Sharing research data

Openness and knowledge sharing is a prerequisite for all research. It is an important research policy objective that the results of publicly funded research should be as open as possible. In this context, by research results we mean data that is created through research activities.

The Research Council of Norway's policy for open access to research data is intended to make research data available to relevant users, on equal terms, at the lowest possible cost. The policy guidelines apply to all data in projects funded by us – with some exceptions. The international FAIR principles have been developed as a set of guidelines to facilitate further use of research data. FAIR is an acronym for the words findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. In other words, research data must be of a quality that makes it findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The management of research data in projects that receive funding from the Research Council must follow the FAIR principles, as much as possible.

As open as possible, as closed as necessary

Better access to research data enhances the quality of research, both because results can be validated and verified in a better way, and because datasets can be used in new ways and in combination with other datasets. Open access to research data also contributes to fewer duplications and unnecessary duplication of effort and will facilitate more interdisciplinary research.

Some datasets cannot simply be made openly available. The Research Council of Norway's policy therefore operates with clear exceptions. Data sets shall not be made openly available if doing so may threaten individual or national security, conflict with applicable data protection regulations or other legal provisions. Not sure if you can share your data? Try out Datafabrikken's data sharing legal guide!

How data should be archived

As the main principle it is up to the R&D performing enterprise to decide which archiving solution to use. However, where appropriate, the Research Council of Norway may order the storage of data and/or metadata in specific national or international archives.

When we require storage in a specific archive, we will always state this in the call for proposals, and we will write this into the contract for the projects.

Requirements for data management plan in projects that manage data

A data management plan is a tool and framework for researchers who contribute to thoughtful, structured and documented data management, throughout the research process. A good data management plan makes the research data easier to retrieve and understand for others, creates awareness of data security, costs and quality, makes the research reproducible and increases the potential for reuse. The data management plan should be a living document that is regularly updated throughout the life of the project. Read more about data management plans on

The requirement for a data management plan for projects receiving funding from the Research Council of Norway was introduced in 2018. The requirement applies to all projects that have received funding after 01.01.2018 and that manage data in their project. Projects must submit the first version of the plan when revising the grant application. An updated version is delivered together with the project's final report. The Research Council of Norway does not assess the content of submitted plans. It is the responsibility of the Project Owner to approve that the plan is in line with the institution's requirements and guidelines before it is submitted. Data management plans should, as far as possible, be public and published openly so that academic communities can better follow their peers' practices.

Based on the data management plans received, the Research Council will accept any costs for managing data as part of the operating costs of the projects we support. In addition, the Research Council of Norway will attach importance to providing funding for good infrastructures for data storage and data management, for example through the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure.

What a data management plan should include

This guide is a tool for projects that manage data and are required to submit a data management plan when revising the grant application and final reporting to the Research Council. It is based on Science Europe's 'Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management'.

The Research Council recommends using a service for data management plans that allows the project to generate a machine-actionable data management plan, for example according to the RDA Common Standard. Until further notice, the project must upload the data management plan in the format of pdf, .doc(x) or similar. We are working on developing our systems to facilitate machine-actionable data management plans. We also recommend assigning your data management plan a persistent identifier, such as a DOI. Several services for data management plans offer this.

Tools and service providers to create a good data management plan

There are several providers and tools that generate data management plans for research projects. The solutions make it possible to update the data management plan during the project period. Here are examples of tools and services available to generate data management plans:

Data Stewardship Wizard (DSW), ELIXIR Norway

Data Stewardship Wizard (DSW), ELIXIR Norway
Create a data management plan (DMP) | Sikt
Digital Curation Centre
Argos (

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