BBSRC expects researchers to ensure they retain a local copy of any data submitted to third party resources.

Resources:

CRUK data sharing and preservation strategy states that it is good research practice for all researchers to consider at the research proposal stage how they will manage and share the data they will generate.

Summary:

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • Data should be preserved and available for sharing for a minimum period of five years following the end of a research grant
  • CRUK expects data to be released no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings. A limited period of exclusive use of data for primary research is reasonable

Resources:

The EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data sets out the expectations concerning the management and provision of access to EPSRC-funded research data.

Summary:

  • A data management plan is not required for grant applications but one must exist locally for all data
  • Appropriately structured metadata must be published online within 12 months of the data being generated
  • Data must be securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years from the end of any researcher ‘privileged access’ or, if others have accessed the data, from the last date on which access to the data was requested by a third party
  • Research data must be effectively curated throughout the full data lifecycle

The EPSRC changed its requirements for grant holders on 1st May 2015. Both the University and its researchers now need to adhere to the expectations mentioned above. The University has implemented a number of Research Data Management Systems, support services and policies to enable compliance. More information is available here.

Resources:

The ESRC expects grant holders to generate scientifically robust data ready for further re-use, with further detail available in the ESRC Research Data Policy.

Summary:

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • All data created or repurposed during the lifetime of an ESRC grant must be made available for re-use or archiving in an ESRC data service provider (e.g. the UK Data Service) within three months of the end of the grant
  • Grant holders must provide metadata for resource discovery via the UK Data Service to maximise the discoverability
  • The ESRC Research Data Policy is not compulsory for postgraduate students. However, they are strongly encouraged to offer the UK Data Services copies of data created or repurposed during their PhD. The ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide provides further information.
  • It is the grant holder’s responsibility to incorporate data management as an integral part of the research project

Resources:

A novelty in the EU's Horizon 2020 programme is the Open Research Data Pilot which aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects. The Pilot on Open Research Data will be monitored throughout Horizon 2020 with a view to further developing EC policy on open research.

Summary:

  • All project proposals submitted to "Research and Innovation actions" as well as "Innovation actions" include a section on research data management which is evaluated under the criterion 'Impact'
  • A data management plan must be provided as an early deliverable within the first six months of the project
  • Data should be deposited in a research data repository and measures taken to make it possible for third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate — free of charge for any user
  • The data, including associated metadata, needed to validate the results should be presented in scientific publications as soon as possible.

Resources:

Innovate UK do not have a data policy but more details about applying for funding can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/innovation-apply-for-a-funding-award or contact the Research & Enterprise Development Team if you are unsure about the requirements of a particular funder/scheme.

Kidscan do not have a data policy but contact the Research & Enterprise Development Team if you are unsure about the requirements.

The MRC data sharing policy states that valuable data should be made available to the scientific community with as few restrictions as possible so as to maximize the value of the data for research and for eventual patient and public benefit.

Summary:

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • The MRC do not prescribe when or how researchers should preserve and share data but requires them to make clear provision for doing so when planning and executing research.
  • Data must be properly curated throughout its life-cycle and released with the appropriate high-quality metadata.
  • For medical research involving personal data, the appropriate regulatory permissions – ethical, legal and institutional – must be in place before the data can be shared
  • Research data and related material should be retained for a minimum of 10 years after the study has been completed.
  • For clinical research undertaken in MRC research units and institutes, the MRC expects research data relating to such studies to be retained for 20 years after the study has been completed to allow an appropriate follow-up period.

Resources:

The NERC Data Policy details their commitment to supporting the long-term management of environmental data and also outlines the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in collecting and managing environmental data.

Summary:

  • An outline data management plan must be included with every grant application, and it must identify which of the data sets being produced are considered to be of long-term value, based on the criteria in NERC’s Data Value Checklist
  • Successful applications are required to produce a full data management plan within three to six months of the start date of the grant
  • All environmental data of long-term value must be submitted to a NERC Data Centre for long-term management and dissemination
  • NERC expects everyone that it funds to manage the data they produce in an effective manner for the lifetime of their project

Resources:

The NIH Data Sharing Policy states that data sharing is essential for expedited translation of research results into knowledge, products and procedures to improve human health.

Summary:

  • Investigators seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year should include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data sharing is not possible.
  • Data should be retained for 3 years following the end of the project
  • NIH expects the timely release and sharing of data to be no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings from the final dataset
  • Prior to sharing, data should be redacted to strip all identifiers, and effective strategies should be adopted to minimize risks of unauthorized disclosure of personal identifiers.

Resources:

The NIHR Policy on Open Access for its funded research states that open access to the outputs of its research can offer both social and economic benefits as well as aiding the development of new research and stimulating wider economic growth of the UK economy.

Summary

  • All NIHR researchers must prepare and submit to the NIHR a statement on how underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed
  • The policy does not require that the data must be made open, and it does not specify how long data must be retained for
  • Europe PubMed Central provides a permanent and free-to-access online digital archive of the full text, peer reviewed research publications (and datasets) that arise from research funded by the NIHR.

Resources:

The STFC scientific data policy states that the STFC has a responsibility to ensure that this data is carefully managed and optimally exploited, both in the short and the long term.

Summary

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • ‘Published’ data, should generally be made available within six months of the date of the relevant publication
  • The STFC expect data to be managed through a data repository
  • The STFC expect the original data to be retained for the longest possible period, with ten years after the end of the project being a reasonable minimum. For data which cannot be re-measured (e.g. earth observations), effort should be made to retain them ‘in perpetuity’.

The Wellcome Trust policy on data management and sharing states that success in maximising the value of research data depends crucially on fostering a culture in which both data generators and data users adopt good research practice, and act with integrity and transparency in managing, using and sharing research data.

Summary

  • A data management plan must be included with every grant application
  • Relevant data must be made available to others on publication of the research; however opportunities for timely and responsible pre-publication sharing of data should be maximised
  • Data should be maintained securely for a minimum of 10 years, but research based on clinical samples or relating to public health might require longer storage to allow for long-term follow-up.

Resources: