Meeting EPSRC expectations

On the 1st May 2015, EPSRC changed its grant requirements. Both the University and its researchers are now required to adhere to a set of expectations with regards to research data management.

EPSRC expectations can be met by following the three guidelines provided below. These guidelines apply to research data required to evidence your published research claims.

However, it is recommended that the guidelines also be applied where data is otherwise valuable (e.g. does not underpin findings but was particularly expensive to generate). University of Bristol researchers and research students funded by EPSRC are expected to:

#1 Store data securely

Ensure that research data is securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years post- project. The University provides a Research Data Storage Facility for this purpose. Please do not confuse this requirement with the need to grant access to your data (see below).

Non-digital data such as a working model or a sample collection required to evidence a research claim should be stored in a manner that will facilitate access, should a third party request for access be received. Where a sample can be readily reproduced it is acceptable to provide access to documentation in place of the physical sample itself. For example, a text file containing a description of how a physical sample was manufactured would be a suitable alternative to the physical sample itself, and could be stored with other digital data to facilitate sharing.

#2 Grant access to data

Include a short ‘data access statement’ within each published research paper, describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed. Alternatively your data access statement should explain why data is not available. Data can be made accessible by publishing it in Bristol’s data.bris Research Data Repository or a suitable external data repository. The data.bris repository provides several different levels of access, allowing commercially or ethically sensitive data to be shared securely under controlled access arrangements

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. This does not preclude the need for providing a Data Access Statement in each published journal article.

#3 Anticipate data-related costs

Ensure any costs associated with data management are included in EPSRC grant applications. The University has developed an online tool to help you create an outline Data Management Plan and to help you identify any potential costs. This outline Data Management Plan form must be completed as part of any application to EPSRC. Successful grant applicants will be expected to complete a more detailed Data Management Plan once funding has been awarded.

Case studies

Deciding the appropriate degree of access can be difficult, as influential factors can include ethical and commercial considerations. For more information, see our case studies from Engineering Nonlinearity (PDF, 446 kB) and SPHERE (PDF, 503 kB) which describe the decisions taken on data publishing and access levels. 

Further help

A data management planning guide for University of Bristol EPSRC applicants is available. If you are creating software or code as part of your research data, have a look at our introduction to managing research software, or for more in-depth information try the guidance available from the Software Sustainability Institute.

For a more detailed look at the EPSRC requirements for research data, and what you need to do to satisfy these, take our online tutorial:

Interactive bootcamp tutorial - Meeting EPSRC expectations on research data

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