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  1. Research integrity
  2. Research data management
  3. EPSRC and other funder policies

EPSRC and other funder policies

The Engineering & Physical Science Research Council have published requirements of what is expected from researchers who are in receipt of EPSRC funding.

Scholars with EPSRC funding

The following expectations affect the way researchers handle and store their data:

  • All EPSRC-funded research 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 (i.e. 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)’.
  • 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’.

Notes on how to comply with the EPSRC principles:

How to make my publication eligible for REF?

All publications published after 1 May 2015 should include a Data Access Statement (DAS) describing how the data supporting the publication can be accessed.

Examples of DAS:

  • ‘Data underlying this article can be accessed on figshare at web link’
  • ‘Supplementary data associated with this study can be found in the online version at web link’
  • ‘No new data was collected in the course of this research’

To be eligible for the REF, journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN accepted for publication after 1st April 2016  need to be deposited in the institutional or subject repository (CRO).  According to the current REF policy, papers published between April 2016 and April 2018 need to be deposited within 3 months of the first publication date.

From  April 2018, papers will need to be deposited within 3 months of acceptance date; although this is subject to review by HEFCE in autumn 2017.

Research Data

Should be stored securely for at least 10 years in a chosen data repository.

Non-digital data should be stored securely, but also in a manner that can be shared if a third party asks for access to such data.


Should be published within 12 months of the creations of the research data.

Should indicate where the data exist, how they were generated and restrictions applied (if applicable).

Should include a Digital Object Identifier (i.e. a persistent link).

Funder policies on data management

RCUK Council

If you are funded by a RCUK Council, you should comply with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy. The policy points out that:

  • your published paper has to be accompanied by a statement that discloses the conditions under which your data can be accessed by third parties.
  • publicly funded research is a public good therefore it ‘should be made publicly available with as few restrictions as possible.’

Digital Curation Centre

The Digital Curation Centre has produced a summary with funders’ requirements on i) publication, ii) data policies and iii) support provided and it can be accessed in the Overview of funders’ data policies.

If you would like to access a summary of the key points of your funder’s requirements please visit Oxford University or University of Salford webpages.

HEFCE and REF2021

The Higher Education Funding Councils for England (HEFCE) supports the Open Access to Research agenda and requires researchers and their institutions to make certain research outputs open-access to be eligible for submission to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2021. This requirement applies to journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to an institutional repository.

In addition, HEFCE has indicated in its recent consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework it intends that credit be given to submissions that can demonstrate how the unit’s approach to open access is above and beyond the basic policy requirements, in terms of the type of outputs that are published on an open access basis, and to submissions where outputs are presented in a form that allows re-use of the work. HEFCE proposes that this information is provided through a statement detailing the unit’s open access strategy, and supported with data on the unit’s open access outputs and type of licencing.

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.