Scientific and Technology Facilities Council - data and IT requirements

"STFC is one of the UK’s seven publicly funded Research Councils responsible for supporting, co-ordinating and promoting research, innovation and skills development in seven distinct fields.

Our uniqueness lies in the breadth of our remit and the sheer diversity of our portfolio, as we harness our world-leading expertise, facilities and resources to drive science and technology forward and maximise our impact for the benefit of the UK and its people." (STFC Website)

The STFC adopts the view that publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner that does not harm intellectual property.

UoL DMP Document - STFC

STFC data and IT Requirements - Introduction and summary

Information correct as at July 2013.

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

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

For the STFC, research data is a major output of funding and a major source of economic impact. Scientific publishers, too, increasingly require that data which underpins a published research output (a journal article for instance) should be made available for validation purposes. STFC data requirements apply to all scientific research data produced using STFC funding, including grants paid to universities, access to beam time at STFC-supported facilities and (through STFC subscriptions) to other organisations such as CERN or ESO.

The DMP is usually an integral part of any grant application made to the STFC.

Summary of requirements

  • A data management plan (DMP) is typically required at the proposal stage, explaining how the STFC requirement will be met.
  • STFC-funded research data must be made freely available after project completion.
  • A defined period of exclusive data use is permitted.
  • Applicants should ensure that raw data remains available for ten years from project completion, while data which is not re-measurable is retained ‘in perpetuity’.
  • Data underpinning published research outputs should be available within six months of the output’s publication.

The Data Management Plan 

The DMP is usually an integral part of any grant application made to the STFC: “Proposals for projects that would result in the production or collection of scientific data should include, in the case for support, a data management plan.” 

STFC does not stipulate a specific format for data management plans but recommends that eight areas be addressed, asks that it is “clear, concise and proportionate” and takes into account the “value of the data, the likely level of future re-use, the complexity and levels of data, and the cost effectiveness of preservation compared to re-creation”:

  1.  Specify the types of data the research will generate.
  2. Specify which data will be preserved and how.
  3. Specify the software and metadata implications.
  4. Specify for how long the data will be preserved.
  5. Specify and justify which data will have value to others and should be shared.
  6. Specify and justify the length of any proprietary period.
  7. Specify how data will be shared.
  8. Specify and justify any resources required to preserve and share the data.

STFC advises that Digital Curation Centre (DCC) guidance is followed. The DCC provides an on-line DMP tool (DMP Online) which provides the ability to create a DMP according to the specific requirements of various funding councils.

The DMP should be submitted alongside your main Je-S application. Every STFC-supported facility is also expected to have an on-going and regularly updated DMP of its own. Your DMP should explain how you’ll manage any research data that you plan to generate or collect, in line with STFC’s requirements. An assessment of the DMP will be made as part of the general assessment of your application. Your DMP should follow best practice in information management.