Leicester's research data roadmap

Leicester has developed its Research Data Roadmap and is in the process of developing and rolling out detailed policy.

In addition to internal drivers, there are a number of current external drivers for Research Data Management (RDM), prompted by amongst others, RCUK, UK Data Archive, the EU, the Data Seal of Approval, and a range of research funders.

At its meeting of 4 April 2012 the Research Computing Management Group (RCMG) agreed that it needed to identify issues and address broad demands, for example from a range of research funders, and to support the long-term development of research data management within the University.

By 1st May 2012 Leicester's Roadmap documentpdf had been created and approved, according to schedule, by the Research Computing Management Group (RCMG).


The roadmap addresses four basic questions:

  1. What do we do now?
  2. What must be done to address current gaps?
  3. When will it be done?
  4. What resources will be committed?

Specific and immediate requirements or nine 'clear expectations' are defined by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).  It expects that where it funds research, institutions will fully comply with these expectations by May 2015:

  1. Research organisations will promote internal awareness of these principles and expectations and ensure that their researchers and research students have a general awareness of the regulatory environment and of the available exemptions which may be used, should the need arise, to justify the withholding of research data;
  2. Published research papers should include a short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed.
  3. Each research organisation will have specific policies and associated processes to maintain effective internal awareness of their publicly-funded research data holdings and of requests by third parties to access such data; all of their researchers or research students funded by EPSRC will be required to comply with research organisation policies in this area or, in exceptional circumstances, to provide justification of why this is not possible.
  4. Publicly-funded research data that is not generated in digital format will be stored in a manner to facilitate it being shared in the event of a valid request for access to the data being received (this expectation could be satisfied by implementing a policy to convert and store such data in digital format in a timely manner).
  5. Research organisations will ensure that appropriately structured metadata describing the research data they hold is published (normally within 12 months of the data being generated) and made freely accessible on the internet; in each case the metadata must be sufficient to allow others to understand what research data exists, why, when and how it was generated, and how to access it. Where the research data referred to in the metadata is a digital object it is expected that the metadata will include use of a robust digital object identifier (For example as available through the DataCite organisation).
  6. Where access to the data is restricted the published metadata should also give the reason and summarise the conditions which must be satisfied for access to be granted. For example ‘commercially confidential’ data, in which a business organisation has a legitimate interest, might be made available to others subject to a suitable legally enforceable non-disclosure agreement.
  7. Research organisations will ensure that EPSRC-funded research data is securely preserved for a minimum of 10-years from the date that any researcher ‘privileged access’ period expires or, if others have accessed the data, from last date on which access to the data was requested by a third party; all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that publicly-funded data is not held in any jurisdiction where the available legal safeguards provide lower levels of protection than are available in the UK.
  8. Research organisations will ensure that effective data curation is provided throughout the full data lifecycle, with ‘data curation’ and ‘data lifecycle’ being as defined by the Digital Curation Centre. The full range of responsibilities associated with data curation over the data lifecycle will be clearly allocated within the research organisation, and where research data is subject to restricted access the research organisation will implement and manage appropriate security controls; research organisations will particularly ensure that the quality assurance of their data curation processes is a specifically assigned responsibility.
  9. Research organisations will ensure adequate resources are provided to support the curation of publicly-funded research data; these resources will be allocated from within their existing public funding streams, whether received from Research Councils as direct or indirect support for specific projects or from higher education Funding Councils as block grants.

EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data - Expectations