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Open access to research data

The Research Council’s Policy on Open Access to Research Data aims to ensure that research data are accessible to relevant users, on equal terms, and at the lowest possible cost. The guidelines in the policy apply to all data generated by projects funded by the Research Council – with a few exceptions.

Better access to research data enhances the quality of research in that results can more readily be validated and verified, and datasets can be used in new ways and in combination with other datasets. Open access to research data also helps to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and may pave the way for more interdisciplinary research.

Exceptions to the general rule

Some data may not be made openly accessible as a matter of course. Data must not be made openly accessible if doing so could pose a threat to personal or national security or conflict with the applicable statutory framework regarding the protection of personal privacy or other legal provisions.  

Data that have commercial value and are generated in projects in which a company is the contractual partner with the Research Council may be exempted from the general principle of open access. In these cases, it is recommended that the data are made available after a certain period of time, for instance after three or five years. Data that are highly impractical or costly to make accessible may also be exempted from the general principle of open access.

The Research Council’s 2014 Policy on Open Access to Research Data has been updated in 2017, and can be downloaded from the menu to the right. The main principles of the policy from 2014 remain for the most part unchanged, but the following additions have now been included:

  • The Research Council has introduced guidelines requiring that R&D-performing institutions or companies should assess whether projects receiving funding from the Research Council must develop a data management plan. Furthermore, the policy establishes that data management plans ought to be publicly accessible, and be made openly accessible by the by the R&D institution. This has the potential of promoting greater openness and enabling scientific groups to follow and learn from peer practice.
  • The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship are included as a main principle in the Research Council’s policy. FAIR is an acronym for the words findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
  • The international FAIR Principles for use of research data have been incorporated into the main principle of the policy.
  • Several of the guidelines listed on have now been reworded from recommendations to requirements in order to ensure compliance with the FAIR principles for reuse of research data.

The principles and guidelines presented in this policy conform to the Nasjonal strategi for tilgjengeliggjøring og deling av forskningsdata (“National Strategy on access to and sharing of research data”, currently Norwegian only) issued by the Government in December 2017.