Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

General Info

*N.B. From March 29th 2018, AHRC will be removing its requirement for a Technical Plan and replacing it with a requirement to submit a Data Management Plan, which will be mandatory for all Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows proposals. AHRC's requirements are therefore currently in flux, and the DCC will continue to update its policy content accordingly.*

Name of Policy

The AHRC does not have a standalone data policy. Research data is covered in the Research Funding Guide (latest revision v4.1, January 2018). See in particular sections on the Technical Plan and Technical Summary, as well as "Access to Data - deposit of resources or datasets".

Contact

enquiries@ahrc.ac.uk

Policy Specifics

Data Plan

A Technical Plan is required “for all applications where digital outputs or digital technologies are an essential part to the planned research outcomes. A digital output or digital technology is defined as an activity which involves the creation, gathering, collecting and/or processing of digital information.”

From March 29th 2018, the current Technical Plan requirement will be replaced by a Data Management Plan requirement. For general information about this change (and a warning about potential compatibility issues with the Je-S system) please see http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/peerreview/peer-review-updates-and-guidance/

Additional Guidance

Guidance on the length and coverage of the Technical Plan is given in section 4.2.9.5 of the Research Funding Guide.

From March 29th 2018, the Technical Plan will be replaced by a Data Management Plan. For more specific details see:

  • Frequently Asked Questions [PDF document]
  • About the Data Management Plan [PDF document which details the topics which an AHRC data management plan should address – effectively a non-mandatory template]
  • Data Management Points [PDF document elaborating the expectations on researchers and their institutions, including an obligation to confirm that “The proposal has been written in line with your institution’s data management policy” and that “You have consulted with the institution’s data support (e.g. library services, IT department)”]

Data Sharing / Access

“You should provide a brief and clear description of the digital output or digital technology being proposed, considering the following aspects: purpose, source data, content, functionality, use and its relationship to the research questions. You should identify the type of access envisaged, if applicable, such as 'freely available online'.”

The post-March 2018 DMP template adds that applicants should address "How the data will be shared and the value it will have to others; How the data will enhance the area and how it could be used in the future?" Furthermore, "If the data will have value to different audiences, [state] how these groups will be informed?"

Time Limits for Deposit and Retention

“Grant Holders in all areas must make any significant electronic resources or datasets created as a result of research funded by the Council available in an accessible and appropriate depository for at least three years after the end of their grant. The choice of depository should be appropriate to the nature of the project and accessible to the targeted audiences for the material produced.” There is no stipulation on how quickly data should be deposited.

The post-March 2018 DMP template adds that applicants should “advise when you will be releasing and justify if not releasing inline with AHRC guidelines of a minimum of three years”

Data Centre / Data Archive

The AHRC does not operate a data centre. Choice of data depository is left to the grant holder.

This is not expected to change under the post-March 2018 policy.

Costs

“AHRC awards cannot cover any direct costs relating to the expenditure occurring after the end date of the grant, though they can cover appropriate costs of preparation and ingest of digital outputs that are incurred within the funding period. It is important therefore to consider and outline how the costs incurred after the end of the grant will be funded.”

This appears to be changing post-March 2018, “Costs related to long term storage will be permitted providing these are fully justified and relate to the project[.] Full justification must be provided in Justification of Resources (JoR)[.]” 


Monitoring

Award holders are “required to submit outputs, outcomes and impacts linked to your award through the Researchfish system.” AHRC notes that “the monitoring of existing or past awards may be taken into account in the assessment of future applications, particularly if this monitoring is found to be less than satisfactory.”

Post-March 2018, AHRC state that 'If an institution has submitted the proposal and but during auditing it is found that this was not true sanctions may be imposed'. This is generally understood to relate to financial matters, but could be interpreted as covering all aspects of a research funding proposal, including data management.

Related Policies

In common with the other RCUK councils, the AHRC policy on data is intended to be read and interpreted in conjunction with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/datapolicy/) and the Concordat on Open Research Data (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/documents/concordatonopenresearchdata-pdf/) The AHRC also has an Open Access policy (http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/about/policies/openaccess/), in line with RCUK. Publications should be made available as rapidly and effectively as possible via deposit in an appropriate repository at or around the time of publication. This is a requirement for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).