Funder Expectations

Data management is a key element of the research process. This is why your funder expects you to think about data management very early in your research planning stage.

Planning is essential

Most major research funders now require some form of documentation at the application stage, to explain how the applicant plans to manage any research data they will create. The extent and detail of these policies can vary.

Some funders prefer this information to be included within the main application while others ask for a separate data management plan (DMP), technical plan or similar document.

Data expectations of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

If you are funded by UKRI, in line with policy on Open Access to publications you are required to include a statement in your published paper on how and on what terms any underlying data can be accessed by third parties (Data access statements). If there are considered to be good or compelling reasons to limit access to the data, these should be included in the statement.

Please select your Research Council below to see the relevant data expectations and get further links for help and guidance.

  • AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)

    Since 29th March 2018, AHRC have required a data management plan (DMP). This replaced the requirement for a technical plan.

    All proposals submitted under the Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows schemes requires a data management plan. You should follow guidance via the Research Councils' Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) application portal and your funding call to determine whether it is necessary to complete a Data Management Plan.

    If a data management plan is required, please see the guidance below: 

    • Application stage: You need to include a data management plan (maximum of 2 pages) with your application if you produce digital outputs. The data management plan should be submitted using the Technical Plan attachment type on Je-S. We have an example of an AHRC DMP in our DMP Library.
    • Data deposit: Metadata describing your research data needs to be published within 12 months of the data being generated and, if it is digital data, include a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). Data must be released no later than the publication of findings.
    • Data retention: Award holders are required to ensure that "any significant electronic resources or datasets" are made available and accessible via an "appropriate repository" for at least three years after the end of the funded project. We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with Lancaster University's data archive where it will be preserved for at least 10 years.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared.

    AHRC do not have their own data policy, and instead they support the UKRI common principles on data policy.

  • BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

    BBSRC have provided guidance on their expectations as specified in their data sharing policy:

    • Application stage: A data sharing plan (maximum of 1 page) is required as part of all applications for research grant funding. We have an example of a BBSRC DMP in our DMP Library.
    • Costs: Funding to support the management and sharing of research data can be requested as part of the full economic cost of a research project.
    • Data deposit: Data must be released no later than the publication of findings and within three years of project completion.
    • Data retention: Data must be available for a minimum of ten years after the end of the project end and in a form appropriate for secondary use.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared.
    • Compliance with the BBSRC Data Sharing Policy will be monitored and built into the Final Report score, which may be taken into account for future proposals.

    Please also consult the useful BBSRC data management planning guidance document from the University of Leicester.

  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

    EPSRC has the strictest policy on research data sharing. Researchers/Grant-holders have a responsibility to understand and adhere to EPSRC’s principles and expectations for RDM. Check the short overview below or consult our extensive EPSRC guidance webpage which includes frequently asked questions.

    • Application stage: The EPSRC does not require researchers to submit formal data management or sharing plans in grant applications. However, it does expect policies and plans to be in place. In practice this means that you need a data management plan to effectively manage the research data of your funded project. You won't need to submit this plan as part of your application.
    • Costs: Funding to support the management and sharing of research data can be requested as part of the full economic cost of a research project.
    • Data deposit: Metadata describing your research data needs to be published within 12 months of the data being generated and if it is digital data include a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). Data must be released no later than the publication of findings.
    • Data retention: Your research data must be securely preserved for at least 10 years after any privileged access period expires.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared.

    Please also consult EPSRC's policy framework on research data.

  • ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)

    The ESRC Research Data Policy (pdf) was updated in May 2018:

    • Application stage: ESRC applicants who plan to generate data from their research, must submit a data management plan (DMP) as part of their Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) application. The maximum length of the DMP is 3 pages. We have an example of a ESRC DMP in our DMP Library.
    • Costs: ESRC will provide appropriate funding for data management where costs of implementation have been included in the data management plan.
    • Data deposit: 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) within three months of the end of the grant.
    • Data retention: ESRC does not specify how long data needs to be kept. If you submit data to the UK Data Service it will be kept for the long term.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared. Also refer to the full ESRC data management planning guidance document.
    • PhD students: are strongly encouraged to offer copies of data created or repurposed during their PhD for deposit at the UK Data Service but it is not compulsory.
  • MRC (Medical Research Council)

    MRC have provided guidance on their expectations as specified in their data sharing policy:

    • Application stage: A data management plan (DMP) as an integral part of the application. Guidance and a template DMP (Word doc) are available. A simple DMP could be fewer than 500 words long. In cases where rich resources are to be created, a DMP should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words long. Population or patient based studies must meet twenty-one additional requirements.
    • Costs: Funding proposals to MRC should differentiate in broad terms between the proposed costs of:
      • (i) collecting and cleaning new data and the associated cohort costs;
      • (ii) the study team’s proposed research programme;
      • (iii) ongoing data curation and preservation; and
      • (iv) data-sharing.
    • Data deposit: The MRC expects valuable data arising from MRC-funded research to be made available to the scientific community with as few restrictions as possible. Researchers should choose an appropriate discipline-specific data repository to enable sharing of data, and deposit "in a timely manner". (not later than 6 months of article publication). The MRC will allow a limited defined period of "exclusive" use by the researcher. MRC encourages data deposit with the European Bioinformatics Institute, if appropriate.
    • Data retention: Your research data must be securely preserved for at least 10 years. Some data need to be kept longer (depending on the type of study).
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared.

    Please also consult the MRC data sharing policy.

  • NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)

    NERC have provided guidance on their expectations as specified in their data policy:

    • Application stage: All applications for NERC funding need to include a one-page outline data management plan (ODMP). A detailed data management plan must be provided to NERC within three months of the project’s starting date. We have an example of a NERC DMP in our DMP Library.
    • Costs: Applications must identify all resources needed to implement the data management plan.
    • Data deposit: NERC requires that at the end of a research project 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 seven NERC 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.
    • Data retention: Your research data will be stored in one of NERC's data centres for the long term.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) — or by signposting if the data can't be openly shared. See also our guidance on data access statements.
    • Possible sanctions: “Those who do not meet [the data management] requirements risk having award payments withheld or becoming ineligible for future funding from NERC.” (NERC Data Policy)

    Please also consult NERC's Data Policy - Guidance Notes (pdf).

  • STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council)

    STFC have provided guidance on their expectations as specified below:

    • Application stage: A data management plan (DMP) is required at the application stage to be submitted alongside the Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) application. STFC advises that Digital Curation Centre (DCC) guidance is followed. STFC have also provided guidance on preparing a DMP.
    • Costs: The STFC does not state if costs for open access publication or data management and sharing can be included in grant applications.
    • Data deposit:  Data underpinning published research outputs should be available within six months of the output’s publication.
    • Data retention: 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.
    • Linking data and publications: All Research Councils require that "published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data" (UKRI). This means you need a statement in your publication either linking it to a dataset in a repository — for example with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) — or by signposting if the data can't be openly sharedSee also our guidance on data access statements.

    Please also refer to STFC's scientific data policy.

What does Lancaster University expect?

The University expects that "each project will have a data management plan that is produced at funding application stage or at the beginning of the project". (Research Data Management Policy (Word doc)).

This means that:

  • If you write a data management plan for your Funding Body, you do not need to write a separate plan for the University.
  • You are expected to preserve valuable research data in a trustworthy repository for at least 10 years. As a minimum, this is the data that directly underpins a research paper or the arguments you make.
  • You have the option of depositing your data with the University. Please follow this quick guide and your data will become visible on our Research Directory.

Data expectations from other Funding Bodies

See below for data expectations from other important funders. Please get in touch with rdm@lancaster.ac.uk if your funder is not listed or you have any other questions regarding Research Data Management requirements.

  • AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality)

    Data management plans

    Researchers are required to submit a data management plan (DMP). The DMP should include:

    • A plan for protecting confidentiality and personal privacy; and
    • A description of how scientific data in digital format will be shared, including a plan for long-term preservation and access to the data and the associated costs, or explanation of why data sharing is not possible.

    Data preservation

    "In order to ensure long-term preservation and full access to the public, AHRQ will contract with a commercial repository to accept and manage data submitted by extramural, intramural, and contract researchers." (AHRQ Public Access to Federally Funded Research)

    Links

    More information is available on the AHRQ page in section 8. on "Digital Data".

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Data management plans

    A ‘Data Access Plan’ must be prepared for grant proposal submissions over $500,000. The Gates Foundation states that implementation of Data Access Plans may be taken into account when making future funding decisions.

    Data Outputs

    Final, annotated quantitative and qualitative datasets and accompanying information such as metadata, codebooks, data dictionaries, and questionnaires.

    Links

    Gates Foundation Information Sharing Approach

    Global Health Data Access Principles (pdf)

  • British Academy

    Data management plans

    • Currently not required. British Academy makes no stipulations regarding mandatory archiving for grant holders or mention a requirement to produce a data management plan (DMP).
    • However, writing a DMP is required for all projects by Lancaster University's Research Data Policy (Word doc) so you are expected to write one even when not required by your funder. A DMP will help with effective creation, management and sharing of data.

    Data Sharing

    • The British Academy does not currently have a formal policy on data sharing.
    • We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with Lancaster University's data archive.
  • Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

    Data management plans

    • All applicants are required to submit a data management and sharing plan. Plans should address eight points:
      • A description of the data;
      • Standards to be used;
      • Metadata;
      • Methods of sharing;
      • Timescale for release;
      • Preservation;
      • Data sharing agreements; and
      • Restrictions on sharing.

    You can use DMPonline to create a CRUK DMP.

    Practical guidance for researchers on writing data sharing plans is provided by CRUK.

    Data publication and preservation

    • Data should be considered for sharing and made as widely and freely accessible as possible whilst safeguarding intellectual property, the privacy of patients and confidential data.
    • CRUK expects data to be released no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings. A limited period of exclusive use of data for primary research is reasonable.
    • In most instances, data sharing should be possible without compromising the confidentiality of participants. If data need to be restricted, this should be fully addressed in the data management and sharing plan.

    Links

    CRUK Data sharing FAQs

  • UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

    Data management plans

    The DHSC does not require a data management plan. 

    However, writing a DMP is required for all projects by Lancaster University's Research Data Policy (Word doc) so you are expected to write one even when not required by your funder. A DMP will help with effective creation, management and sharing of data.

    Data preservation and documentation

    Health records will be retained in compliance with government legislation. Documentation should be created that describe the data's provenance and enable its content to be understood. Researchers are expected to make use of current guidance and information on best practice, such as the University's Research Data Management Policy (Word doc).

    Data should be published in a timely manner, subject to ethical & legal requirements.

    Links

    NHS Digital - Looking after information

    DHSC Data Protection

  • Department for International Development (DFID)

    Data management plans

    An Access and Data Management Plan is required for all applications that possess a data component. 

    Data retention

    Data should be retained with free access to raw datasets for a minimum of five years after project completion. Project websites should be permanently archived on closure. Data should be deposited in an appropriate subject/institutional repository.

    Links

    DFID Research Open and Enhanced Access Policy

  • US Department of Defense (DoD)

    Data management plans

    Each funded project must have a data management plan (DMP).

    Data Sharing

    The DoD does not currently have a formal policy on data sharing.

    We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with Lancaster University's data archive.

    Links

    More information on the DoD data policies from the University of Minnesota.

  • European Research Council (ERC)

    Data management plans

    The European Research Council has provided a DMP template for grant applications. It is based on the FAIR principles of Horizon 2020: see 'Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in H2020'(pdf).

    Data sharing

    The European Research Council supports the basic principle of Open Access to research data, and recommends to all its funded researchers that they retain all research data they have used during the course of their work and that they be prepared to share this data with other researchers wherever possible.

    We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with the University's data archive.

  • Horizon 2020

    Data management plans

    • Since 1 January 2017, a data management plan (DMP) is applicable by default for all projects participating in Horizon 2020 as part of the expanded coverage of the Open Research Data Pilot.
    • The European Commission offers several opt-out possibilities to keep some or all research data generated closed. This will not affect the evaluation of your project.
    • Three versions of a DMP are expected: An initial version of the DMP is expected within the first six months of the project. The Commission expect "more elaborated versions" of the DMP by the mid-term and final review "fine-tuned" to data generated.
    • Changes to your DMP are expected "whenever significant changes arise", such as new data, policies or composition of consortium.

    Data sharing

    • Data must be deposited in an appropriate repository. Make sure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate your data.
    • Include what tools will be needed to use the raw data to validate research results, or provide the tools themselves.
    • Horizon 2020 places emphasis on projects producing FAIR data (FindableAccessibleInteroperableRe-usable).

    Links

    Data management - Participant Portal H2020 Online Manual

    Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020(pdf)

    Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020 (pdf)

    Data Management Planning: EC Horizon 2020 Pilot on Open Research Data Applicants – a guide prepared by the University of Bristol Research Data Service (pdf)

  • Leverhulme Trust

    Data management plans

    The Leverhulme Trust make no stipulations regarding mandatory archiving for grant holders or mention a requirement to produce a data management plan (DMP).

    However, writing a DMP is required for all projects by Lancaster University's Research Data Policy (Word doc) so you are expected to write a DMP even when not required by your funder. A DMP will help with effective creation, management and sharing of data.

    Data Sharing

    The Leverhulme Trust does not currently have a formal policy on data sharing.

    We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with Lancaster University's data archive.

  • US National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    Data management plans

    The NIH expects submission of a data management plan (regarded by the NIH as a Data Sharing Plan) with any grant applications requesting US$500,000 or more of direct costs in any single year, or a statement of why data sharing is not possible. Some Program Announcements may request data sharing plans for applications that are less than $500,000 direct costs in any single year.

    Implementation guidance on the NIH Data Sharing Policy covers the expected content of data sharing plans and provides some exemplars.

    Data Sharing

    The NIH expects data to be retained for 3 years following the end of a grant or contract agreement. The NIH expects the timely release and sharing of data no later than the acceptance for publication of the main findings from the final dataset.

    Links

    NIH Data Sharing Policy and Implementation Guidance

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Data Sharing

  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

    Data management plans

    All NIHR researchers are required to prepare and submit a data management plan on how underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed.

    Data Sharing

    • Although the NIHR expects researchers to consider and plan for data access, the policy does not require that data must be made open, nor does it specify how long data must be retained for.

    Links

    NHIR Open Access Policy

    NIHR Journals Library guidance on data sharing

  • Royal Society

    Data management plans

    • Most Royal Society funding schemes require an outline data management and data sharing plan as part of the application process, if the research will generate data of significant value to the research community.
    • The plan should be maximum 1500 characters (including spaces). We have an example of a Royal Society DMP in our DMP Library.

    Data Sharing

    • "Datasets should be deposited in an appropriate, recognized, publicly available repository. Where no data-specific repository exists authors should deposit their datasets in a general repository such as Dryad or Figshare, or include it in the Supplementary Material." (Royal Society, Open data policy)
    • All manuscripts submitted to Royal Society journals "should contain a Data Accessibility section which states where the article's supporting data can be accessed." Find out more how this works in our guidance on Data Access Statements.

    Links

    Data Sharing and Mining Policy

  • Wellcome Trust

    Data management plans

    In July 2017 the Wellcome Trust updated its policy on data, software and materials management and sharing.

    In a commentary, the Wellcome Trust states that "you will now be asked to provide a broader outputs management plan that sets out how you will manage and share significant data, software or materials to ensure the greatest benefit to health and research."

    An outputs management plan is required "when your proposed research is likely to create significant research outputs that are of value to other researchers and users."

    An outputs management plan should cover the following:

    • datasets generated by your research
    • original software created in the course of your research
    • new materials you create – like antibodies, cell lines and reagents
    • intellectual property (IP) such as patents, copyright, design rights and confidential know-how.

    An outputs management plan is not usually required for studies that only generate small-scale or limited datasets that are unlikely to be of clear value to other users, and no other significant software, materials or intellectual property. However, you are still expected to archive and share your data and software.

    The Wellcome Trust does not provide a outputs management plan template, but has provided guidelines on writing them.

    Links

    Policy on data, software and materials management and sharing (updated July 2017)

    Wellcome Trust advice and news on data sharing

    Developing a data management and sharing plan

  • World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)

    Data management plans

    WCRF does not require researchers to submit data management plans in grant applications.

    However, writing a DMP is required for all projects by Lancaster University's Research Data Policy (Word doc) so you are expected to write a DMP even when not required by your funder. A DMP will help with effective creation, management and sharing of data.

    Data Sharing

    Data collected in the course of research must be retained for an 'appropriate period' to allow further analysis by the original and/or other research teams (subject to consent), in accordance with the UK Framework for Health and Social Care Research (pdf).

    We recommend sharing your data by depositing it with Lancaster University's data archive where it will be preserved for at least 10 years.

    Links

    WCRF Grant programmes

    UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research