Data management is a key element of the research process and good practice in data management is one of the core areas of the responsible conduct of research. RCUK has made available its Common Principles on Data, which are summarised as follows:
- Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner that does not harm intellectual property.
- Institutional and project specific data management policies and plans should be in accordance with relevant standards and community best practice. Data with acknowledged long-term value should be preserved and remain accessible and usable for future research.
- To enable research data to be discoverable and effectively re-used by others, sufficient metadata should be recorded and made openly available to enable other researchers to understand the research and re-use potential of the data. Published results should always include information on how to access the supporting data.
- RCUK recognises that there are legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data. To ensure that the research process is not damaged by inappropriate release of data, research organisation policies and practices should ensure that these are considered at all stages in the research process.
- To ensure that research teams get appropriate recognition for the effort involved in collecting and analysing data, those who undertake Research Council funded work may be entitled to a limited period of privileged use of the data they have collected to enable them to publish the results of their research. The length of this period varies by research discipline and, where appropriate, is discussed further in the published policies of individual Research Councils.
- In order to recognise the intellectual contributions of researchers who generate, preserve and share key research datasets, all users of research data should acknowledge the sources of their data and abide by the terms and conditions under which they are accessed.
- It is appropriate to use public funds to support the management and sharing of publicly-funded research data. To maximise the research benefit which can be gained from limited budgets, the mechanisms for these activities should be both efficient and cost-effective in the use of public funds.
Research Data Management at Royal Holloway
The College Research Committee has established a Research Data Group, chaired by the Director of Research & Enterprise, with members drawn from IT, the Library and Research & Enterprise. It has developed a roadmap to ensure in general we align our policies and processes with RCUK's Common Principles on Data and in particular to ensure we are compliant with the EPSRC's Policy Framework on Research Data by their deadline of 1 May 2015.
The Data Group has produced the College's Research Data Management Policy, which has now been approved. The policy has the following general principles:
1. The policy aims to provide a strategic framework for the management of data generated by research projects at Royal Holloway. "Research data" is defined in the policy as the recorded information (regardless of the form or media) necessary to support or validate a research project's observations, findings or outputs.
2. The effective and efficient management of research data is fundamental to high quality research and academic integrity.
3. Royal Holloway acknowledges its obligations to its research funders, the research community and the wider public to ensure that the management of research data is not only effective and efficient but also complies with the generally accepted principles of open access: that research data is a public good produced in the public interest and should be made freely and openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner.
4. In acknowledging its obligations and recognising the benefits, the College aims to encourage a positive approach to the management of research data across the institution.
The Research Data Management Policy is available to download from here
If you would like more information on the Research Data Group, please contact Director, Research and Enterprise. In the meantime colleagues needing advice on Data Management Plans should contact their Research Services Officer
. More information about useful resources can be found on .
Research Data Management survey and next steps
We had a great response to our research data management survey - many thanks to all those who participated. The Data Group is currently conducting in-depth interviews with Departmental Research Directors. The survey and interviews will be a great help in implementing the policy and providing the right type and level of support and services. We are planning to introduce the new guidance, support and services for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.