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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="https://library.cranfield.ac.uk/knl/research-data-management/data-management-plans/" target="_blank">Data management plans</a> section for guidance and funder templates for DMPs. Contact researchdata@cranfield.ac.uk 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.

Data management plan required at application?
Remember to include the data management plan (DMP) in your project deliverables. It must be submitted in the first six months of the award. An updated DMP deliverable must also be produced mid-project (for projects longer than twelve months) and at the end of the project (where relevant).

In the excellence section of the main proposal you must include a sub-section, up to 1 page, detailing how research data generated and/or collected during the project will be managed.

This section should be kept brief and to the point. You should not need more than half a page, or a page at most if large amounts of data will be involved and/or data management will be complex.

Horizon Europe endorses the FAIR principles and you should demonstrate how data will be managed in line with these (see below).

Help with costs?
All University researchers are eligible to deposit data in Cranfield’s research data repository (CORD) free of charge. The EC also provides its own repository for the outputs of EC-funded research, Zenodo. There is no charge to use this service. If you will be collecting a large amount of data (as a guide, requiring more than 100 GB of storage capacity), you may need to include data storage costs in your budget. The amount requested should be consistent with the data volume anticipated.

Many data centres and data repositories do not charge for the deposit of data, but this is not always the case. It may depend on the volume of the data to be deposited. For example, TB-scale volumes of modelling output generated in climate/weather research could be deposited in the NERC Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) Archive, but applicants would need to obtain a quote from CEDA. The Archaeology Data Service is a rare example of a data centre that levies a deposit charge as standard.

Costs for use of external services are eligible for EC grant funding.

Data deposit and timescales
Horizon Europe requires that research data be deposited in a data repository as specified and within deadlines set out in the DMP. This does not necessarily mean data have to be made open, as access can be restricted where this is necessary. Data should be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. But metadata describing the data should be available where possible, so that the data are findable. If some or all of your data cannot be made openly available, you must have discussed this at the proposal stage, and clearly identified the relevant data and reason for their exclusion in your DMP. In cases where access to data will be entirely restricted, metadata should still be made openly available where possible, so that the existence of the data can be ascertained. Personal websites and databases, publisher websites, as well as cloud storage services (Dropbox, Google drive, etc) are not considered repositories. Academia.edu, ResearchGate and similar platforms do not allow open access under the terms required and are NOT considered repositories. These services do not satisfy the Horizon Europe requirements. Provide a timeline for making the data openly available. If you plan to restrict access to the data, explain what provisions will be put in place to enable access for verification purposes.

Access and data sharing
Research data should be made available under open licence where there is no reason to restrict access. This can be through the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC-BY 4.0), the Creative Commons Zero Public Domain Declaration (CC0) or any other suitable open licence. Information about any tools/software/models instruments used to generate the data, and which are required to validate, interpret or re-use the data, should be provided in documentation accompanying the data deposited in the repository. Information must include a detailed description of the tool/instrument, how to access it, and any dependencies on commercial products. Where code has been written to generate or analyse the data, this should be archived alongside data or made available under open licence in a suitable online location, such as a code repository platform (e.g. GitHub).

You may wish to provide for protection of data that will be subject to commercial exploitation (e.g. patenting or licensing), or clarify that some personal or commercially-privileged data will not be made available, in order to meet relevant ethical and/or legal obligations.

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.