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Research Data Management

Research Data Management

Data ownership, funder and ethics: Costing RDM, data ownership, intellectual property, funders, data, ethical legislation and GDPR

Please see the resource links sections of this page for links to resources referred to in this guidance.

It is worth first checking whether there is pre-existing data you can use.

If pre-existing data exists, you need to check the terms of any license terms for re-use of the data and/or the conditions applied to it's use. For creative works and data the most common type of license is a Creative Commons license, but code or software may be available under an Open Source License.

If there is no description of permissions or license attached to the data, you may need to contact the copyright/data owner to ascertain if you can use it and under what conditions. Ensure you have consent to re-use and share the data (in case it is requested in peer review, for example).

You will need to factor whatever license or permissions that apply to the data into your plans for dissemination of the work or sharing of any derivative data. E.G. If the data is licensed for non-commercial purposes, you may not be able to sell work resulting from it. Some licenses may also be incompatible with others, causing issues when merging data.

You may find information on how the data should be cited from the repository record where the data is located. If this doesn't exist, you may wish to use Data Cite's DOI Citation Formatter to generate a citation in a specific style using the DOI of a dataset.

Normally you would own any data you are collecting for your research as per the University of Plymouth's Intellectual Property Policy, but this may differ depending on the project.

Schools or faculties may have various expectations or processes for data ownership from PGR students and ask you to sign an agreement around the data.

You may be working with external stakeholders/organisations, in which case you should form a data sharing/ collaboration agreement to define who owns the data and other various rights and responsibilities. Legal Services can support you in doing this.

On internal projects, even where a DMP is already in place, you need to clear about your rights and responsibilities around any data you are collecting or handling.

In all cases you will need to make sure you are aware of:

  • Who owns the data resulting from your project
  • ​What you are responsible for in regards to the data
  • Who has overall responsibility for the data
  • What you can or cannot do with the data / access rights after the project. This will affect what you can do with it during and after your involvement with the project, and is of particular importance if your department asks you to sign a data transfer agreement.

Talk to your supervisor or project lead and make sure that this information goes into your data management plan. Make sure that the details about what you can do with the data are explicit enough for your use. E.G. Who can use the data? Who can publish the data? Can you submit the data as part of a peer review process if necessary? Who can share the data with third parties?

If you are using participant data, you will need to apply for ethical approval and may need to complete GDPR training as a part of this process.

The General Data Protection Regulation governs how personal data should be collected, stored, processed and maintained throughout the research life-cycle and beyond. Staff should ensure that mandatory GDPR training and Information Security training is up to date. Training for PGRs in GDPR can also be accessed from the link in the resources section of this page.

You must also use services that the university has an institutional contract with to process data, particularly that which falls under GDPR, e.g. data collection forms, transcription services etc. Information on approved suppliers can be found in Sharepoint on the Procurement site.

For information on the university's Research Ethics Policy, ethics boards, additional ethical requirements, and to contact advisers within the university who can advise on all ethics as it refers to your project and data collection/management, please see the University of Plymouth's Ethics Governance pages.

Additional resources you may find helpful:

University of Plymouth Research Ethics Policy

UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) have produced a helpful overview of GDPR for researchers. 

UK Data Service's page on the UK Data Protection Act and GDPR

Funders increasingly have requirements around research data and you may be asked to create a data management plan in order to comply with your funder's requirements. The DMPOnline tool keeps templates and examples for different funder requirements for DMPs.

In additional to planning for data management, many funders now also stipulate how the data should be retained and/or archived after the project. They may have a period of time that the data must be retained for, or require that the data is placed into specific repositories.

You will need to know about the needs of your funder towards the beginning of the project as well as familiarise yourself with the requirements of any named repository, so that you can plan for how to meet these requirements as you carry out your project.

You can use the Sherpa Juliet tool to check funder data requirements, however you may also wish to then look at the funder's online guidance - links are given in the box below.

It is best as far as possible to cost data needs along with other costs at the beginning of a project. Costs for RDM can be included along with funding applications. Funding advisors can help with costing RDM for this.

Some University of Plymouth information around costs can be found below:

Data Storage:
You currently have access to 1TB of storage on your personal OneDrive account, but you can also 
raise a support request with IT Self Service for a Research Site or to discuss bespoke storage needs.

For further information, please see the RDM page on Storage and Backup.

Insurance and services:

Check the University’s insurance will cover the research activities particularly if they will involve anything unusual or where an intervention will take place.

Do you require transcription services, website development or other commercial services which has a cost associated and will need to be included in any funding calculations? Suppliers will also need to comply with the University’s Procurement obligations so should be sourced prior to funding to ensure appropriate costs are included.  Check to see what University licences and services are already available to you before seeking your own. 

Information on approved suppliers can be found in Sharepoint on the Procurement site.

Note: Any alternative IT service will need to be funded by your project and support will be provided on best endeavours.

Archiving/ Preservation:
You can share your data using the university's PEARL repository with no additional cost. However, while we can handle as much data in total as you need to deposit, there is a limit on individual file sizes. To find out more, contact Open Research.

If you are depositing using another repository, they should include information on costs within their guidance. Our pages on Selection, Preservation and Sharing has more information on decided what to retain, for how long, and choosing a suitable repository. 


The Jisc RDM Costing Toolkit has pages with information on ways to cost for RDM as well as a link to the UK Data Service's RDM Costing Toolkit.