Expectations and obligations
Although looking after and sharing your research data can be really valuable in itself, many researchers will also be under specific obligations to do so, from their funders, publishers and the University.
The University of Sheffield maintains a Research Data Management Policy as part of its Good Research & Innovation Practices (GRIP) Policy. You should read this for yourself, but the key points are:
- All researchers (staff and students) are responsible for looking after the data they collect and analyse, and overall responsibility lies with the lead researcher or supervisor
- All research proposals should have a Data Management Plan
- Unless otherwise specified by a contract or the terms of a grant, data generated by research projects are the property of the University of Sheffield
Research Councils UK (RCUK), the body responsible for investing public money in research in the UK, has published a set of Common Principles on Research Data which have been implemented as policy by each of the individual councils. Many of the charity research funders have brought in similar policies, and Horizon 2020 (European Commission) is also piloting data management and sharing requirements.
The policies vary, but the key points for publicly-funded research are:
- All publications must include a statement setting out how, and on what terms, the supporting data can be accessed
- All research projects must have a Data Management Plan — in most cases this will be required at application stage; if not, we recommend delivering it in the first 6 months of the project
It is increasingly common for publishers to require papers they publish to be accompanied by the underlying data, either as supporting information or deposited in a research data repository. For example:
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