Natural Environment Research Council - data and IT requirements

"NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences.

Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator.

NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £370 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)." (NERC Website)

UoL DMP Document - NERC


NERC data and IT Requirements - Introduction and summary

Information correct as at July 2013.

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

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

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Data Policy includes a clear statement on the need for openness and access to the data that underpin research publications. Research data produced by activities funded by the NERC is considered to be a public good which should be made openly available for anyone to use. The same policy includes a formal requirement for all funding applicants to submit an outline data management plan (ODMP), which will be evaluated as part of the grant assessment process.

Summary of NERC data requirements 

  • Usually a one-page Outline Data Management Plan (ODMP) is required at the application stage.
  • A fuller Data Management Plan (DMP) must be provided to NERC within three months of the project’s starting date.
  • NERC provides a Data Value Checklist to help researchers decide which datasets have long-term value.
  • At the end of a research project NERC requires that all datasets with long-term value should be made available for others to use with as few restrictions as possible, and in a timely manner, usually via one of the NERC Data Centres.
  • Researchers are entitled to 'right of first use' (i.e. exclusive access) to the data they generate, but this period must not be longer than two years from the end of data collection/creation.
  • All research publications arising from NERC funding must include a statement on how underpinning research datasets can be accessed.

What you need to know

The NERC Data Policy applies to all environmental data acquired, assembled or created through activities that are either fully or partially funded by NERC. The Policy also applies to environmental data managed by NERC, but for which NERC was not the original funder. NERC defines environmental data as items or records that are usually obtained by measurement, observation or modelling of the natural world and the impact of humans upon it. This includes data generated through complex systems, such as information retrieval algorithms, data assimilation techniques and the application of numerical models. 

NERC is committed to safeguarding the availability of research data which has long-term value for research, teaching and wider uses, in order to:

  • Support the integrity, transparency and openness of research.
  • Assist in the formal publication of datasets and enable the tracking of their usage through citation and data licences.
  • Abide by relevant legislation and government guidance on the management and distribution of environmental information.
  • Ensure the long-term availability of environmental data by supporting several Data Centres and by stipulating several conditions relating to data sharing, which all recipients of NERC funding must observe.

The NERC stance on the management and sharing of research data is shared by most major research funders, including the Research Councils UK, the National Science Foundation and the European Commission.