Know your funder requirements

Information on complying with research data requirements from funders.

RCUK funder requirements

Research Councils UK have agreed a set of Common Principles on Data Policy. However requirements with regards to research data management plans and the long term preservation of your research data vary between funders. 

Further information can be found at the Digital Curation Centre.

Arts and Humanities Research Council

AHRC Expectations for Access to Data focus on digital outputs including open source software.

Data Management Plan

A technical plan for digital outputs must be submitted at grant application stage. This should not exceed 4 pages and must use the headings supplied by AHRC. If you've not written a data management plan before, it may be useful to look at a good example. The University of Bristol has shared an example of an AHRC plan.

Long-term preservation

AHRC expect that research data produced by projects are retained for a minimum of 3 years from the end of project funding.

Research data should be openly available, or available upon request. Non-sharing of data should be justified in the technical plan.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

BBSRC expects any research data created as part of a funded project to be made available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely manner.

Data Management Plan

The BBSRC requires submission of a research data management plan as part of grant applications. This plan should not exceed one page and should provide details on topics suggested in the BBSRC's data sharing policy.

Long term Preservation

The BBSRC expect research data to be shared at the time of publication of main findings, and no later than 3 years after its generation.

Primary research data should be retained for 10 years after the completion of a project. Researchers should ensure that a local copy of the data is held in addition to copies that are submitted to third party repositories. The UWE Bristol Data Repository can help with this requirement.

Additional Information

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Data management plan

EPSRC do not require a research data management plan to be submitted as part of the grant application. However EPSRC's principle 5 expects project-specific data management plans to be in place.

Long-term preservation

The EPSRC expect that metadata relating to research data are published and freely available within 12 months of the data being generated. Metadata should include details of what the data are, where they are held and how to access them. If the research data is not freely available, the metadata must give the reason for this, and give the conditions under which the data can be accessed.

The EPSRC minimum retention period for research data is 10 years from the expiry of any privileged access period, or from when access was requested by a third party.

UWE Bristol-specific guidance

UWE Bristol-specific advice regarding compliance with EPSRC requirements.

The UWE Data Repository is available for EPSRC grant holders to deposit the metadata describing the research data that supports EPSRC funded publications. Please contact the Library's research support team via lib.rke@uwe.ac.uk if you would like to use this service.

Authors are required to provide a data access statement within their EPSRC funded publications.

Economic and Social Research Council

ESRC updated its requirements for research data management in March 2015. There are nine new principles which underpin the new policy.

Data management plan

ESRC applicants must submit a research data management and sharing plan as part of the grant application process. The ESRC suggest an outline plan within their research data policy.

If you've not written a data management plan before, it may be useful to look at a good example. The University of Leeds has shared two examples of ESRC data plans.

Long-term preservation

Any research data created or repurposed during an ESRC-funded project must be offered to the ESRC data service providers (the UK Data Service) within three months of the end of the grant. The ESRC data service providers are responsible for ensuring long-term access to research data that has been placed in their care.

Where research data are confidential or contain sensitive personal data, ESRC grant holders must seek to secure appropriate informed consent for data sharing or alternatively anonymise the research data in order to make sharing possible.

ESRC-funded postgraduates

The research data policy is not compulsory for postgraduate research students. However ESRC does encourage ESRC-funded students to deposit their research data in the UK Data Archive. The ESRC postgraduate funding guide provides further information.

Medical Research Council

The MRC does not specify when and how researchers should share or preserve their research data but expects them to make clear provision for this in their data management planning and creation.

Data management plan

The MRC requires all researchers to submit a research data management plan at the grant application stage. The MRC provide guidance and a data management plan template.

The research data management plan must be no longer than 3 pages.

Long-term preservation

The MRC expect research data to be shared in a timely fashion, with as few restrictions as possible. Ethical, legal, and institutional policies and permissions must be followed. There are specific restrictions on research data sharing to allow for exclusive use of primary data.

The MRC require research data to be retained for 10 years after the end of a project. For population and clinical studies this is extended to 20 years.

Natural Environment Research Council

The NERC data policy applies to environmental research data but excludes information products; for example, model code.

Data management plan

All applications for NERC funding must include a one page outline research data management plan. This should include details of the estimated quantity of research data expected to be created.

A more detailed research data management plan will need to be submitted within 3 months of the start date of the grant in consultation with the relevant NERC centre.

Long-term preservation

All environmental research data of long term value, generated through NERC-funded research, must be submitted to NERC data centres for preservation.

There is usually a 2-year exclusive use period from the end of research data collection. NERC define the start of the exclusive use period as being from when research data is available to be used, not from the end of a funding period.

NERC have a useful data value checklist, to help establish the long term value of data.

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The STFC data policy defines research data as:

  • 'raw' scientific data arising as a result of experiment, measurement or observation.
  • 'derived' data that have been subject to some form of standard or automated data reduction procedure
  • 'published' data that underpins a publication and from which scientific conclusions have been derived.

Data management plan

A data management plan is typically required at the proposal stage, explaining how the STFC requirement will be met. A specific format is not required but STFC encourage applicants to use the guidance provided by the Digital Curation Centre. Plans should not exceed 2 pages.

STFC will consider costs associated with the research data management plan as part of the grant review process but expect applicants to make the most of existing skills where possible.

Long-term preservation

STFC expects research data which are referred to in a publication to be made publicly available to anyone within 6 months of the date of publication, unless there are ethical, privacy, or security reasons which prevent this. Other research data should be made available where it is appropriate and cost-effective to do so.

Original research data from which new data could be derived should be retained for a minimum of 10 years from the end of a project. Data that cannot be re-measured should be retained indefinitely. Research data should be retained in an established repository.

Other funder requirements

Cancer Research UK

The Cancer Research UK data sharing and preservation strategy highlights the importance of researchers making it clear how they will manage and share their research data at the proposal stage.

Cancer Research UK require that "all data generated as a result of its funding be considered for sharing and made as widely and freely accessible as possible whilst safeguarding intellectual property, the privacy of patients and confidential data."

Data management plan

As part of the grant application process, all applicants for Cancer Research UK funding must submit a research data management and sharing plan. If any research data created is not going to be shared, then the reasons must be clearly stated within the plan. A list of topics for inclusion is provided within the guidance.

Cancer Research UK will not provide funds for data sharing.

Long-term preservation

Unless there are agreements which limit sharing, research data should be released by the time of acceptance for publication of the main findings of the final dataset.

Research data should be preserved for sharing for a minimum of 5 years from the end of the research grant.

A limited amount of time is allowed for exclusive use of primary data, and for the filing of patents and to protect commercial confidentiality.

Cancer Research UK provides guidance on the use of Data Sharing Agreements as a means of managing access to research data.

NIHR 

The NIHR policy on open access has been revised to include research materials such as data, samples, and models. The policy only applies to published peer-reviewed research articles.

NIHR is a partner in Europe PubMedCentral which provides a permanent and free to access online digital archive of publications and datasets that arise from NIHR funded research.

Data management plan

All applicants for funding must submit a statement on how underlying research materials, such as research data, samples and models, can be accessed.

Where possible, research data collection should build on existing datasets or systems.

NIHR expects publishing costs to be budgeted for when the research is commissioned and will not normally fund additional costs separately.

Long-term preservation

Although the NIHR expects researchers to consider and plan for research data access, the policy does not require that research data must be made open. It also does not specify how long research data must be retained for.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust's policy on data management and sharing "expects all of its funded researchers to maximise the availability of research data with as few restrictions as possible."

Data Management Plan

Expectations differ between funding streams:

Biomedical and medical humanities

These streams require applicants to submit a research data management and sharing plan if proposed research will generate data that hold significant value as a resource for the wider research community.

Technology Transfer and Public Engagement

These streams do not require applicants to submit a research data management and sharing plan.

Although studies generating small scale and limited research data outputs are not expected to submit a plan, the Wellcome Trust do still expect any research data generated to be made available on publication.

The Wellcome Trust provides guidance on the expected contents of a research data management and sharing plan but do not specify a set format.

Long-term preservation

Data generators have a reasonable period of exclusive use for the research data that they produce. Delays or limits on data sharing are permitted to safeguard research participants or to protect intellectual property.

Generated research data must be kept for a minimum of ten years. Research data based on clinical samples or relating to public health might require longer storage to allow for long-term follow-up to occur.

As an absolute minimum, data underpinning research papers must be made available to other researchers on publication, in accordance with any ethics approvals, consent, and intellectual property rights.

Database resources are expected to be made widely available to user communities at the earliest opportunity.

European funding

Horizon 2020

In Horizon 2020 a limited access pilot will be implemented. The Open Research Data Pilot will be monitored throughout Horizon 2020 with a view to further developing European Commission policy on open research.

Further details on participating areas can be found in the Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020. 

The policy focuses on curated and/or raw digital research data which is needed to validate the results published in scientific articles or specified in a data management plan.

Data Management Plan

A research data management plan must be submitted within six months of projects participating in the Open Access Research Data Pilot. Other projects are invited to submit a plan if relevant for their planned research. However in both cases the data management plan must be mentioned in the research proposal.

They provide a template data management plan which must include:

  • What research data the project will generate.
  • How the research data will be exploited or made available for verification and re-use.
  • How the research data will be curated and preserved.

Proposals submitted to Horizon 2020 "Research and Innovation actions" and "Innovation actions" streams will need to include a short, general outline of their policy for research data management. This will be assessed under the criterion 'Impact'.

Long-term preservation

Horizon 2020 is running an open data pilot, which projects can opt out of under certain criteria. The pilot does not necessarily expect that all research data will be shared; it is focused on good data management.

The pilot covers research data and metadata needed to validate the results presented in scientific publication, and other research data as specified in the data management plan.

Projects should:

  • Deposit research data in a data repository.
  • Make research data available for interrogation and re-use (as far as possible).
  • Provide information about any tools or instruments needed to validate the results, e.g. specialist software, algorithms, analysis protocols.

European Research Council (ERC)

The ERC supports the basic principle on open access to research data. Open-access guidelines on application for funding are provided by the Working Group on Open Access.

Data management plan

The ERC do not currently require a research data management plan to be submitted with grant applications.

Long-term preservation

Files of all research data used should be saved and shared with other researchers whenever it is not bound by copyright restrictions, confidentiality agreements, or contractual clauses.

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