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Open data and data management

Open data

Most research funders have introduced policies on research data management. The general expectation is that publicly funded research data are a public good, and should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible. On top of that, funders have their individual data policies which provide beneficiaries with instructions on how to treat research data. Researchers are expected to make the data underpinning published papers as widely and openly available as possible, ideally by depositing it in appropriate repositories in a timely manner.

IP

At the same time, researchers should be aware that, if they want to commercialise the results of their research, commercialisation may be jeopardised if information about the inventions is publicly disclosed before all relevant applications for IP protection have been lodged. A public disclosure would include depositing research data in a publicly accessible discipline-based or institutional repository.

Data management plan

To negotiate these hurdles researchers are encouraged to develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan at the design stage of their research project. Increasingly this is a requirement of funders with each having specific expectations and formats. Good sources of guidance can be found here  and here. The Digital Curation Centre also provides an online tool that will assist you in creating a plan suitable for any given funder.

A good data management and sharing plan will ensure that legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data are considered from that start of your research planning and throughout the lifetime of you project. It will also ensure that you allocate appropriate resources (time and financial) for data management into your grant proposal.

Further guidance can be found in the Universitys Research Data Management Policy Framework webpage.