ESRC announces new research data policy
Early last week the Economic and Social Research Council published a new research data policy. Aligned with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Sharing, the policy outlines the obligations of ESRC grant holders and their institutions with respect to the collection, management and re-use of research data. A specific requirement is that grant holders should “generate scientifically robust data ready for further re-use” (ESRC).
Re-use of data creates particular challenges in disciplines where data are sensitive. Nevertheless, the policy suggests that most data can be curated and shared ethically as long as researchers allow for this from the earliest stages of planning a project, for example, by including consent for data sharing when gaining informed consent; by anonymising data; and by addressing access restrictions to data in the data management plan (ESRC, p.5).
A data management and sharing plan is now a requirement for all applicants for ESRC funding. This must include details of any existing datasets that will be re-used as well as information on new data that will be generated by the project.
The ESRC assigns other data management responsibilities to applicants, grant holders and their institutions.
Among the responsibilities assigned to the institution are the provision of guidance for preparing and implementing a data management plan. For this may I suggest that you take a look at some of the resources in my previous post on data management planning? Or just get in touch if you’d like me to work with you on your data management plan.
The one thing I won’t promise to do is “ensure all ESRC-funded projects adhere to their plan throughout the life of their funding” (ESRC, p.8). That’s down to you, your research team and your Principal Investigator.
For further information I strongly recommend that you take a look at the new policy.