Economic and Social Research Council - data and IT requirements

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have published a new Research data policy underpinned by nine core principles and Data management plan guidance.

"We are the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. We support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. At any one time we support over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

We are a non-departmental public body (NDPB) established by Royal Charter in 1965 and receive most of our funding through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Our research is vigorous and authoritative, as we support independent, high-quality, relevant social science." (ESRC Website)

It is a widely held view that publicly-funded research data is a public good, produced in the public interest and should, whenever possible, be openly available for secondary scientific research.


ESRC data and IT Requirements - Introduction and summary

Information correct as at July 2013.

Please refer to the full ESRC data mangement planning guidance document.pdf

Please also refer to the University guide 'Introduction to Managing Research Data – For Researchers and Students'

The following points summarise ESRC data requirements:

  • It is expected that ESRC-funded research data will be deposited with one of the ESRC data services within three months of the end of a grant.
  • A Data Management Plan (DMP) is typically required at the funding application stage.
  • Within the DMP barriers to data sharing, along with any measures you plan to take to overcome them, should be identified.
  • For sensitive data explicit mention of consent, anonymisation and potential access restrictions (see ESRC’s Framework for Research Ethics, Jan. 2015) should be made in the DMP. If the data could be highly sensitive, consider deposit with ESRC Secure Data Service.
  • ESRC expects researchers to investigate copyright issues and to attempt to gain copyright clearance so that data can be shared at the end of the project. University Enterprise and Business Development can assist with copyright and intellectual property rights issues.
  • After funding is awarded, grant holders are required to seek further advice and guidance from the UK Data Service / Economic and Social Data Service.

Key data requirements

The ESRC research data policy (March 2015) states that “Data are the main assets of economic and social research. They are the basis for research and also the ultimate product of research”. The ESRC, like many other funding bodies, expects grant holders, whether partially or wholly funded, to generate robust data, ready for re-use and long-term preservation. 

Academic publishers also increasingly require that data which underpins a published research output (a journal article for instance) should be made available for validation purposes.

 A Data Management Plan (DMP), along with any associated data management costs, is an integral part of all grant applications made to the ESRC (except for applicants applying for studentships) and should be submitted alongside your main Je-S application. Your DMP should explain how you’ll manage any research data that you plan to use or create. An assessment of the DMP will be made as part of the general assessment of your application. A poorly prepared DMP may have a detrimental effect on an otherwise strong application. Your DMP should describe:

  • Any intentions you have for re-using existing data.
  • How data will be shared and potential barriers to data sharing, along with any measures you plan to take to overcome these difficulties.
  • Consent, confidentiality, anonymisation and any other appropriate ethical considerations.
  • The data formats you intend to use, along with a brief explanation of why you’ve chosen them.
  • The volume of data you expect to create.
  • Data quality assurance procedures.
  • Plans to address copyright and intellectual property ownership of the data.
  • Back-up and security arrangements.
  • How your DMP will be implemented, monitored and developed.
  • Individuals with responsibility for implementing your DMP.