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Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Data Management Plans

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Data are the main assets of economic and social research. ESRC recognise publicly-funded research data as valuable, long-term resources that, where practical, must be made available for secondary scientific research.

ESRC Research Data Policy


Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant applicants who plan to generate data must submit a data management and sharing plan for their research projects as part of the application.

It is expected that an outline data management and sharing plan will include the following points:

  • an explanation of the existing data sources that will be used by the research project with references
  • an analysis of the gaps identified between the currently available and required data for the research
  • information on the data that will be produced by the research project, including:
    • data volume
    • data type, e.g. qualitative or quantitative data
    • data quality, formats, standards documentation and metadata
    • methodologies for data collection
  • planned quality assurance and back-up procedures (security/storage)
  • plans for management and archiving of collected data
  • expected difficulties in data sharing, along with and causes and possible measures to overcome these difficulties
  • explicit mention of consent, confidentiality, anonymisation and other ethical considerations
  • copyright and intellectual property ownership of the data
  • responsibilities for data management and curation within research teams at all participating institutions

Example DMPs for OU projects

Creating Hackney as Home (Principal Investigator Melissa Butcher)

The two year ESRC funded project Creating Hackney as Home: Young People as Participatory Researchers and Publics is working with a group of young people in the London Borough of Hackney. Using participatory video research methods, the project aims to understand the experience of space and space use in the formation of 'home' and belonging, and the impact of affective responses to change and difference in that process.

Facilitating Equitable Access and Quality Education for Development: South African International Distance Education (Principal Investigator Parvati Raghuram)

International Distance Education (IDE) can provide a vehicle for achieving sustainable development, particularly equitable access to quality education for all that addresses the skills requirements of the labour market. It aims to understand the factors affecting IDE in South Africa (SA), a major regional provider of IDE in Africa, and to explore demand side factors in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Nigeria – three major users of SA’s IDE.

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