Funders' expectations

All the major UK funding bodies now regard publicly funded research data as: '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.' 

Data Access Statement

All publications arising from publicly-funded research require a Data Access statement. See guidance on how to create one. 

General Policies

General Policies

Funder Data related Policy Highlights Last checked 

Read the Concordat on Open Research Data

HEFCE is one of the four organisations that wrote and published the UK Concordat on Open Research Data. The Concordat states that researchers should, wherever possible, make their research data open and usable within a short and well-defined period (based on disciplinary norms). Additionally, the Concordat asks for research data supporting publications to be accessible by the publication date.

'HEFCE will be considering how to reward open data as part of the future REF assessments' (p. 40)

'Via the REF, we fully recognise data as an equally valid form of research output, and, through our open access policy for the next REF, we plan to reward research environments that deliver open access to a wider set of outputs than just journal articles and conference papers.' from Opening Up Research Data blog post.

May 2017

UKRI (UK Research and Innovation)

UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

'Publicly funded research data are a public good, (...), which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner (...).'

Detailed guidance on this policy is available here.

November 2018 

Each funder has developed its own policy in line with its own disciplinary focus and strategy. If your research is publicly funded, you will be expected to comply with your funder's policy.

Possible future sources of funding

Funder Data related Policy Highlights Last checked 
Department for International Development

DFID has an open and enhanced access policy

An 'Access and Data Management Plan' is required for all applications that possess a data component. 

Data related fees may be requested, on condition that the purpose of the expenditure is explained in the application.

Raw datasets should be retained and made available for a minimum of five years following grant closure.  Project websites should be permanently archived on grant closure, e.g., via the Internet Archive

Data should be made available within 12 months of collection.  A sharing waiver is granted for research data that cannot be made available due to ethical or legal reasons.  Data should be made available through an appropriate digital repository, e.g., DataSTORRE

Global Challenges Research Fund

UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

This fund is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies so will adhere to the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

May 2017

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

This fund is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies so will adhere to the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

May 2017

The Newton Fund

UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

This fund is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies so will adhere to the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

May 2017

Ross Fund

DFID has an open and enhanced access policy

Administered by DFID and the Department of Health


Stirling's top funders and their requirements (Part 1)

Funder Data related Policy Highlights Last checked 
 AHRC Read the statement

AHRC do not have their own data policy, and instead share the UKRI common principles on data sharing.

The only additional research data recommendation is that 'Grant Holders in all areas must make any significant electronic resources or datasets created as a result of research funded by the Council available in an accessible and appropriate depository for at least three years after the end of their grant.'

AHRC's default expectation is that access to data is open or that data are freely available on request. 

See for further detail and their FAQs

There is also guidance for reviewers

As of 29th March 2018, every AHRC proposal for Research Grants, Follow-on Funding and Leadership Fellows must be accompanied by a data management plan. The data management plan should be submitted as an attachment on Je-S

The data management plan should outline the project’s approach to managing data. It focuses on data storage, data sharing and the methodologies that will be used to create the data. It also asks questions on the ethical and legal considerations of collecting and releasing the data.

The plan must not exceed two pages, must be written in Arial or Times New Roman font at size 11 with normal 2cm margins and must be entitled ‘Data Management Plan’

Have a look at the Rubric, written by R.Higman and M. Donaldson, which has been designed as a checklist or marking aid for those reviewing data management plans for submission to the AHRC

November 2018
 BBSRC Read the policy of Data Sharing  

Adherence to data management plan will be monitored and built into the Final Report score, which may be taken into account for future proposals.

Research data that supports publications must be stored for 10 years.

Grantholders are requested to capture and record data sharing activities, including details of where and how data have been shared, in the appropriate places on ResearchFish.

Detailed guidelines about BBSRC requirements are available here.

Cambridge University discussed BBSRC policy directly with Michael Ball from the BBSRC, their discussion and resulting clarifications of the BBSRC policy are published here


Researchers are expected to create material in suitably accessible formats using established standards.

Whilst the BBSRC recognises that researchers have a legitimate interest in benefiting from their data, this does not allow for prolonged exclusive use of data. The BBSRC expect that 'timely release would generally be no later than the release through publication of the main findings' or within three years of generation of the dataset. BBSRC allows defined embargo periods for specific types of data.

The BBSRC expects primary data to be securely held for a period of ten years after completion of a research project. The BBSRC expects researchers to ensure they retain a local copy of any data submitted to third party resources.

Researchers are required to submit a data sharing plan.

The data sharing plan may include details of: data areas and types; standards and metadata; relationship to other data; secondary use; methods for data sharing; restrictions on sharing; timeframes for release, and the format of the data.

See for further information and the BBSRC 'Data Sharing in the Biosciences' leaflet

May 2017 
The Carnegie Trust See existing terms and conditions of Research Incentive Grants

'Data sharing and publications'

'The Trust does not currently impose any data-sharing or data-storage requirements on recipients of its Grants, but may reconsider its policy in this respect.'

May 2017
Chief Scientist Office Read the CSO open access policy

The CSO encourages deposit in an open access repository (UKDA given as an example.)

Data must be retained for a minimum of five years.

Note In order to facilitate compliance with our open access policy an application may be made for open access publication charges up to a limit of £6,000.  This support is limited to papers presenting the methods and/or findings of the study, and which are accepted for publication within18 months of the project. Applications for OA publication charges should be made on Form 6a.  For costs associated with data-sharing, such as preparation of datasets for archiving or compilation of metadata may be applied for separately up to a limit of £2,000 within 6 months of completion of the project.  Applications should be made on Form 6b


Stirling's top funders and their requirements (Part 2)

EC (Horizon 2020)

Read the guidelines

Guidance on data management

Infographic explaining the EC data sharing requirements

Since 2017, all Horizon 2020 projects are part of the Open Research Data Pilot by default. The Principal Investigator must: 

  • Develop a data management plan in the first 6 months of the project and keep it up-to-date throughout their project;

  • Deposit their research data in a suitable research data repository;

  • Make sure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate their data; 

  • Make clear what tools will be needed to use the raw data to validate research results, or provide the tools themselves.

 EPSRC Read the EPSRC Expectations

EPSRC has the strictest policy on research data sharing.  EPSRC support the view that 'publicly funded research data should generally be made as widely and freely available as possible in a timely and responsible manner' and that 'the research process should not be damaged by the inappropriate release of such data.'

Unlike other UK Research Councils, EPSRC do not require a data management plan to be submitted as part of grant applications. However, EPSRC Principle 5 expects project specific data management plans to be in place - this means that you are expected to write and implement a data management plan for EPSRC-funded projects. EPSRC also expects that research data are effectively curated throughout the full data lifecycle.

The EPSRC expect that metadata describing research data should be published within 12 months of the data being generated. Metadata should include information about what the data are, why when and how they were generated and how to access them. If access to the data is restricted, published metadata should also give the reason and summarise the conditions which must be satisfied for access to be granted.

Published research papers to include short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed.

Research data to be accessible online no later than the date of first online publication of the research paper.

EPSRC expect that research data are securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years from the date that any researcher ‘privileged access’ period expires or, if others have accessed the data, from last date on which access to the data was requested by a third party.

For further information see


Stirling's top funders and their requirements (Part 3)

ESRC Read the policy of research data

'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.'

The ESRC updated its Research Data Policy in March 2015. The updated policy is underpinned by nine new principles, which are aligned with the UKRI Common principles on data policy

Data management plans

ESRC applicants who plan to generate data from their research must submit a data management and sharing plan as part of their application. The ESRC suggests an outline data management and sharing plan in both its research data policy and its guidance to peer reviewers.

Help with costs

ESRC will provide appropriate funding for data management where the costs of implementation have been included in the data management plan. This might include the cost of external transcription services, but would not include the cost of data archiving, as the ESRC already fund the UK Data Service.

Data sharing and retention

Any data created or repurposed during an ESRC-funded project must be offered to ESRC data service providers (the UK Data Servicewithin three months of the end of the grant. The ESRC data service providers are responsible for ensuring long-term access to data that has been placed in their care.

The ESRC recognises that some research data are more sensitive than others and expect researchers to consider all issues related to confidentiality, security and copyright before starting any ESRC-funded research. Where research data are considered confidential or contain sensitive personal data, ESRC grant holders must seek to secure consent for data sharing or alternatively anonymise the data in order to make sharing possible.

ESRC-funded postgraduate students

The new ESRC Research Data Policy is not compulsory for postgraduate students. However, ESRC-funded students are strongly encouraged to offer the UK Data Services copies of data created or repurposed during their PhD. The Postgraduate Funding Guide provides further information.

More information

The Leverhulme Trust  

The Leverhulme Trust does not currently have a formal policy on research data or data sharing

May 2017

Stirling's top funders and their requirements (Part 4)

NERC Read the policy of NERC

'The environmental data produced by the activities funded by NERC are considered a public good and they will be made openly available for others to use.'

The NERC data policy differentiates between environmental data, which are covered by the policy, and information products, such as model code, which are excluded from the policy.

All applications for NERC funding must include a one-page outline data management plan. The aim of this simple plan is only to identify if the project will produce data and the likely quantity, if known.

Outline data management plans for successful proposals will be shared with relevant NERC data centre, who will work with PIs to prepare a detailed data management planwithin three months of the start date of the grant.

Applications for NERC funding must identify all resources needed to implement the data management plan.

NERC requires that all environmental data of long-term value generated through NERC-funded activities must be submitted to NERC data centres for long-term management and dissemination.

NERC will normally allow researchers a maximum of two years from the end of data collection to work exclusively on, and publish the results of, the data they have collected.

NERC typically expect finalised data to be submitted to a NERC data centre as soon after the end of data collection as possible. NERC define the end of data collection and the start of embargo periods as 'the point at which the data become available from an instrument or experiment', not the end of the NERC-funded project.

NERC expect that data and research materials that underpin research publications should be preserved and accessible for a minimum of 10 years after completion of the research. However, for projects of major importance, this may need to be 20 years or longer.

For further information see

National Institute for Health Research

NHIR Open Access Policy

Tied to journal publishing rather than on-going data management

- provides further guidance

May 2017


More information

Funders' data policies
(Digital Curation Centre)

Funders' data plan requirements
(Digital Curation Centre)

Funder policy summaries 
(University of Oxford)