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EPSRC expectations on Research Data Management

As of the 1st of May 2015 EPRSC-funded projects have to comply with several new expectations.

EPSRC expectations arise from core principles summarised below:

"Publicly funded research data should generally be made as widely and freely available as possible in a timely and responsible manner";
preservation and sharing of data contribute to the impact of research;
"The research process should not be damaged by the inappropriate release of such data" and "researchers should be entitled to a limited period of privileged access to the data they collect";

Researchers and students funded by EPSRC "will be required to comply with this policy, or, in exceptional circumstances, to provide justification of why this is not possible" (exemptions for legal, ethical and/or commercial reasons); EPSRC can contribute to supporting the costs involved by data management.

EPSRC Research Data Policy - Definition of research data

"Research data is defined as recorded factual material commonly retained by and accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings; although the majority of such data is created in digital format, all research data is included irrespective of the format in which it is created."

Implementation notes for these principles are explained below.

Expectations for all EPSRC-funded projects
Your pending publications
  • should describe in a short Data Access Statement how and where the data supporting the publication can be accessed (i.e. in publications, the mention «contact author» is not sufficient) - Sample of Data Access Statements
  • to be eligible for REF submission, papers accepted for publication after the 1st April 2016 must be deposited in your chosen Open Access repository within 3 months of acceptance
  • ŒEPSRC expects papers to be freely available maximum 6 months after they are published (i.e. via the «Green route» of Open Access); an embargo of up to 12 months is accepted - Open Access information & support
Your research data
  • should to be securely stored for 10 years from the date of the last request to access them (in any chosen repository or data centre) - Options for data storage
  • should be easy to share; if they are non-digital data, this can be facilitated via digitization - Information on digitisation services
  • requests by third parties to access your data should be recorded in a regular and coherent way. A system to record such requests centrally will soon be put in place and advertised. In the meantime please keep a copy of any such request in a dedicated folder. If you receive such a request please forward it to the project's Principal Investigator as s/he should always be consulted about access to the project data.
Your metadata
  • should be published online within 12 months of the creation of your research data and explicitly indicate what data exists, when and how it was generated
  • should mention details of restricted data, the reasons for restrictions and the conditions of access
  • should include a Digital Object Identifier (i.e. a persistent URL) - Information on creating & publishing metadata
Data Management PlanYou should also use a Data Management Plan when developing your project; this will also help you to anticipate data management costs. - Information on Data Management Plans & on costing data management

To understand more about Research Data Management and your responsibilities you may find it useful to read UCL Research Data Policy, EPSRC Research Data Policy and its clarifications of expectations.

If you have any difficulty in meeting these expectations, and at whatever stage of your project, please contact your Research Data Support Officers.

These FAQs for EPSRC-funded projects can also be of help.