Category Archives: Funder requirements

New Wellcome Trust policy for research outputs

Last week, the Wellcome Trust announced an update to their policy on managing and sharing research data, which is now a Policy on data, software and materials management and sharing.

Researchers applying to Wellcome in future will be required to prepare to share other outputs of their work, such as original software and research materials like antibodies, cell lines or reagents.

As David Carr, from Wellcome’s Open Research team, writes in their announcement:

 “As a global research foundation, we’re dedicated to ensuring that the outputs of the research we fund – including publications, data, code and materials – can be accessed and used in ways that will maximise the resulting health benefits. 

Making outputs available can spark new lines of discovery and innovation, and helps to ensure that findings can be verified and reproduced.”

Once the new policy is put in to place, applicants for Wellcome funding will have to complete a broader outputs management plan (rather than a data management plan) to address how other research outputs will be managed and shared.

The requirement for the new outputs management plans will be added to application forms over the next year. Guidance already exists on which kinds of work will require one:

Examples of applications that require an outputs management plan

Wellcome have long been champions of ‘open’, being one of the first to require those they fund to make their publications and data openly available, and this update reflects a move towards an Open Research approach, something they have been developing with their Open Research Pilot Project and Open Research publishing platform.

Would it be a surprise if other funders followed suit in expanding their requirements to explicitly consider other research outputs?

Questions about the policy can be put to the Wellcome Policy Team or feel free to get in touch with the us in the Library Research Support team, now or when you are writing your outputs management plan.

Have you got your licence?

I’ve recently been helping some colleagues in the Science faculty to put together a Data Management Plan for the EU funded Europlanet project (see my recent post for more information on the EU Horizon 2020 open data pilot).


CCO Data by Auke Herrema

One of the issues we have been discussing is licensing research data. Assigning a licence to the data you share is important as providing clear guidance on what re-users can do with your data helps disentangle some of the complexities and ambiguities surrounding rights (of which there are many – different jurisdictions have different laws regarding copyright on data so things can get confusing). Licensing your data is a good way of clarifying the terms of use.

When choosing a licence it is important to consider how you want your data to be reused. You can then apply a licence that most closely reflects those intended uses. Applying an explicit licence removes any ambiguity over what users can and cannot do with your data.

Lawyers can craft licences to meet specific criteria, but there are a number of open licences developed for widespread use that anyone can apply. There are many advantages to using standard licences rather than bespoke ones; as well as the benefits of enhanced organisational efficiency and cost saving, the use of standard licensing terms can lead to greater interoperability of data and increased user awareness of the licence terms, thereby enabling better compliance.


Click to enlarge

The recommended licence type for data created/collected in Horizon 2020 projects is Creative Commons (although other options are available – see links below for more information). Creative Commons licences offer a sort of “pick and mix” approach, meaning that you can assign a variety of different conditions on reuse of your data to make the terms of reuse more or less open, as needed. Creative Commons licences are widely used and understood, so they are a good option for making the terms of use for your data more transparent to users.

For more information, check out the following links:

For help understanding issues surrounding licensing research data, email 

New! Guidance on costing research data management

Please note: all links in this post are internal only.

Making Money by 401(K) 2012

Did you know that Research Data Management is an allowable cost in grant bids for a number of research funders, including RCUK?

This is great news for anyone worried about the extra time and money needed to effectively curate, share and preserve their research data, but it can be difficult to work out where costs will arise and how much they will be.

To help you to discover costs for RDM and apply these to your bid, I have just added some new guidance to the RDM intranet site, available here. This will help you to identify the data management costs involved in your research project by asking a number of questions about the type of data you will be collecting and how it needs to be processed.

If you need further advice on how to cost RDM into your funding bid, ask your faculty research manager or email

Share and share alike: Top 5 reasons to share your research data!

Recently, there has been an explosion of interest in data sharing: funders, universities and governments have been creating policies and advocating the importance of making data available alongside research publications to validate results and encourage re-use.

If you’re not sharing your data yet, in this blog post I’d like to try and convince you to do so by highlighting some key benefits. I never can resist a countdown, so here’s my…

 …Top 5 Reasons to Share your Research Data!

 5. Because your funder tells you to

data sharing

RCUK released their Common Principles on Data Policy 2011, the European Comission launched a pilot action on open access to research data earlier this year and many other funders (including Wellcome Trust and DfID) also have expectations on their funded researchers to share research data. For a (non-exhaustive) overview of research funders who expect data sharing see: Overview of Funder Requirements (intranet link).

Failure to comply with these policies could result in refusal to fund future research either for yourself or for your institution, so make sure you’re aware of your funder’s requirements.

 4. So you can use your own data again in the future

By preparing your data for sharing with others, you will benefit by being able to identify, retrieve, and understand the data yourself after you have lost familiarity with it, perhaps several years hence.

 3. Because it can improve your reputation as a researcher

Those who make use of your data and cite it in their own research will help to increase your impact within your field and beyond it. Users of your data may include those in other disciplines, sectors, and countries. Furthermore, there is evidence that studies that make their data available receive 9%-30% more citations than those who do not.

 2. To allow verification of results

Making your data available to allow independent verification of results ensures the scientific integrity of your research, thus helping to maintain your reputation.

The have been a number of high profile cases where researchers have falsified results resulting in retraction, loss of credibility and in a few cases, criminal prosecution. Read more about “data massaging” in my post on the DataStories blog.

 1. Because “The coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else” 

kettle lamp

The coolest thing to do with your kettle will be done by someone else! – Kettle Table Lamp – Jonas Merian

(Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation)

A favourite quotation of anyone working in Research Data Management, this sums up my number 1 reason to share your research data.

Sharing data can lead to innovation and ground-breaking advances in research, and the more we share, the more innovative we can be. To emphasise this point, here are a few of my favourite examples of success in data sharing:

For more information on sharing data, visit the data sharing pages on the RDM intranet site or email

Updated ESRC Research Data Policy

This month the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) has released an updated version of its Research Data Policy.The policy consists of nine core principles that align with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Sharing.


Click to download

The updated policy provides clarification on these nine core principles and detailed guidance on roles and responsibilities for research data at a project, organisational, funder and archive level.

Read the policy on the ESRC website.

To help OU researchers to understand the ESRC policy and find university services to assist with compliance, we have also created a handy flyer. Please share this with your colleagues!

If you have any questions about how this policy affects you, please email 

EPSRC requirements for research data are changing…

EPSRC flyer

Download flyer (PDF)

All Open University researchers and research students funded by EPSRC are expected to:

Store data securely:

  • EPSRC-funded research data must be securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years post-project.
  • The faculties of Science and MCT can both provide long-term storage for digital data.
  • The Research Data Management project is working to provide a solution for long-term archiving or research data for academics in other faculties. In the meantime, EPSRC-funded researchers from other faculties should find an external repository/archive into which they can deposit their data or maintain data in their own possession until these facilities become available.
  • Non-digital data which has been adequately prepared may be put into University records storage; please send any requests to
  • For more information and advice on the long term storage of research data, visit the RDM intranet site.

Grant access to data

  • You must create a record in ORO of any significant digital or non-digital data produced, within one year of creation. The record must provide access details – either a direct link to the data, or details of who to contact to gain access. More information is available on the RDM intranet site.
  •  Only under exceptional circumstances should access to supporting data be refused and this needs to be agreed by the EPSRC when the grant is awarded.  Details of access restrictions must be included in the ORO record.
  • A delay in access to data or an embargo period is acceptable if it is necessary to protect intellectual property that would otherwise be compromised.
  • You must also include a short statement within published research papers describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed. Guidance on how to write this statement is available on the RDM intranet site

Anticipate the costs

  • Ensure any costs associated with data management are included in EPSRC grant applications.
  • Ask your faculty research administrator for advice on how to do this.

Download flyer (PDF)