Research Funders' Data Policies
Many funders of research have policies requiring researchers in receipt of grant funding to manage the data they collect and use in their research, and to plan for the preservation and sharing of key data beyond the lifetime of the research project.
Research Funders' Policies
The Digital Curation Centre provides summaries of the policies of the following major funders of research, with links to relevant pages on the funders' websites:
- Arts and Humanities Research Council
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
- Cancer Research UK
- Economic and Social Research Council
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
- Medical Research Council
- Natural Environment Research Council
- Science and Technology Facilities Council
- Wellcome Trust
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Expectations
The EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data places a responsibility on both researchers and research organisations for the management, preservation and sharing of research data. The policy sets out nine expectations, with which universities in receipt of EPSRC funding are required to be fully compliant by 1 May 2015.
The expectations affect all EPSRC-funded research staff and students.
As a researcher funded by EPSRC, if you collect or generate research data in the course of your research, and these data directly support published research findings, you are required to:
- Store the data (digital and non-digital) in an accessible location for a minimum of 10 years;
- Publish an online metadata record describing the data, and register the data with the University within 12 months of the data being generated;
- Include a statement in research publications indicating where the data are and how they can be accessed.
Further information about how you can comply with these expectations is provided in the leaflet Essential information for EPSRC researchers (PDF).
The University is continuing to develop infrastructure and services to enable researchers to meet these expectations. You will soon be able to use a research data repository service to store and register your data with the University, and to create an online metadata record for the data, so that other researchers can discover and, where possible, access them. We are working to implement this service for use from May 2015.
Details of University progress towards meeting these expectations can be found in the EPSRC Update (PDF).
RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy
The RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy articulate a general framework for research data policies that is subscribed to by all the Research Councils, as well as by many other public funders of research. The keystone of this framework is the first principle:
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 that does not harm intellectual property.
From this follow the other principles, which can be summarised in the following terms:
- Data with acknowledged long-term value should be preserved and remain accessible and usable for future research;
- Published results should include information on how to access the supporting data;
- Not all data can or should be shared. There are legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data;
- Researchers are entitled to a limited period of privileged use of the data they have collected, to enable them to publish the results of their research;
- The management and sharing of data is integral to research activity and it is appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.
Many other public funders in the UK and worldwide subscribe to these or similar broad principles, and many will provide funding in support of data management and sharing activities.