Policy framework on research data



EPSRC has clear expectations of organisations in receipt of EPSRC research funding. They must:

  • promote internal awareness of EPSRC principles and expectations, and ensure that their researchers and research students are aware of the regulatory environment, and of any exemptions justifying the withholding of research data
  • include a short statement on published papers describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed
  • have specific policies and associated processes to maintain effective internal awareness of their publicly funded research data holdings and of requests by third parties to access such data, and require their EPSRC-funded researchers and research students to comply with these policies (or, in exceptional circumstances, provide justification of why this is not possible)
  • store publicly funded research data not generated in digital format in such a manner that it can be shared in the event of a valid request for access to it (for example, by implementing a policy to convert and store such data in digital format in a timely manner)
  • publish appropriately structured metadata describing the research data they hold on the internet within 12 months of the data being generated, ensuring that it enables others to understand what research data exists, why, when and how it was generated, and how to access it
  • ensure that any metadata which refers to digital research data includes a robust digital object identifier such as is available through DataCite
  • ensure that metadata referring to restricted-access research data includes the rationale and summarises the conditions to be satisfied for access to be granted (such as a legally enforceable non-disclosure agreement for a business organisation having a legitimate interest in commercially confidential data)
  • ensure that EPSRC-funded research data is securely preserved for at least 10 years from the date that any researcher ‘privileged access’ period expires or, if others have accessed the data, from the last date on which access to the data was requested, and take all reasonable steps to ensure that publicly funded data is not held in any jurisdiction where the available legal safeguards provide lower levels of protection than are available in the UK
  • ensure that effective data curation is provided throughout the full data lifecycle (with ‘data curation’ and ‘data lifecycle’ as defined by the Digital Curation Centre)
  • clearly allocate the full range of responsibilities associated with data curation over the data lifecycle within the research organisation, and, where research data is subject to restricted access, implement and manage appropriate security controls, making sure that quality assurance of data curation processes is a specifically assigned responsibility
  • ensure that adequate resources are provided to support the curation of publicly funded research data from within existing public funding streams, whether received from research councils as direct or indirect support for specific projects, or from higher education funding councils as block grants.

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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