Four of the UK’s leading research organisations - Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Research Councils UK (RCUK), Universities UK (UUK) and Wellcome Trust - have today launched a concordat that proposes a series of clear and practical principles for working with research data.
The Concordat on Open Research Data has been developed by a UK multi-stakeholder group - Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), RCUK, Newcastle University, UUK, HEFCE, University of Warwick, Research Information Network, Springer Nature, British Library, Wellcome Trust, University of Essex, The Russell Group and Jisc - and is a set of expectations of best practice reflecting the needs of the research community.
This concordat will help to ensure that research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made openly available for use by others wherever possible; in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical, disciplinary and regulatory frameworks and norms, and with due regard to the costs involved.
The ten principles include:
- Importance of developing data skills
- Importance of ensuring data underlying publications is accessible by publication date
- Rights of data creators to reasonable first use
- Expectations of data users to acknowledge use of others’ data
While there are four initial signatories to the concordat, there has been wider consultation with the research community and their feedback and input helped shape the final text. The Concordat on Open Research Data is open for other organisations and groups to sign up to over time. Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Sweeney, director of research, education and knowledge exchange, HEFCE, said:
“Open research data has the potential to deliver substantial benefits to research and to wider society. Open data will reveal new research avenues, and deliver innovative new technologies and services that will improve our lives.
Achieving open data is not easy; there are substantial challenges ahead which will require the commitment of everyone involved in research. This concordat is an important step towards securing this commitment. I would now encourage all those involved in research to sign up to the principles and engage with this agenda.”
Prof. Duncan Wingham, chief executive of NERC and RCUK open data champion, said:
“RCUK welcomes the Open Data Concordat and the focus that the core principles bring to ensuring that the data resulting from the research that we fund is as open as possible.
By ensuring good practice around the open use and reuse of data, where appropriate, we can ensure that research brings optimum benefits to the long term prosperity and wellbeing of the UK and to the world.”
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of UUK, continued:
“Open research data has the potential to deliver significant benefits for society by enhancing the impact of our world-class research base. Universities UK welcomes this concordat, which sets out the aspirations of the research community while recognising the costs and challenges that must be addressed if we are to realise these benefits.
By supporting the concordat, universities and other research organisations can help ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of science and research.”
Nicola Perrin, head of policy at Wellcome Trust, added:
“The Concordat sets out core principles to guide the research community in ensuring that research data can be accessed and used in ways that will accelerate discovery and maximise benefits to society. Importantly, it recognises that not all research data can be shared openly, and that there is a need for all researchers to plan how they will manage and share data as an integral part of planning their research.”
Open research data is the next step in achieving the UK’s open science ambitions and will help improve cooperation and strengthen the UK’s position as a global science leader.