Research funder policies
Each of the major research funders has their own policies on research data management and sharing, you can view details of each policy below or see an overview of the policies in tabular format.
All policies checked: July 2017
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
The AHRC do not have a data policy but they support the RCUK Common Principles on Data Sharing
The AHRC require a Technical Summary paragraph in each Case for Support where digital outputs are going to be produced beyond a basic website. Guidance and a template for Technical Plans are available from the AHRC.
The AHRC do not support a data repository and AHRC grants cannot be used to cover costs after the end of the grant so any long term storage costs must be covered before the end of the grant.
Policy: AHRC do not have a data policy but there is some guidance in their Research Funding Guide
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
The BBSRC expects research data generated from their grants to be made available, with as few restrictions as possible, in a timely manner. Whilst the timings for data sharing vary the BBSRC expect data to be shared no later than the publication of the main findings.
The BBSRC particularly prioritises sharing data from high volume experiments, low throughput data arising from long time series or cumulative approaches, and models generated using systems approaches.
Data Management Plans of no more than 1 page are a compulsory part of BBSRC funding applications. The BBSRC does not provide a template for Data Management Plans but there are examples available which can be used as guidance.
Policy: BBSRC Data Sharing Policy
Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
All funding applications to Cancer Research UK (CRUK) require a Data Sharing Plan, and those applying to the Population Research Committee must follow their template. Those applying to other committees are encouraged to structure their plans according to the guidance on the CRUK website.
CRUK state that data must be shared as widely and freely as possible and in a timely and responsible manner. Providers and users of data must use research data in an ethical manner and comply with relevant regulation.
CRUK do not prescribe how and when data should be shared and preserved, in recognition of the varied practices in different fields, but researchers must state their plans for their data when planning and carrying out research.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
If you are funded by the EPSRC please see our separate guidance page on the EPSRC Research Data Expectations and how to comply with the expectations.
Published research papers should include a short statement (a Data Access Statement) describing how supporting research data should be accessed. We have guidance available on how to write a Data Access Statement if you are not sure.
Research data funded by the EPSRC should be made as freely and openly available as possible, with exceptions available for personal, sensitive and commercial data as well as data which is too large to share in a cost effective manner.
Whilst you do not have to provide a Data Management Plan as part of applying for EPSRC funding they do require that one exists for projects which are producing data.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Data generated during ESRC grants must be shared in an appropriate repository, such as the UK Data Service. If data is not deposited in the UK Data Service then researchers must inform the UK Data Service of the published location of the data.
All applications for ESRC funding which are going to generate new data are required to have a Data Management Plan of no more than three A4 pages. Data Management Plans are expected to cover the areas outlined in the guidance for peer reviewers.
Whilst there may be legal, ethical or commercial constraints on data sharing the ESRC expects that most data can be shared if data management is planned appropriately from the beginning.
European Commission/Horizon 2020
Data Management Plans for Horizon 2020 grants are a two stage process, with a short Data Management Plan as part of the research proposal and then a full Plan within 6 months of the project starting. The full European Research Council Data Management Plan template is outlined in Appendix 1 and available as a Word Document.
The Open Research Data pilot in Horizon 2020 mandates that researchers make their data openly and freely available in line with the FAIR principles – research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-useable.
The Open Research Data pilot follows the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ recognising that some data cannot be shared openly due to sensitivity or commercial concerns.
Medical Research Council (MRC)
The MRC expects data arising from research they fund to be shared openly with as few restrictions as possible. They also particularly encourage re-use by collaborating with the original creators of the data.
There are specific data sharing guidelines for those working on Population and Patient Studies.
Policy: MRC Data Sharing Policy
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
NERC require the submission of an Outline Data Management Plan (template available from NERC) when submitting a grant and a full Data Management Plan (template available from NERC) must be developed in collaboration with a NERC data centre in the first three to six months of a grant. Data with long-term value must be identified in the Outline Data Management and NERC have produced a Data Value Checklist to assist with this.
NERC require that all environmental data of long-term value generated by research they fund is submitted to NERC environmental data centres, where it will usually be openly accessible.
NERC permit researchers a period to work exclusively on, and publish the results of, the data they collected, usually up to two years from the point of data collection.
NERC require research publications arising from NERC funding must include a statement on how the supporting data and any other relevant research materials can be accessed.
Policy: NERC Data Policy
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
The STFC policy incorporates the RCUK principles on data management and sharing.
The STFC requires a Data Management Plan for all grant applications where the proposed research will produce or collect scientific data. These plans should follow the STFC’s guidance which outlines 8 key areas to be covered.
Data from STFC-funded research should be made publicly available where possible, with a short period of exclusive use following norms within the relevant discipline, and in general within six months of the associated publication.
Policy: STFC scientific data policy
The Wellcome Trust expects researchers to make data, software and materials available with as few restrictions as possible.
The Wellcome Trust require an Output Management Plan (rather than a Data Management Plan) which covers data, software and materials whenever outputs (data, software and materials) are likely to be a valuable resource for others. The Wellcome Trust website outlines what is required in an Output Management Plan.
The Wellcome Trust recognises data and software, as well as publications, as research outputs when reviewing funding applications. They have also developed the Wellcome Open Research platform where Wellcome-funded researchers can publish non-traditional outputs such as data and software papers.
The Wellcome Trust guidelines on good research practice require all data to be stored securely and stored for at least 10 years (or possibly longer in the case of clinical research).
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