Draft Policy for Research Data Management at Loughborough


I've blogged in the past about our Research Data Management project and the Higher Education sector's transition to being Open by Default (through Open Access Publications, Research Data and Open Educational Resources). This work is coming on nicely, and we now have a draft institutional policy (developed by my colleague Sue Manuel) that I'd welcome your feedback on. This still has to be further crunched over at an institutional level for formal approval, but it incorporates lots of good ideas from our discussions with other institutions, and I think we're pretty much where we need to be.

[Image credit: CC-BY Flickr user opensourceway]

While I'm here, I'll also plug my talk at this year's Institutional Web Management Workshop "The Inside-Out University":

It's a truism that Universities are going through a period of enormous change. This talk will focus on one particular development - the move to being "open by default", in which the web community will play a key enabling role.
There are many practical considerations around opening up institutional information such as course data, educational resources and research datasets. Until recently these might typically have been considered to be "private" to the institution or even the individual academic, and our systems and services have tended to be constructed on this basis.
Being open by default also has a lot to do with changing the institutional culture so that we are used to working more broadly and deeply with external partners. These include service providers, consumers of the information that we are making open, and facilitators such as the Open Data Institute.
In this talk I will look at some examples from Loughborough University including our recent Jisc projects on Open Course Data and Business and Community Engagement. I will also use crowdsourcing to solicit feedback from the community on their own experiences of the open access transition, and fold these into the talk.
To find out more, please see the IWMW 2013 website. Now back to that draft RDM policy... :-)



The University is committed to supporting its researchers to ensure research data is well managed and to the continual improvement of that support.  This policy applies to all research data that provide evidence to support or validate the observations, findings or outputs from research conducted on University premises or using University facilities.


Policy statements
  1. The University is committed to research excellence and integrity. As such, it seeks to promote high standards of research data management throughout the research data lifecycle.
  2. New research proposals [from date of adoption] should include research data management plans or protocols in line with funders’ policies. In other instances, research data management plans are encouraged. All plans should include responsibilities for data collection, documentation and metadata, ethical and legal compliance, storage and backup, selection of data of long-term value, preservation and data sharing.
  3. Research data management plans should ensure that research data are available for access and re-use wherever appropriate and under appropriate safeguards.
  4. To enable research data to be discoverable and effectively re-used by others, sufficient metadata should be recorded and made openly available.
  5. All research data of continuing value to the researcher and the wider research community, or specified by funding bodies, or required for legal or other regulatory purposes should be registered with the University, even that which is retained elsewhere, for example in an international data service or domain repository.
  6. Research data that may be of future historical interest, including data that substantiate research findings, should normally be offered and assessed for deposit and retention in an appropriate data service or domain repository, or a University repository.
  7. The legitimate interests of the subjects of research data must be protected.
  8. Exclusive rights to reuse or publish research data should not be handed over to commercial publishers or agents without retaining the rights to make the data openly available for reuse, unless this is a condition of funding.
  9. Where any research is subject to any associated contractual arrangements and/or grant conditions that conflict with this policy, the provisions of such contractual arrangements and/or grant conditions will take precedence.

Researchers’ responsibilities
  • Responsibility for the creation of a research data management plan and the implementation of that plan throughout the research lifecycle during any research project or programme lies with Principal Investigators (PIs).
  • Heads of Departments and Centres and others responsible for research staff and students should ensure that researchers in their areas are aware of the University’s policy regarding research data management and its associated guidelines and procedures.
  • Researchers are required to comply with the conditions of their of their research funders’ data policies.
  • Researchers should ensure published results always include information on how to access the supporting data.
  • PIs should review their data holdings assessing their research value e.g. for potential future use in research and education, and wider applications for policy, commerce or public interests.
  • PIs should notify the University of their data holdings and supply the Data Asset Register with metadata relating to their data.

University’s responsibilities
  • The University will provide access to training, support, advice and, where appropriate, guidelines and templates for research data management and research data management plans.
  • The University will provide access to mechanisms and services for storage, backup, registration, valuation, deposit and retention of research data assets in support of current and future access, during and after completion of research projects.
  • The University reserves the right to appraise and review its data holdings in consultation with PIs and appropriate experts.
  • This policy will be reviewed and updated through the Research Committee in consultation with appropriate stakeholders.

Relationship with existing policies

Research data will be managed in accordance with the University’s other policies and guidelines, such as: