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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 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.

April 2019


Read the policy

AHRC do not have their own data policy, and instead share the UKRI common prinicples on data sharing. The new AHRC Funding Guide  was published in Jan 2019

The AHRC require Data Management Plans to be submitted in grant applications, replacing the old Technical Plans.

April 2019


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 2019

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." April 2019

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:

April 2019

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 2019


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 2019


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.

April 2019


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.

April 2019
Isaac Newton Trust At the moment, the Isaac Newton Trust does not have dedicated research data policies in place. April 2019
Leverhulme Trust The Trust has currently no dedicated research data policies in place. April 2019


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.

April 2019


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

April 2019


Read the policy

"Data sharing is essential for expedited translation of research results into knowledge, products and procedures to improve human health." April 2019


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.

April 2019

Royal Society

Read the policy

"Datasets and code 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."

Manuscripts submitted to Royal Society journals should cite datasets and code used in both the reference list and the 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.

April 2019


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’"

April 2019

Wellcome Trust

Read the policy

Read guidelines for output management plans

"As a minimum, the data underpinning research papers should be made available to other researchers at the time of publication, as well as any original software that is required to view datasets or to replicate analyses. Where research data relates to public health emergencies, researchers must share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, and in advance of journal publication. 

Anyone applying for Wellcome funding must consider their approach to managing and sharing anticipated outputs at the research proposal stage. In cases where these outputs are significant – generating data, software or materials that will hold clear value as a resource for others in academia or industry – applicants will need to include an outputs management plan explaining their planned approach. We will review this plan when making our funding decision. We will fund any justified costs for delivering the plan as part of funding the research."

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:

April 2019














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