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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 policies 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 170 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

UKRI

Read the policy

UKRI includes AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC research councils, plus Innovate UK and Research England.

UKRI expects research data arising from its funding to be made as open as possible and as restricted as necessary. Good research data management practices should be followed throughout your project. UKRI has seven Common principles on research data

If your award is from a research council, you will normally need to follow that council’s research data sharing policy and guidance. When you apply for funding, you may be asked to include a data management plan and costs for research data sharing and management activities. 

February 2024

AHRC

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AHRC do not have a standalone data policy; instead, follow the UKRI common principles on data sharing. AHRC require Data Management Plans to be submitted in grant applications. For full guidance, see the AHRC Funding Guide

February  2022

BBSRC

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All BBSRC grant applications must include a Data Management Plan. 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. Adherence to the proposed data management and sharing strategies in the plan will be monitored through this mechanism.

BBSRC expects data to be retained for a period of ten years after project completion.

Our detailed guidelines about BBSRC requirements are available here. We have previously discussed the BBSRC policy directly with Michael Ball from the BBSRC – discussions and  clarifications of the policy are published here.

February 2022

British Heart Foundation

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BHF provides a policy on patient data in medical research. It  does not provide a specific data archiving policy. Grant holders need to understand and adhere to the BHF Standard Conditions of Grant.  

"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."

February 2022

Cancer Research UK

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A list of all CRUK policies for grant holders, including their Data sharing and preservation 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.

In 2015, we invited CRUK to discuss their data sharing requirements with researchers at Cambridge. These blog posts summarise these discussions:

Charities' perspective on data management and sharing

Questions and answers

February 2022

EC (Horizon 2020)

Read the guidelines

Guidance on data management plans

 

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.

February 2022

EC (Horizon Europe)

Read the guidelines

See 'Open Science' section in the guidelines on mandatory and recommended Open Science practices, and how proposals will be assessed. Some highlights:

Open access to research data is requried under the premise 'as open as possible as close as necessary' (i.e. there can be exceptions).

Data management plans are mandatory for all projects generating or reusing data. 

Providing open access to research outputs beyond publications and data is recommended (e.g. software tools, models, apps, etc.).

Open data costs should be budgeted in the proposal.

February 2022

ERC

Horizon 2020 guidelines

Horizon 2020 & Horizon Europe

Guidance for ERC projects falling under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe can be found here.

Requirements related to research data management are embedded in your ERC grant agreement. Exact requirements depend on the ERC Work Programme.

Funds from your ERC grant can be allocated to storage and maintenance of research data generated by the ERC funded project.

February 2022

EPSRC

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EPSRC expectations

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

Also, 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 in 2015. Following these discussions we published a blog post clarifying the EPSRC policy on data management and sharing.

February 2022

ESRC

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Accompanying document: ESRC data citation: what you need to know

Grant applicants planning to generate data must submit a data management and sharing plan as part of the grant application process. The cost of data management and data preparation for sharing must be included in the grant proposal. 

Research data must be deposited within three months of the end of the award, with the UK Data Service or another suitable data repository. If you deposit in a repository which is not the UK Data Service, you still need to create a metadata record in UK Data Service ReShare and submit metadata relating to the grant and data collection through this service. 

There may be legal, ethical or commercial constraints to data sharing; these should be considered in detail before commencing research with the aim of maximising data sharing. For data obtained from human participants, you must seek to secure consent for data sharing or alternatively appropriately anonymise the data or discuss secure access mechanisms to make sharing possible. 

Research data should be accompanied by high-quality documentation and metadata. The data that support published research findings must be deposited at the same time; the publication should reference where the data can be found and accessed, ideally via a formal citation.  

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. 

February 2024

Gates Foundation

Open access policy

Data supporting accepted articles must be made openly available upon article publication. Accepted articles must have a Data Availability Statement that describes where to find primary metadata, associated metadata, original software and any additional materials needed to understand, assess and replicate the reported findings.

How to comply with the data sharing requirements.

November 2022
Isaac Newton Trust At present, the Isaac Newton Trust does not have a dedicated research data policy in place. February 2022
Leverhulme Trust Currenlty, the Leverhulme Trust has no dedicated research data policies in place. February 2022

MRC

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Policy should be read alongside MRC guidance on Sharing research data about people, Open research data from clinical trials and public health intervention studies and UKRI data sharing principles.

See comprehensive RDM Guidance for researchers. 

Data must be made available with as few restrictions as possible, to maximise the value of the data, improve research reproducibility and for patient and public benefit. Data must be shared in a timely and responsible manner. Peer-reviewed publications must include a data access statement. 

Full funding proposals and funding reviews should include a Data Management Plan (DMP) and details of planned data-sharing activities in line with this policy. Proposals should be explicit in highlighting costs relating to data collecting or generating, curation, sharing and archiving as distinct from the costs of the primary research. 

Data should be appropriately curated throughout its lifecycle and data sharing must include appropriate metadata to ensure that it is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).  

For research involving personal or confidential data, appropriate research governance (ethical, legal and institutional) that facilitates data sharing must be considered and implemented throughout the research lifecycle. Participant information sheets and consent forms must be clear about how the research team will make data available for data sharing.

MRC recognises that for legal, ethical, or contractual reasons, some datasets cannot be shared beyond the primary research. When this is the case, the reasons for this should be made clear in funding proposals and reviews, and data access statements. 

MRC is a co-signatory to the WHO joint statement on public disclosure of results from clinical trials, which supports the timely public disclosure of results from all clinical trials. 

February 2024

NERC

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NERC requires all environmental data of long-term value generated through NERC-funded activities to be submitted to a NERC data centre within 2 years from the end of data collection. 

Possible sanctions for non-compliance: “those funded by NERC who do not meet these requirements risk having award payments withheld or becoming ineligible for future funding from NERC”.

All NERC proposals should include an outline data management plan, with a full plan produced post-award in collaboration with the appopriate NERC data centre – details of this process. The funding application should indicate resources needed to carry out the plan.

February  2022

NIH

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“NIH encourages the sharing of data whenever possible. Sharing scientific data accelerates biomedical research discovery, in part, by enabling validation of research results, providing accessibility to high-value datasets, and promoting data reuse for future research studies.”

A new NIH Data Management and Sharing policy came into effect on 25 January 2023. The DMS applies to all research, funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH, that results in the generation of scientific data. Researchers are encouraged to establish what types of projects fall under the DMS policy and how NIH handles sharing of proprietary data.

Under the DMS policy, NIH expects that investigators and institutions:

  • Plan and budget for the managing and sharing of data;
  • Submit a DMS plan for review when applying for funding;
  • Comply with the approved DMS plan.

(Individual NIH Institutes, Centers, or Offices may have additional policies and expectations).

Important note: NIH Grants - foreign subrecipients must provide copies of all lab notebooks, data and documentation. Please read the information linked to above and contact the Research Data team if you require support with this. Further information from the NIH on how foreign subawards are affected by the new policy (including video updates) is given on their Subawards website. 

February 2024

NIHR

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The NIHR strongly supports appropriate sharing of data, to help deliver research that maximises benefits to patients  and the wider public, and health and care system.

Sharing data in a repository is encouraged. Publications must include a data access statement, describing how underpinning data can be accessed. 

Link to all NIHR policies and guidelines.

February 2022

Royal Society

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Datasets and code should be deposited in an appropriate, recognised, publicly available repository. 

Manuscripts submitted to Royal Society journals should cite datasets and code 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.

February 2022

STFC

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"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’"

Data management plans are mandatory for most grant applications.

February 2022

Wellcome Trust

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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. Applicants will need to include an outputs management plan. This is reviewed when making a funding decision. They will fund any justified costs for delivering the plan as part of funding the research."

In 2015, we invited the Wellcome Trust to discuss their data sharing requirements with researchers at Cambridge. These blog posts summarise these discussions:

Charities' perspective on data management and sharing

Questions and answers

February 2022