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Research Data Management


Research data policies of major University research funders


Most research funders (research councils, charities, foundations) have introduced policies on research data management. The general expectation is that publicly funded research data are a public good, and should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible. On top of that, funders have their individual data policies which provide beneficiaries with instructions on how to treat research data.

The table below provides a short summary of research data management policies of top 20 University research funders (links to official policy documents are also indicated). Please note that policies, as well as potential sanctions for non-compliance, might evolve. The most up to date polices can be found on funders’ websites. Additionally, funders that are not listed here may also have their own policies on research data management. SHERPA/JULIET provides additional information about over 100 different funders (including international funders). If you are not sure about the policy of your funder (or whether your funder has a specific research data policy), please contact your research funder directly.


Link to funder policy Comment Last checked


Read the Open Data Concordat


Read the statement

HEFCE is one of the four organisations that wrote and published the UK Concordat on Open Research Data. The Concordat states that researchers should, wherever possible, make their research data open and usable within a short and welldefined period (based on disciplinary norms). Additionally, the Concordat asks for research data supporting publications to be accessible by the publication date.

"HEFCE will be considering how to reward open data as part of the future REF assessments“ (p. 40)

"Via the REF, we fully recognise data as an equally valid form of research output, and, through our open access policy for the next REF, we plan to reward research environments that deliver open access to a wider set of outputs than just journal articles and conference papers." from Opening Up Research Data blog post.

November 2016

Research Councils UK

Read the policy

“Publicly funded research data are a public good, (...), which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner (...).”

Detailed guidance on this policy is available here.

November 2016


Read the statement

AHRC do not have their own data policy, and instead share the RCUK common prinicples on data sharing.

The only additional research data recommendation is that "Grant Holders in all areas 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."

September 2016


Read the policy

Adherence to data management plan will be monitored and built into the Final Report score, which may be taken into account for future proposals.

Research data that supports publications must be stored for 10 years.

Grantholders are requested to capture and record data sharing activities, including details of where and how data have been shared, in the appropriate places on ResearchFish.

Detailed guidelines about BBSRC requirements are available here.

We have also discussed BBSRC policy directly with Michael Ball from the BBSRC. Our discussion and resulting clarifications of the BBSRC policy are published here.

April 2017

British Heart Foundation

Read the policy statement

"Safeguards should be in place to respect the confidentiality of patients, while also ensuring that medical researchers can gain access to patient data within a secure environment." September 2016

Cancer Research UK

Read the policy

Any applicants who consider that the data arising from their proposal will not be suitable for sharing must provide clear reasons for not making it available.

Investigators carrying out research involving human participants must ensure that consent for data sharing is obtained from participants; research data should be anonymised prior to sharing.

Research data should be available for sharing for a minimum period of five years from the end of a research grant.

CRUK also issued a list of FAQ on data sharing.

We have also invited JCRUK to discuss their data sharing requirements with researchers at Cambridge. We have published blog posts summarising these discussions:

September 2016

EC (Horizon 2020)

Read the guidelines

Guidance on data management plans

Infographic explaining EC data sharing requirements

Since 2017, all Horizon 2020 projects are part of the Open Research Data Pilot by default. The Principal Investigator must: 
•    Develop a data management plan in the first 6 months of the project and keep it up-to-date throughout their project;
•    Deposit their research data in a suitable research data repository;
•    Make sure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate their data; 
•    Make clear what tools will be needed to use the raw data to validate research results, or provide the tools themselves.

April 2017


Read the guidelines

ERC data management plan template

ERC beneficiaries are encouraged to take part in the H2020 Open Research Data Pilot, but this is not compulsory.

Those who take part in the Open Research Data Pilot must adhere to the obligations outlined above.

April 2017


Read the EPSRC Expectations

EPSRC has the strictest policy on research data sharing. We have prepared separate, dedicated guidelines to help you achieve compliance with the EPSRC expectations.

Additionally, please have a look at our list of FAQ, which was developed in consultation with researchers at the University of Cambridge, and with Ben Ryan from the EPSRC.

As a result of our discussions with Ben Ryan we have also published a blog post clarifying EPSRC policy on data management and sharing.

September 2016


Read the policy

Research data has to be deposited within three months of the end of the award. ESRC UK Data Service (UKDS) is the approved data repository for ESRC-funded research.

Where a delay in dissemination of deposited data is needed to allow grant holders to publish their research findings, an embargo period can be applied to the data.

Researchers have to consider legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data at the initiation of the research process and throughout both the research and data life cycles, which shall be described in the data management plan.

The ESRC refers researchers to these pages for information on obtaining a proper consent for data collection from human participants.

September 2016
Isaac Newton Trust At the moment, the Isaac Newton Trust does not have dedicated research data policies in place. September 2016
Leverhulme Trust The Trust has currently no dedicated research data policies in place. September 2016


Read the policy

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.

Grant holders shall review and update their data management plans annually. MRC also provides a detailed guideline on dealing with personal data in medical research.

Applicants are also expected to submit a data management plan together with the grant proposal. For more information on MRC's requirements for data management plans read here.

October 2016


Read the policy

Possible sanctions: “those who do not meet the data management requirements […] risk having award payments withheld or becoming ineligible for future funding”

Data needs to be deposited into a NERC data centre within 2 years of collection

September 2016


Read the policy

"Data sharing is essential for expedited translation of research results into knowledge, products and procedures to improve human health." September 2016


Read the policy

Data generated through participation of patients and the public should be put to maximum use by the research community and, whenever possible, translated to deliver patient benefit.

In addition, the final report should include a statement with a clear and positive indication of where and when the data will be shared.

June 2017

Royal Society

Read the policy

"All manuscripts submitted to Royal Society journals should contain a Data Accessibility section which states where the article's supporting data can be accessed." The Royal Society provides detailed guidelines on how to cite supporting data.

"Datasets should be deposited in an appropriate, recognized, publicly available repository. Where no data-specific repository exists authors should deposit their datasets in a general repository such as Dryad or Figshare, or include it in the Supplementary Material."

September 2016


Read the policy

"Data resulting from publicly funded research should be made publicly available after a limited period, unless there are specific reasons (e.g. legislation, ethical, privacy and security) why this should not happen."

Research data supporting publications should be made available within 6 months of the publication date.

Research data should be retained for at least 10 years from the completion of the project.

"For data that by their nature cannot be re-measured (e.g. earth observations), effort should be made to retain them ‘in perpetuity’"

September 2016

Wellcome Trust

Read the policy

Read guidelines for data management plans

"Making research data widely available to the research community in a timely and responsible manner ensures that these data can be verified, built upon and used to advance knowledge and its application to generate improvements in health."

We have also invited the Wellcome Trust to discuss their data sharing requirements with researchers at Cambridge. We have published blog posts summarising these discussions:

September 2016