Research Data Management (RDM) is an essential building block for good research and involves creation, organisation, storing, sharing and re-use of data through (and even after) the various stages of the project lifecycle. The recent increase in UK activity in this area matches efforts across Europe, the US, and Australasia, as “research funders have recognised that to achieve the best return for their funding, the resulting research data should be reused where possible and this is best accomplished through making it openly accessible” (from, University of Sheffield Library. ‘Publishing and sharing research data’. Library RDM website).
Most research funders now have requirements around managing and sharing Research Data, that their award holders are expected to comply with. To find out more about the requirements and what you need to do to be compliant, please read on.
Research Data Management makes the research process including scholarly communication more efficient, and helps meet requirements of the funders, the University and the legislation. It increases the exposure and impact of your research, and also aids reliable verification of results and further new and innovative research to be built on existing information (from, Whyte, A., Tedds, J. (2011). ‘Making the Case for Research Data Management’. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre).
Further benefits of RDM, as researched and presented by the Digital Curation Centre in ‘Making the case for RDM’ are –
500% Growth in datasets downloaded from Economic and Social Data Service 2003-2008 (Benefits from the Infrastructure Projects in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme)
69% Increase in citations for clinical trial publications associated with making their microarray datasets publicly available (PLoS ONE, Sharing Detailed Research Data is Associated with Increased Citation Rate)
37% Projected saving in staff time from moving Oxford University Classics Dept database to centralised virtual service (HEFCE Shared Services and the Cloud Programme)
1-day delay cut to 5 minutes Estimated time saving for crystallography researchers to access results from Diamond synchrotron, by deploying digital processing pipeline & metadata capture system (HEFCE Shared Services and the Cloud Programme)
University of Surrey’s Research Data Management policy shows the University’s commitment to promoting highest standards in research, including excellent in Research Data Management.
The Research Councils UK Common Principles on Data Policy, which form the basis of the UK Research councils, are summarised below –
- Public good: Publicly funded research data are produced in the public interest should be made openly available with few restrictions
- Planning for preservation: Institutional and project specific data management policies and plans needed to ensure valued data remains usable
- Discovery: Metadata should be available and discoverable; Published results should indicate how to access supporting data
- Confidentiality: Research organisation policies and practices to ensure legal, ethical and commercial constraints assessed; research process not damaged by inappropriate release
- First use: Provision for a period of exclusive use, to enable research teams to publish results
- Recognition: Data users should acknowledge data sources and terms & conditions of access
- Public funding: Investment is appropriate and must be efficient and cost-effective.
Individual funders’ requirements can be found on the University’s RDM webpages. It is also worth noting that even if no specific demands are currently made by your prospective funder regarding data management, it is likely that they will respond more positively to grant applications which have clear plans for re-using existing data, managing, preserving and sharing their data.
If you are working on a project funded by another funding council, please ensure you enquire about their Research Data Management policy.
What you need to do
Guidance on what you need to do, according to which stage of the project you currently are at, is available on the University’s Research Data Management webpages.
If you are unsure whether RDM requirements apply to you or you have questions on any specific areas not covered on the University’s RDM webpages or FAQs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.