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University of Cambridge

Research Data Management Policy Framework

Last updated: 23 April 2015


  1. The University of Cambridge is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, it supports the principle that the results of its research that have been publicly funded should be freely accessible, and therefore supports its staff in making their research available.
  2. University staff and students are responsible for managing and curating data in accordance with Chapter XIII of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances on Finance and Property, subsection Intellectual Property Rights1, the University’s Research Policies2, the University’s Research Integrity and Ethics guidelines3 and in accordance with the  policies of their research funders4.


  1. In seeking to extend the principle of disseminating research and scholarship as widely as possible from research publications to all forms of research data (defined as materials to validate published research findings), the University is committed to implementing procedures that are discipline-appropriate, proportionate, evidence-based, practical, cost-effective and sustainable, and in the best interests of enhancing its mission.
  2. The University is committed to achieving compliance with the data policies of its external research sponsors, publishers and governmental agencies, and requires its staff and students to abide by terms and conditions agreed with third parties. The University also recognises that such third parties’ policies are evolving and that they may require higher levels of data accessibility and dissemination in the future.
  3. The University affirms respect for disciplinary and sub-disciplinary norms and for each individual's intellectual investment, recognising that data underpinning research varies from the creation of new data through experimentation or survey through to the extraction of information from sources where the copyright is externally held, such as from published and unpublished texts, archives, works of art, musical manuscripts etc.
  4. The University recognises that there is a balance between openness and duties under professional codes and legal obligations.
  5. The University acknowledges that a full implementation of this policy framework will be a long-term process.
  6. This policy framework will be regularly reviewed by the Open Access Project Board5 and may therefore be subject to change.

The University is responsible for:

  1. Disseminating information amongst its academics about the requirements under this policy framework and under policies of the University’s funders4 in relation to research data.
  2. Developing infrastructure and training to promote best practice in data management amongst its academics, to acknowledge its obligations and achieve compliance with this policy framework and with its funders’ data policies4.
  3. Managing a dedicated website6 providing guidance for the University’s academics in good data management practice.
  4. Maintaining an institutional register of supporting data for publicly funded published research in line with funders’ requirements.

University Staff and Students:

  1. Retain intellectual property rights where they arise or the right to apply for such rights arise from the results of activities undertaken by University staff in the course of their employment by the University and by students in the course of their study at the University in accordance with Chapter XIII of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances on Finance and Property, subsection Intellectual Property Rights1
  2. Should be aware when considering whether they may want to commercialise the results of their research that, in respect of patents and similar rights in inventions and new technology, protection for and subsequent commercialisation of such inventions may be jeopardised if information about the inventions is publicly disclosed before all relevant applications for protection have been lodged. A public disclosure would include depositing research data in a publicly accessible discipline-based or institutional repository.
  3. Are encouraged to do the following at the design stage of a research project:
    1. Prepare a Data Management Plan, in accordance with guidance provided by the University of Cambridge7 and the Digital Curation Centre8 (DCC). If funders require a Data Management Plan, such plan needs to be prepared according to funders’ requirements4.
    2. Ensure that legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data are considered 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.
    3. Allocate appropriate resources (time and financial resources) for data management in their grant proposal.
  4. Ought to make their research data underpinning published research findings as widely and openly available as possible, ideally by depositing research data in appropriate repositories (discipline-based or institutional9). Such data should be assigned persistent Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs).
  5. Should provide a statement in research articles describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed (or a statement that all data is contained within the article, if there is no supporting research data). Supporting data should be accessible online no later than the first online publication of the article.
  6. Ought to ensure that published research data has appropriate metadata description in accordance with guidance provided by the University of Cambridge10.
  7. Are responsible for providing access to research data requested by third parties as freely and timely as possible, unless access to the data is restricted by a legal obligation (e.g. non-disclosure agreement), intellectual property protection, ethical approval requirements (e.g. destruction of data from human participants), ethical or security reasons, or other legitimate reasons. Such reasons shall be stated in the metadata description, or in the research article (if the data directly supports a research article).
  8. Are strongly encouraged (and might be requested to do so by funders4) to update their Data Management Plans regularly, and to ensure that at the end of the project all their research outputs, together with their location, are indicated in their Data Management Plans.
  9. Should ensure that research data records are retained in appropriate repositories (discipline-based or institutional9) for as long as the data seems to be valuable to the data creator or to others, or for as long as is required by the funder4 or by other regulatory requirements.
  10. When depositing research data into external data repositories, they should choose data repositories which support Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)11. ORCID provides each academic with a unique identifier, and is increasingly required by publishers and by data repositories at the stage of research output submission. The use of ORCID ensures that each academic’s research activities are distinguished from those of others with similar names.
  11. Are encouraged to deposit their final Data Management Plans into an appropriate repository (discipline-based or institutional9).
  12. Are encouraged to store publicly-funded research data that is not generated in a digital format in a manner to facilitate it being shared.


Approved at Research Policy Committee 23 April 2015


1 Chapter XIII of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, Finance and Property subsection on Intellectual Property Rights is located at:

University’s Research Policies are located at:

University’s Research Integrity and Ethics guidelines are located at:

4 Policies of major University’s funders can be found at:

5 Open Access Project Board website:

6 University’s website with resources dedicated to research data management can be found at:

7 University of Cambridge guidelines on data management plans, as well as the online tool to create Data Management plans are available at:

8 Digital Curation Centre (DCC) provide a set of guidelines and case studies for creation of data management plans:

9 Information on the University’s repository is available at:​

10 University of Cambridge guidance on metadata descriptions is located at:

11 To read more about ORCID and to create an ORCID visit:

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