Research integrity: develop your institution’s policy for research data management
To maintain research integrity (and protect their reputations), institutions and researchers must ensure research data is preserved so that results can be verified and the data reused in future. Re-use maximises the return on public investment in research.
The need for good research data management grows as ever more data is created. It is an essential part of ethical research conduct, is often a requirement of research grants and can make responding to Freedom of Information requests more efficient.
Research data management is important for institutions as well as researchers. Listen to Professor Kevin Schurer at our Research Integrity conference to hear why - or read the Digital Curation Centre’s briefing paper on Making the case for research data.
- Funder policies and legislation are key drivers. All Research Councils now have research data management policies, based on a set of common principles formulated by Research Councils UK which individual councils have interpreted differently. See the Digital Curation Centre’s table for a quick overview.
- Researchers and institutions also need to comply appropriately with Freedom of Information legislation. Following recommendations by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Information Commissioner's Office has published guidance on freedom of information legislation and research information. The questions a researcher might ask when faced with an FoI request for research data are addressed in our Question and Answer document.
- To manage research data effectively, many institutions will need a formal policy for support and guidance. The University of Edinburgh’s policy, for example, lays down the key points to which the university aspires. The University of Oxford’s commitment to good research data management requires the deployment of a federated institutional data repository. See the Digital Curation Centre’s list of institutional research data policies.
- If you’re planning an institutional policy or strategy, you may find it helpful to attend one of the Digital Curation Centre’s regional roadshows. These three day events consist of sessions aimed at different audiences, including senior managers, researchers and librarians.
- The Digital Curation Centre offers a wealth of advice and guidance on all aspects of research data management, much of it developed as a consequence of our work. See how Cambridge, Glasgow and Oxford universities have built on this advice to deliver guidance to their own researchers.
- Our work has supported 8 institutions to build their own infrastructures for research data management. We’ve documented the key benefits that these institutions derived, which include potential cost savings, improved data sharing and integrated thinking around research data management.
What does the future hold?
Services developed from some of our work will be made widely available on the ‘cloud’ during 2012.
Support from JISC Services