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Data management plans facilitate re-use of data

Better access to research data enhances the quality of research and offers many benefits for business and society at large. Starting in 2018, all Research Council-funded projects that generate data will as a general rule need to have a data management plan.

“Our goal is for research data to be as accessible as possible. This will lead to greater transparency in research and facilitate better integration of research and innovation into the development of society and business,” says John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council. “Data management plans are designed both to safeguard data during a project and to ensure that the data are available for future re-use. It is important that all projects where this is relevant have such a plan in place,” he adds.

Our goal is for research data to be as accessible as possible, says John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council. (Photo: Thomas Keilman) The requirement for data management plans is a new addition to the Research Council’s policy on open access to research data, and will be incorporated into calls for proposals starting in 2018. This requirement has been set out in the Government’s national strategy on open access to and sharing of research data, and is in line with similar requirements under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020.

Data management plans as the rule

As a general rule, all Research Council-funded research projects that generate data must have a data management plan. In cases where a project does not have such a plan, the Project Owner must explain why.

A data management plan is to be a living document that follows a research project throughout the entire project period. It is to clarify which data are to be generated, how the data are to be described, where the data will be stored and whether and how they may be shared.

The plan should be made public

“Data management plans must be in place when projects submit their revised grant applications, but they will not be part of the Research Council’s application review process, nor will the content of the plan be assessed. We encourage institutions to make their plans public to allow researchers to learn from one another,” says Marte Qvenild, Senior Adviser in the Research Council’s Division for Science.

The institutions themselves are responsible for determining how they will provide access to the data. Under certain circumstances, the Research Council is entitled to stipulate storage of the data in specific national or international archives. Stipulations of this type will be set out in calls for proposals.

Written by:
Christian Lund. Translation: Glenn Wells/Carol B. Eckmann.
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