EPSRC Data Expectations

The EPSRC's Policy Framework on Research Data sets out nine expectations concerning research data. Learn what these expectations mean for you.

In 2011 EPSRC published its Policy Framework on Research Data which includes several expectations that need to be fully met by those it funds by May 2015. In essence, the Principal Investigator needs to make sure that EPSRC funded research data are freely/openly available with as few restrictions as possible.

What do researchers need to do?

  1. Data Management Plan (DMP): Although not a formal part of the application, EPSRC and Lancaster University expect you to have a DMP in place. Consider in your plan what data you would wish to share with others, and how you will do so. The Library provides individual support for writing DMPs if needed. There is an EPSRC Data Management Template in DMPonline, a web-based tool for creating data management plans. Please note that you should provide a short statement in the application's Case for Support (CfS) describing how data will be shared and the added value this will create as outlined in EPSRC's guidance.
  2. Publication of your data: Expectations on storage and preservation can in general be met by depositing your data that underpins your publication in a suitable subject, national or journal data repository, or otherwise in the University’s Pure system. To find out more about suitable data repositories and whether they meet EPSRC requirements you can contact rdm@lancaster.ac.uk.
  3. Acknowledgement of data in publications: Ensure published research with a publication date of 1st of May 2015 or after has a statement describing how to access supporting data. You need to include a DOI or another persistent identifier in your publication that points to the data or a metadata record explaining how data can be accessed or why it cannot be shared. This can be done via an external data repository or Pure. Email us if you have any questions: rdm@lancaster.ac.uk.
  4. Costs of research data management: If there are potential costs in storing, curating and/or managing your research data, please include these costs in your grant application. This includes costs of anonymisation of your data if necessary. Costs must be incurred within the lifetime of your project.

EPSRC data archiving key requirements

In summary, EPSRC requires that:

  • research data will be preserved for a minimum of 10 years
  • the data will be assigned a stable reference (DOI)
  • the data will be described with standard metadata on deposit
  • the data will be or can be shared upon request

What data are we expected to keep and make available?

This is often a tricky question as it depends on your individual research project. In summary, EPSRC gives the following guidelines:

EPSRC expects you to publish:

  • the data that underpins publications
  • the data that validates research findings
  • the data that is worth keeping

The important principle is that the validity of the published research findings is testable. The minimum expectation is that you should provide the information that someone would need to be able to validate published work – this is also critical to maximise the impact of publicly funded research and to maintain public trust in science and research.

How does software fit into EPSRC’s research data policy?

You are expected to share software if the software is necessary to validate research findings, such as those published in a journal paper. The examples by the Software Sustainability Institute should clarify situations when your software should be preserved and made accessible. As a “rule of thumb”, if your journal paper does not include sufficient detail for others to unambiguously replicate your work, you should share your code as part of your research data.

Please also choose an open-source licence for your software.

EPSRC data publication Decision Tree

Where do you want to archive your data? For a quick overview on where and how to publish your research data, there is an EPSRC decision tree available from Research Data Oxford.