Research data management
Research creates data. Good data is critical to good research. Data created from research are valuable resources that can be used and re-used for future scientific and educational purposes. Good practice in data management is one of the core areas of research integrity, for the responsible conduct of research.
The following sections provides further information concerning some of the aspects and various stages that are involved in research data management, along with details of the facilities and services available to help, both within the University and from external providers.
Data management is one of the essential areas of responsible conduct of research.
If you are starting a new research project, then you will need to consider issues relating to the management of research data. Many of these issues will be relevant whether or not the research is funded by an external sponsor. By managing your data you will ensure:
- Funding and regulatory body requirements are met
- Research data remains accurate, authentic, reliable and complete.
- Research data keeps its integrity and research results may be replicated.
- Data security is enhanced, thus minimising the risk of data loss
- Duplication of effort is kept to a minimum
Funders' Policies and Guidelines
In the UK, many research funders have data policies in place. A detailed comparison of main UK research funders' policies and the support infrastructure is available from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) website.
Data Management Plans
Funding bodies increasingly require their grant-holders to produce data management plans, both during the bid-preparation stage and after funding has been secured. If you require information or guidance on the production of data management plans please access data management section below or contact Scott McGowan, Research Support Librarian on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keele University has developed a Research Data Management Policy, approved by University Research Committee in November 2017.
Keele University is committed to supporting researchers in appropriate curation and preservation of research data and, where applicable, in accordance with research funders’ requirements.
This policy applies to any data that is created or acquired in research (either funded or unfunded) that is generated or managed by staff and/or students of the University.
(1) The University is committed to and guided by the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy, and expects staff and students to work within this framework for best practice.
(2) The University owns the data generated by its research (unless agreed otherwise e.g. in relation to any commercially sensitive data which may be subject to agreement by third parties).
(3) The University expects data to be managed and shared in a robust and professional manner and it places the responsibility for proper research data management primarily with the Principal Investigator (PI).
(4) All new research proposals (from data of adoption) must include a research data management plan covering the project’s life-cycle. Plans should specifically address the issues of data capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, retention, sharing and publication, and state explicitly the availability of data for access and re-use (including safeguards).
(5) The University will provide training, support, advice and where appropriate, guidelines and templates for research data management and research data management plans.
(6) The University will provide mechanisms and services for storage, back up, registration, deposit and retention of research data in support of current and future access, both during and after completion of research projects.
(7) Research data must be stored and managed in a way that follows best practice as recommended by Keele IT Services – ensuring appropriate security and integrity of the data,adherence to confidentiality undertakings and data protection law, and respect for ownership and any intellectual property rights. File storage options should be considered with IT Services, e.g. setting up bespoke network drives for your research project data. PIs are also directed to follow University guidance on data security and encryption.
(8) Where data is stored outside of the direct control of the University, details must be recorded in the Research Data Management plan, and the PI should as far as possible ensure that equivalent standards apply. Any data which is retained elsewhere, for example in an international data service or domain repository, should be registered with the University by notifying the Keele Data Repository administrators in the first instance.
(9) Research data of long-term interest, including data that substantiate research findings or represent records of the University, should be offered and assessed for curation in an appropriate repository, primarily the Keele Data Repository, or an appropriate national or international data service.
(10) Data must be accompanied with metadata which meets minimum standards for storage and curation, and such metadata must be sufficient to enable other researchers to know how it was created and/or acquired – and if it is openly available, to aid discovery and provide additional information for reuse.
(11) The University expects research staff to make research data openly available to other researchers in a timely fashion, with as few restrictions as possible – however it is recognised that some restrictions may be required, e.g. to protect intellectual property, respect confidentiality, or adhere to any third party agreements.
(12) Where data are made openly available, it is the responsibility of the PI to ensure adherence to all relevant legal and other requirements including; ethical approval and consents, the rights of data subjects, the 1998 Data Protection Act, intellectual property rights and any other confidentiality undertakings.
(13) Where there are sound reasons for the data not to be made openly available, it is still expected that researchers will normally make all relevant data and related materials available to other researchers or interested parties for the purpose of verifying the integrity of the research, subject where necessary to suitable restrictions and confidentiality undertakings.
(14) The legitimate interests of the subjects of research data must be protected.
(15) The University will provide professional support for researchers who receive FOI/EIR requests. It is obligatory for researchers to notify the University Governance Officer of any Freedom of Information Requests.
(16) Exclusive rights to reuse or publish research data should not be handed over to commercial publishers or agents without the rights to make data openly available for re-use, unless this is a condition of funding.
(17) Research data must be kept for a minimum of 10 years following project completion, unless a longer retention period is required by e.g. legislation, funder requirements or professional bodies. The date of project completion is the date of the conclusion of the project, as defined and understood by all parties.
Find out more about individual funders’ policies and other cross-sector statements on RDM.
Sector-Wide Statements on RDM
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- European Commission/Horizon 2020
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
- Wellcome Trust
The Keele Research Data Repository
- Log onto the database – https://publications.keele.ac.uk/ using your Keele username and password
- Add your dataset – Using the 'My Summary' section on the homescreen, under publications you can add the details of your dataset, and can add a copy of the data to the Keele Research Data Repository
The EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data sets out principles and expectations concerning how institutions will manage research data.
All researchers across the University should be aware of and adhere to this policy framework.
As part of their Policy Framework on Research Data, the EPSRC requested that all institutions in receipt of their funding develop a clear roadmap for research data management, which should be implemented by 1 May 2015. Keele University developed a roadmap, which can be read here.
Many funding bodies, especially UK Research Councils (BBSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC) require data management and sharing plans to be part of research grant applications.
Funding bodies increasingly require their grant-holders to produce data management plans, both during the bid-preparation stage and after funding has been secured. Data management plans ensure that all aspects of data management are fully perceived at the start of a project. A data management plan is a document that describes:-
- What data will be generated during research
- What policies (funding, institutional and legal) apply to the data
- What data management practices (backups, storage, access control, archiving) will be used.
- What facilities and equipment will be required (hard-disk space, backup server, repository).
- Plans for sharing data
- Ethical and legal issues or restrictions on data sharing
- Data management roles and responsibilities
- How its reuse will be enabled and long-term preservation ensured after the original research is completed.
The data management plan must be continuously maintained and kept up-to-date throughout the course of research.
The Data Curation Centre (DCC) has developed a flexible web based data management planning tool to assist users to create personalised plans according their context or research funder. In addition to the questions included in the DCC's influential Checklist for a Data Management Plan, it also contains useful guidance on how to prepare a data management plan and carry it through to execution.
The tool has three main functions
- To help create and maintain different versions of Data Management Plans;
- To provide useful guidance on data management issues and how to meet research funders' requirements;
- To export attractive and useful plans in a variety of formats
If you have any queries or would like further guidance on data management plans please contact Scott McGowan on email@example.com or telephone 01782 734506.