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Research Data Management for Researchers: Funder requirements

Research data management (RDM) “is an integral part of good research practice that allows reliable verification of results, protects the intellectual and financial investment made in its creation, enables it to be shared and prompts new and innovative research”

University of Plymouth Research Data Management Policy

RDM can be defined as "the active management and appraisal of data over the research lifecycle" (Digital Curation Centre). Most research funders and many journals now mandate that research data is properly managed through its lifecycle and, if possible, shared. Research data refers to data in the broadest sense e.g. datasets on software and physical data such as notebooks, photographs and field notes.

If you are funded by one of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) councils, you will need to be aware of how they expect you to manage your data throughout your project.

Introduction to RDM requirements

What should University of Plymouth researchers do?

You should familiarise yourself with your funder requirements.

This is a summary of what most funders will expect you to do:

  • Plan how data will be collected, managed, accessed or shared during the project. A Data Management Plan (DMP) may be a requirement of your funding application - see DCC advice on DMPs.
  • Ensure your data is always kept secure and in a manner compliant with legal obligations.
  • Acknowledge your data sources and respect conditions of access.
  • When you publish new research, include a description of the supporting data and information on how it can be accessed and used - see example 'data access statements'.
  • If possible - i.e., not breaching any legal or ethical requirements - make your data openly available:
    • Deposit your data in an open repository - see the data deposit guide.
    • License your data so it can be reused by others (e.g, use a CC-BY license).
    • Register your data in Elements to enable others to discover and re-use the data - see the data deposit guide.

See data management expectations from main Funding councils below. An overview of policies can be found in the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) pagesSome individual funder data policy links are provided in this guide.

The SHERPA-JULIET service includes information on non-RCUK funder expectations for data archiving and open access.

You also need to be aware of the University of Plymouth Research Data Management Policy.

Individual funder requirements on research data: UKRI funders

Arts & Humanities Research Council

The AHRC states that grant holders in all areas, apart from archaeology, must make any significant electronic resources or datasets created as a result of research funded by the Council available in an accessible and appropriate depository for at least three years after the end of their grant. More information is available on the AHRC's website.

The AHRC does not have a standalone data policy. Research data is covered in the Research Funding Guide. See in particular sections on "Data Management Plan" (1.5.9) and "Access to Data - deposit of resources or datasets" (section 8). On March 29th 2018, AHRC removed its requirement for a Technical Plan, replacing it with a requirement to submit a Data Management Plan, which will be mandatory for all Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows proposals. 

AHRC's Research Funding Guide (latest revision v4.3, March 2018)


Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council

The BBSRC created a Data sharing policy in 2010.

All research proposals submitted to the BBSRC are required to have a data sharing statement.

Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council

** Important **

Are you an EPSRC grant holder?  The council will begin assessing compliance with its data policy for papers published from 1 May 2015 (or papers that result from EPSRC funded research activity that ends after 1st May 2015, irrespective of publication):

What do I need to do to meet these requirements?

There are 9 expectations - here are some of the key ones:

Provide a data statement:‚Äč

Published research papers should include a short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed. Links provided should be persistent URLs such as DOIs.  Personal email addresses should not be used as these are subject to change.  See examples of data statements.

Ensure the research data that underpins your publication is accessible:

EPSRC does not specify where data should be deposited.  It may be possible to deposit into PEARL, the university's repository via Elements.  Alternatively your funder may have a repository.  A directory of repositories is available:

Record your data in Elements:

If you deposit data in a repository other than PEARL you will still need to create a record for the dataset in Elements as the University is required to maintain a data registry listing all research data outputs.  


Economic & Social Research Council

The ESRC has produced a research data policy.

This policy aims to support grant holders who collect, produce and re-use data, by defining the roles and responsibilities of researchers, ESRC and its data service providers.

The document covers the general principles and policy statements on data access and sharing, including expectations on data quality and management which ESRC grant holders are expected to adhere to.

Update 18.12.2017: CESSDA ERIC (the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives European Infrastructure Consortium, which includes UKDA) has produced a data management tour guide to introduce the concepts of data management and provide guidance to researchers.

Medical Research Council

The MRC created a policy on research data sharing in 2005 which was updated in 2011.

The MRC expects valuable data arising from MRC-funded research to 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. Such data must be shared in a timely and responsible manner.

Data arising from MRC-funded research must be properly curated throughout its life-cycle and released with the appropriate high-quality metadata. This is the responsibility of the data custodians, who are often those individuals or organisations that received MRC funding to create or collect the data.

Natural Environment Research Council

The NERC data policy came into force in January 2011.

The policy covers environmental data acquired, assembled or created through research, survey and monitoring activities that are either fully or partially funded by NERC. It also applies to environmental data managed by NERC where NERC was not the original funder.

Science & Technology Facilities Council

The STFC has created a scientific data policy which incoporates the general RCUK principles on data management and sharing.

Data management plans should exist for all data within the scope of the policy.

Individual funder requirements on research data: non-UKRI funders

Cancer Research UK

CRUK's Data Sharing and Preservation Policy

An overview of CRUK's policy is available via the Digital Curation Centre website.

European Commission

EC's Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020 (V. 3.0, July 2016).

An overview of the policy is available at the Digital Curation Centre website.

The Wellcome Trust's Policy on Data, Software and Materials Management and Sharing.

An overview of the policy is available at the Digital Curation Centre website.

Summary of Policies

Examples of data statements

  • "The research materials supporting this publication can be publically accessed in [insert repository/data centre/archive here] via [insert Persistent Identifier here]. The research materials are available under a [insert licence here]."
  • "The research materials supporting this publication have been deposited in [insert repository/data centre/archive here]. If you wish to access these research materials please contact [insert non personal contact details here]."
  • "The research materials supporting this publication can be accessed at [insert URL here]."
  • "Due to the confidential nature of some of the research materials supporting this publication not all of the data can be made accessible to other researchers. Please contact [insert non personal contact details here] for more information."