Research data management and open data policy guidance
This page contains more information about the statements in the University of Bristol Research Data Management and Open Data Policy.
There is no additional guidance for the background clauses of the policy.
Ownership of Data
3. In order to meet funder requirements around the storage, preservation and accessibility of research data, unless otherwise agreed the University is expected to keep a copy of any significant research data for a specified period after the end of the research (generally 10 years). For information about what happens if you leave the University please see paragraph 18.
Please refer to the Intellectual Property Policy for Students for more information regarding the position for postgraduate research students.
Policy Scope and Definitions
5. Research data might be quantitative information or qualitative statements collected by researchers in the course of their work by experimentation, observation, interview or other methods, or information derived from existing evidence. Data may be raw or primary (e.g. direct from measurement or collection) or derived from primary data for subsequent analysis or interpretation (e.g. cleaned up or as an extract from a larger data set), or derived from existing sources where the copyright may be externally held. Other examples of data include, software, transcripts of interviews, survey data and fieldwork observations with appropriate annotations, an interpretation, an artwork, archives, found objects, published texts or a manuscript.
6. A Data Steward is an employee of the University of Bristol who has responsibility for ensuring the proper administration, oversight and security of a dataset generated in the course of their research. The Data Steward may often also be the Principal Investigator (PI) for the research but in some projects data management responsibility may be passed on to another member of the team. If the Data Steward leaves the University they must ensure that they have passed on stewardship for the research data before they leave the organisation (this might involve moving the ownership and responsibility to another institution). Please see paragraph 18 for more information.
8. RCUK and other funders have formally stated that costs relating to the storage and management of research data are legitimate costs and can be included within a research proposal. These costs can generally only cover the lifetime of the grant so any work needed to make the data available for sharing at the end of the project should be built into the proposal. Please see the Research Data Service’s Anticipating the costs of research data management document for further guidance. This is not covered by all funders please check your specific funder guidance.
9. All research data should be stored securely, backed up and maintained. The University of Bristol provides the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF) which researchers are strongly encouraged to use. Contact the Advanced Computing Research Centre (ACRC) for details of how to apply. Sensitive research data often requires extra security measures, including encryption. See the document on Sharing research data concerning human participants.
10. Third party data may be subject to copyright or other restrictions which could prevent a researcher from sharing any new data they derive from it. There may also be stipulations with regards to how the data is stored and managed whilst it is being used. If you are unsure what restrictions apply to the third party data you are using please contact the RED Contracts team.
11. Not all data will be suitable for sharing for ethical or legal reasons and access to that data needs to be balanced with the need to safeguard the rights and wishes of research participants. Please see the Research Data Service’s Sharing research data concerning human participants document for further guidance including consent form templates. The University has developed methods to provide controlled access to sensitive data. These are summarised in the Sharing data from research participants video.
12. Third party data may be subject to copyright or other restrictions which could prevent a researcher from sharing any new data they derive from it. There may also be stipulations with regards to how the data is stored and managed whilst it is being used. If you are unsure what restrictions apply to the third party data you are using please contact the RED Contracts team.
13. It is important that the University has knowledge of the research data it holds for governance and security reasons. Most of the UK Research Councils require funded research data to be declared and the EPSRC in particular require that a description of research data is made publicly available, normally within 12 months of the creation of the data. Researchers can record significant datasets through Pure, with the option to keep records internal to the University if the data is confidential.
14. Funders and increasingly publishers now require data to be shared. A data centre or repository is the most suitable way to do this. Several national and subject-specific repositories exist http://www.re3data.org/, and the University also has a dedicated Research Data Repository for publishing datasets. These can either be made openly available or accessed through a facilitated approval process for approved external researchers.
15. As of April 2013 RCUK require journal articles to include a statement which provides information on how third parties can access any underpinning research data. It is recommended that data is deposited in a national or subject repository (or in the University’s Research Data Repository) in order to provide persistent, long term access to the dataset and to obtain a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which can be included in the data access statement. See Citing your Research Data.
17. It is important to establish who is responsible for the storage and long term curation of data at the outset of a project. There are expectations from many funders that research data is kept for several years after the end of a project, and some reserve the right to withhold final grant payments if data is not shared at the close of a project. Having clarification of data ownership and use is therefore essential. Please contact the RED Contracts team for more information at the start of your project.
18. In order for the University to meet contractual funder requirements around the storage, preservation and accessibility of research data, a copy of the research data should be stored with the University. This generally will not preclude the Data Steward from taking a copy of the data with you when you leave the organisation but you must ensure that the responsibility for a copy of the research data is formally passed on to an agreed person within the department or faculty before you leave. If your project is still underway, talk to the RED Contracts team to discuss the possible transfer of ownership of the funding (and data) to your next place of employment.
Postgraduate Research Student and Supervisor Responsibilities
19. PGR students funded through RCUK or other funding bodies with data management conditions are expected to comply with the general requirements for storing, managing and sharing data. Creating and working to a data management plan is a valuable transferable skill for all students. The Research Data Service has developed an online PGR data management plan template through the DMPonline tool.
20. Students funded through RCUK or other funding bodies with data management conditions are expected to comply with general requirements for making data available. It is recommended that the supervisor stores PGR data within their own Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF) account.
The University’s Responsibilities
21. The University Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF) provides secure, long term storage for research data. Each PI or ‘Data Steward’ is entitled to 5TB of free private storage space within the RDSF. Applications should be made through the Advanced Computing Research Centre.
22. RCUK and other funders require that research data is preserved after the end of a project (typically for at least 10 years). There is a cost to the technical curation of data which cannot be built into project funding, therefore the University is committing to meeting these costs.
23. The University Research Data Repository offers a means for Bristol’s researchers to openly share their research data. Each deposit is accompanied by appropriate metadata and is assigned a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI) via the DataCite scheme. Please see the Research Data Repository depositing guide for more information on the deposit process.
24. Where possible it is expected that data will be made openly available through the Research Data Repository (or other national or subject repository). However, there are procedures in place to allow facilitated access to data for approved researchers where open access to data is not suitable. The video Sharing research data from research participants explains these access levels and procedures in more detail.
25. The Research Data Service offers a Data Management Plan checking service, along with a dedicated helpdesk and guidance for individual funders. Researchers whose funders do not have a specific data management plan template or guidance are encouraged to use the University of Bristol researcher template on the DMPonline tool.
26. The Research Data Service provides guidance webpages on all aspects of research data management. The service also runs regular workshops and seminars for researchers and PGRs.
27. The Research Data Service has produced a Research Data Repository depositing guide and is able to provide assistance to anyone wishing to use the University’s Research Data Repository or who needs advice on using an external data service. The service also has guidance webpages on publishing data.