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Policies & funders' expectations

Get information and guidance on the data sharing policies of UCL and the various funding agencies such as UKRI, the research councils the Wellcome Trust.

Data policies & expectations

If your project has been funded by one of the major funding agencies they will have policies in place regarding data management and data sharing. It is important to be aware of these policies and what your responsibilities are. There is specific guidance for several major funding agencies available. If you are governed by more than one policy, always adhere to the most stringent one. Read about the policies of the major funding bodies, below

If your funding is from a smaller agency, such as a charity, they may not have a specific policy in place. UCL as an institution however has its own policies and expectations regarding research data. You are expected to follow this policy to be in line with best practice for handling research data. 

Many teams across UCL can advise on institutional policy on research ethics, integrity data protection and legal matters if your funding applicaiton needs support in these areas:

Writing a Data Management Plan

Find out what to write in the Data Management Plan that you should prepare as part of your research project and grant application.

Costing & funding data management

Funding agencies will cover costs associated with data management, as long as the cost is justified in the funding application. 

Policies and Links

AHRC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

AHRC grant applications will often require evidence of how you will mange your research data, in the form of a data management plan. Consult the guidance for specific grant types and funding calls for more information as this may vary.

Data retention period

AHRC state that data produced should be held for at least three years after the end of the project. This is less than the expectations of UCL, which expects data to be held for at least 10 years.

Data sharing & availability expectation

The data must be shared accessibly, but the decision of where best to store it is down to the individual researchers. Data should be shared as soon as practically possible and no later than at the point of publication of the research findings.

Costs associated with storage and sharing of data should be included in the initial grant application.

BBSRC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

All grant applications to the BBSRC should include a data management. BBSRC provide guidance on this document on their website.

Costs related to data storage and data sharing can be included as part of the full economic cost of a research project.

Data retention period

Data should be retained for a minimum of 10 years after the end of a project.

Data sharing & availability expectations

There is an expectation that data should be shared, but the decision on how best to do this lies with individual researchers or groups so they may choose the most appropriate route for the data they have. Where an existing community resource exists, this should be used in preference to a general repository.

BBSRC acknowledge in certain research areas it is standard practice for researchers to have a period of exclusive access to their data.

  • Crystallography (Protein Data Bank) - the community has agreed a maximum 12-month delay between publishing the first paper on a structure and making coordinates public for secondary use.
  • Sequencing (EMBL Nucleotide Sequence database) – submitted data can be withheld from public access until publication of results but no later.
  • Metabolomics (MeT-RO) – Up to a six-month delay in publication can be requested.
  • Arabidopsis microarray data (NASC Affymetrix service) – all data are made available after a maximum one-year confidential period.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Policy Links

The Foundation has data sharing requirements as part of their open access policy which specifies that "Data Underlying Published Research Results Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately".

Cancer Research UK

Policy links

CRUK expect that “data arising from the research that it funds should be managed and made available as widely and freely as possible to maximise public benefit”, while making allowances for periods of exclusive use of the data and commercial exploitation.

Grant application guidelines

CRUK will ask for a data sharing plan as part of the grant application process. They provide extensive guidance on data sharing and writing data sharing plans and the plan must be completed using their specific template.

Costs related to data management and sharing should be included in the grant application.

Data retention period

At least five years after the end of the grant, which is less stringent than UCL’s own policy.

Data sharing & availability expectations

The use of publishing data with DOIs and the use of ORCID identifiers are encouraged to allow for proper data citation and for researchers to be appropriately credited for their contributions. Data should be released at the point of publication of research findings, but restrictions are allowed for IP protection, third party agreements, or for a period of exclusive use of the data in line with common practices in particular research areas.

EC Horizon 2020

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

A data management plan must be completed for all projects enrolled in the open research data pilot. The data management plan must be submitted as a deliverable within the first six months and updated throughout the project when appropriate.

Data retention period

No explicit retention period is specified.

Data sharing & availability expectations

There is a general expectation that data should be made as openly available as possible, with allowances made for commercial exploitation, or ethical reasons to not share the data openly.

EPSRC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

A data management plan is not specifically required.

Data retention period

Initially 10 years availability of data is required. Data should be retained for 10 years since the last time the data was requested or accessed.

Data sharing & availability expectations

All publications should include a data availability statement which described how the underlying data can be accessed and scrutinised. Data must be made available, unless restricted for legal or ethical reasons.

ESRC

Policy Links

ESRC have a research data policy and PDF guides containing FAQs and data management plan guidance

Data retention period

There is no specific data retention period, but as data is expected to be deposited in a repository at the end of a grant long term preservation is expected.

Data sharing & availability expectations

ESRC previously mandated that all research data should be deposited with the UK Data Archive. While researchers are now free to select an alternative repository for their data if they choose to.

MRC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

Researchers must complete a data management plan and should follow the MRC template. Depending on the nature of the different research projects there are different requirements for the level of detail:

  • 3 pages: Population cohorts, genetic, omics and imaging data, biobanks, and other collections that are potentially a rich resource for the wider research community.
  • 4 pages: Longitudinal studies, involving a series of data collections.
  • ¼ page up to 3 pages: All other research.

Data retention period

Data from basic research should be preserved for at least 10 years. Data from population health and longitudinal studies should be kept for 20 years.

Data sharing & availability expectations

Researchers are encouraged to share data and other outputs of research wherever possible in a timely and responsible manner with as few restrictions as possible. Researchers must be mindful of ethical and legal frameworks in addition to the need to safeguard participant confidentiality. A limited, defined period of exclusive use of the data is acceptable according to the nature and value of the data.

NERC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

NERC has a unique expectation that researchers funded by NERC should work closely with specific NERC-affiliated data centres to effectively manage their data and deposit their data there at the end of a project. More details on NERC data centres are presented here:

NIH (US dept. of health)

Policy Links

NIH have a range of policies depending on the type of data. Consult their detailed guidance on scientific data sharing.

Grant application guidelines

A data sharing plan is expected to be included in the application.

Data retention period

None specified.

Data sharing & availability expectations

Data should be shared at the point of publication of findings that rely on the data. The decision of which repository or archive to use for this purpose lies with the individual researcher. Costs related to data sharing can be included in the grant application.

STFC

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

A data management plan is usually required as part of the proposal. More detailed information can be found here:

Data retention period

None specified.

Data sharing & availability expectations

Data should be made available as soon as possible in a recognised research repository or subject specific database, and within in six months of publication of results. If data is not released for any reason a justification must be provided.

Wellcome Trust

Policy Links

Grant application guidelines

An outputs management plan must be completed as part of the grant application process

Data retention period

To be compliant with the Wellcome Trust policies data should be available indefinitely through a recognised repository, unless there is a reason to restrict the data.

Data sharing & availability expectations

Data, materials and software must be shared with as few restrictions as possible. Data underpinning research papers should made available at the point of publication.