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Research data management

Research data management (RDM) refers to the administration of data throughout a research project, including requirements on preservation and sharing after the project ends.

RDM in bids and proposals

Research data management (RDM) in bids and proposals

All projects must follow both Cranfield University’s Management of Research Data policy (pdf) and any/all funders’ data management policies. Research data policies, whether from universities, funders, publishers, journals, etc, all cover three fundamental points:

  1. Writing and following a data management plan (DMP) for your project. See DMP advice.
  2. Long-term data preservation in an appropriate repository, whether data can be publicly shared or not.
  3. Including a data availability statement in all published papers, whether data is public or not. See data statement advice.

What do I need to include in an application?

In a grant application, public funders generally ask for a data management plan (DMP) while other bodies ask for a statement about data management and sharing. Read the <a href="" target="_blank">Data management plans</a> section for guidance and funder templates for DMPs. Contact for support writing a DMP or reviewing a draft.

A statement on data management should demonstrate your commitment to best practice, and may be built up from this example:

Research data will be managed throughout this project in line with Cranfield University’s Management of Research Data Policy (pdf), and [any funder-specific requirements]. We acknowledge the importance of research data and will create a data management plan at project start, to use throughout the project. Data will be kept on secure institutional storage during the project and preserved long-term on our institutional CORD repository after the project. Any potential barriers to sharing will be reviewed early on to try to overcome these, so that the CORD data may be open access. All publications will include a data access statement to provide access to related data.

RDM requirements for funders

Is a data management plan required at application?
Yes. All Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows proposals must submit a Data Management Plan. The plan should not exceed two pages. Suggested layout and headings are prescribed by AHRC. (This requirement was introduced in March 2018. Previously, the AHRC required a Technical Plan for projects planning digital outputs.)

Help with costs?
“Costs related to long term storage will be permitted providing these are fully justified and relate to the project.”

Data deposit and timesacales
Significant electronic resources and datasets should be made available via “an accessible and appropriate depository” for at least three years after the end of the project. If this is not possible, a justification must be given in the DMP.

Access and data sharing
The default expectation is that access to these outputs will be free. If the intention is to charge for access, this must be justified.

Note: AHRC applicants are required to confirm that they have consulted their institution’s data support services, and that the institution can provide appropriate data storage and other support.

Is a data management plan required at application?
Yes. All applications seeking research grant funding from BBSRC must submit a statement on data sharing. This should include concise plans for data management and sharing as part of research grant proposal or provide explicit reasons why data sharing is not possible or appropriate. The “statement on data sharing” will be included as an additional page in the case for support.

Help with costs?
Funding to support the management and sharing of research data (for example staffing, physical resources such as storage and networking capability) can be requested as part of the full economic cost of a research project.

Data deposit and timesacales
It is expected that data is released at time of publication or at the latest within three years, and that the data will be available for 10 years after project end.

Access and data sharing
BBSRC expects the data to be shared via an appropriate, established repository. A list of supported repositories is available here.

Data management plan required at application?
Not required to be included as part of a grant application, but required for all funded projects.

Help with costs?
If there are potential costs in storing and/or managing your research data, these will need to be highlighted in the costs of your grant.

When and where to deposit data
Research data that underpins publication must be referenced in published papers: you should include a statement on how and on what terms any underlying data can be accessed by third parties​. Publish metadata within 12 months of the data being generated (when depositing data, a repository will enable the publication of the metadata describing your data in an appropriately structured way) describing your research data.

Access and data sharing
You need to provide details in your research papers of how the supporting research data can be accessed, and the research data must be securely preserved for at least 10 years* after any privileged access period expires. If your data is digital data, you should include a DOI​.

Note that EPSRC research data is not defined as every piece of data produced during a project. EPSRC have indicated that they expect the data which underpins published research outputs to be kept as a priority. You should decide in consultation with your Head of Department or project leader what should be kept and what should not.

Data management plan required at application?
Yes. ESRC applicants who plan to generate data from their research must submit a data management plan as part of their Je-S application.

Help with costs?
ESRC will provide appropriate funding for data management where costs of implementation have been included in the data management plan.

When and where to deposit data
Research data created or re-purposed during a project must be made available for re-use or archiving with the ESRC data service providers (e.g., the UK Data Service – UKDS) within three months of the end of the grant.

Access and data sharing
The ESRC data service providers are responsible for ensuring long-term access to data which has been placed in their care. It is recognised that some research data will be sensitive and unsuitable for sharing. It is the responsibility of the researcher to consider confidentiality, ethics, security and copyright before beginning any ESRC-funded research. It may be that parts of the data that are sensitive cannot be shared, but the remainder can. See the ESRC Research ethics guidance.

Data management plan required at application?
Yes. The data management plan should detail what data the project will generate, whether and how it will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Help with costs?
Costs related to data management and open access to research data are eligible for reimbursement during the Horizon 2020 project if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions specified in the Grant Agreement. Specific technical and professional support services can be found through the OpenAIRE and EUDAT2020 projects.

Data deposit and timescales
Data must be deposited in an appropriate repository; useful listings of research data repositories include the Registry of Research Data Repositories. In addition, it is expected that the Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE) will become an entry point for linking publications to underlying research data.

Access and data sharing
The Open Research Data Pilot (ORD Pilot) was extended, as stated in the 2017 work programme, to make open access the default setting for research data generated in Horizon 2020.

However, not all data can be open. Projects can therefore opt out at any stage (either before or after signing the grant) and so free themselves retroactively from the obligations associated with the conditions – if:
  • participation is incompatible with the obligation to protect results that can reasonably be expected to be commercially or industrially exploited
  • participation is incompatible with the need for confidentiality in connection with security issues
  • participation is incompatible with rules on protecting personal data
  • participation would mean that the project's main aim might not be achieved
  • the project will not generate / collect any research data or
  • there are other legitimate reasons (you can enter these in a free-text box at the proposal stage).
The Commission's approach can therefore be described as "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". The Pilot on Open Research Data will be monitored throughout Horizon 2020 with a view to further developing EC policy on open research.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, running until 2027.

Data management plan required at application?
Applicants who intend to generate or collect data must provide a brief overview (no more than one page long) on how the data will be managed in line with the FAIR principles (that is, be made Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). Projects that receive funding must then submit a comprehensive data management plan within six months.

DMP template available from funder? 
Yes: a template is available from the EC (look under 'Templates & forms', then 'Project reporting documents'). A Horizon Europe template is also available via DMPonline.

Data management costs covered by funder?

Data publication timeframe?
No specific timeframe is given, but data should be deposited as soon as possible.

Data preservation timeframe? 
Not specified.

Preferred data repository? 
No specific location for data deposit is mandated. However, researchers should use a trusted repository which allows data to be as open and as FAIR as possible. An OpenAIRE Guide for Researchers provides advice on selecting an appropriate repository.

Access: Data should be made available following the principle 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary', and in line with the FAIR principles.

Further sources of help

Data management plan required at application?
Yes. All NERC proposals require an Outline Data Management Plan to identify data sets of long term value that should be made available to NERC data centres for archiving and reuse at the end of the fellowship or grant.
For successful proposals, the outline data management plans will be used by the NERC data centres to produce a full Data Management Plan (DMP) in collaboration with the Principal Investigator(s), within three to six months of the start date of the grant.

Help with costs?
Yes – applications must identify all resources needed to implement the Data Management Plan.

Data deposit and timescales
At the end of a research project NERC requires that all datasets with long-term value should be made available for others to use with as few restrictions as possible, and in a timely manner, usually via one of the Environmental data centres. Researchers have ‘right of first use’ to their data but this is normally restricted to two years from the end of data collection.

Access and data sharing
All environmental data held by the NERC Data Centres will be made freely available without any restrictions on use – except for a limited number of datasets where third party rights require NERC to restrict access or to levy charges.

NERC Data Policy
NERC Model Metadata​
NERC data management plan template

​For any new project, you should check whether the funder has a policy on data management and sharing. If you are working exclusively with a commercial partner, it is likely that not all research data can be openly shared; if that is the case please see the guidance on Data availability statements to choose the most appropriate statement to add to your published results.

However, some charitable bodies will expect data sharing, and Cranfield University's Management of Research Data Policy (pdf) outlines our own expectations. Our policy and external policies cover certain fundamental points:

  1. Data management plans (DMPs). All projects should use one, to ensure that data management is considered from the outset, especially regarding how you can preserve and share data long-term. Early planning ensures that any potential delays or barriers to good data management are highlighted in time to be overcome.
  2. Long-term data preservation. Data is valuable for re-use and should often either be preserved securely for re-use or shared openly to enable further external collaboration and research. Cranfield's CORD repository can be used for both open and restricted access data.
  3. Data availability statements. All published articles and conference papers should include a statement telling readers how they can access the underlying data (or why they cannot), and under what conditions they can do so.
  4. CORD, Cranfield’s research data repository, is the ideal place to deposit your research data, thus providing a secure way of linking to your published results and ensuring they are preserved for a minimum of ten years. Current instructions for Using CORD are available in the RDM guidance

Data management pln required at application? 
Yes, a data management plan is required at the application stage to be submitted alongside the Je-S application. STFC advises that Digital Curation Centre (DCC) guidance is followed. The DCC provides an online DMP tool (DMPonline) which provides the ability to create a DMP according to the specific requirements of various funding councils.

Help with costs?
The STFC does not state if costs for open access publication or data management and sharing can be included in grant applications.

When and where to deposit data
Data underpinning published research outputs should be available within six months of the output’s publication. You should ensure that raw data remains available for ten years from project completion, while data which is not re-measurable is retained ‘in perpetuity’. Data should be deposited in an appropriate repository which should be named by the applicant within their DMP.

Access and data sharing
STFC-funded research data must be made freely available after project completion via the appropriate repository, whilst allowing for a defined period of exclusive use.

Research council funded studentships are subject to the UKRI terms and conditions for funding and UKRI policy on open access​

  • This requires that papers acknowledge both the funding and how the underlying research materials/data can be accessed. It does not require that the data must be made open, but data is expected to be shared unless there are compelling reasons not to. These reasons may cover commercial confidentiality or sensitive personal data and should be outlined in the data access statement.
  • Additionally, all councils expect a data management plan to be written in early stages of the project and used throughout.

What about the costs of RDM?

Funders do accept that good data management, notably preparing data for sharing, can incur costs, and will review these costs in grants. However, we must cost consistently and at Cranfield we include RDM costs (namely data storage and preservation) in the fixed indirect overheads for UKRI projects, which avoids the high administrative burden of individual invoicing and costing.

If you would like to identify areas that could potentially create extra costs, to plan your processes to minimise such costs you might find the UK Data Service online costing tool and checklist useful.