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  1. Research integrity
  2. Research data management
  3. Funder policies on research data

Funder policies on research data

Researchers are advised to note guidelines produced by funders in relation to open access and research data management prior to starting a grant application.

Funder policies and online resources

Funder Key information Links and other useful facts
EC Horizon 2020 programme
  • The European Commision open data principle: “As open as possible, as closed as necessary.”
  • Data management plan and open data is voluntary but strongly encouraged in Horizon 2020.
  • Applicants can sign up at the application/award stage to be part of an open data pilot. However, there is a right to opt-out to make data open access. The most common reasons for opting-out are protecting privacy, intellectual property rights and conflicts with project’s main objective.
Open Data infographic

Guidelines on implementation of Open Access to scientific publications and research data
Research Councils UK
  • All RCUK grant holders should comply with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy.
  • Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible.
  • Published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data.
RCUK data policy
  • All EPSRC-funded research publication must include a short statement describing how and on what terms supporting data may be accessed.
  • Data that support ‘published research findings will, by default, be available for scrutiny by others’. However, there may be compelling legal or ethical reasons to restrict access to the data (e.g. personal information).
  • EPSRC-funded research data should be securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Appropriately structured metadata describing the research data should be published and made freely available online normally within 12 months of the data being generated.
  • Metadata should always include a persistent digital object identifier.
  • Where data are restricted, metadata should summarise the reasons why and the conditions under which they could be made available.
  • Non-digital data should ‘be stored in a manner to facilitate it being shared in the event of a valid request for access to the data being received’.
EPSRC data expectations
  • Data management plan is mandatory and has to be submitted as part of the grant application.
  • ESRC grant holders must deposit all data created or repurposed during the lifetime of a grant in a responsible data repository. They must also provide metadata relating to the grant to the UK Data Service within three months of the end of the grant.
ESRC research data policy link title
  • The RCUK policy on open access is applicable in this occasion.
RCUK Data Policy
  • Data Management Plan is mandatory.
  • Data sharing is mandatory for clinical trials & public health interventions.
MRC open research data
  • Data Management Plan is mandatory.
  • The BBSRC expects all researchers to make research data open with as few restrictions as possible.
BBSRC data sharing policy
  • An outline data management plan is mandatory at application stage.
  • All successful applicants will be required to produce a detailed data management plan in conjunction with the appropriate NERC Data Centre.
  • All NERC-funded projects must work with the appropriate NERC Data Centre.
NERC data management planning informationNERC data policy
Wellcome Trust
  • Data Management Plan is mandatory.
  • The Wellcome Trust expects all researchers to make research data open with as few restrictions as possible.
  • Wellcome Trust is also signatory to the Concordat on Open Research Data.
Wellcome trust policy on data, software and materials management and sharing
  • The NIHR open access policy requires all NIHR researchers to prepare and submit to the NIHR a statement on how underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed.
  • The NIHR and the Department of Health reserve the right to use data or other material from research that it funds for policy development and publicity activities.
  • Any publication of findings or data has to be submitted to the NIHR 28 days before it is due to be published.
NIHR Open Access policy
Royal Society
  • Data management plan is mandatory.
  • There is an expectation to adopt best practice for data sharing via an appropriate and openly available repository.
Royal Society conditions of award in relation to funding schemes

Summarised information on funders’ policies is also provided by the Digital Curation Centre.

Open Access in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2021

Following extensive consultation with the sector, the four UK higher education funding bodies have introduced an open-access requirement in the next Research Excellence Framework (REF). The core of the policy is that journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in an open-access form to be eligible for the next REF in 2021. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to the institutional publications repository, City Research Online (CRO).

In addition, the UK funding bodies have indicated in their latest publication, Initial Decisions on the Research Excellence Framework 2021 that it intends that credit be given to submissions that go beyond the basic open access requirement - that journal articles and conference proceedings be put in open access. Institutions also will be required to set out in the Research Environment section of the REF 2021 form details about their open access strategy, including where this goes above and beyond the basic REF open access policy requirements, and wider activity to encourage the effective sharing and management of research data.

Finally, HEFCE is also considering ways in which it can incentivise HEIs to share and manage their research data more effectively. This is in accordance both with their role on the UK Open Research Data Forum, which has published a Concordat on Open Research Data, and with the invitation from Government to consider how open data could be rewarded as part of future REF assessments.