STFC - Science and Technology Facilities Council

A statement on access to published research outputs is available within STFC's Research Grants Handbook.

A scientific data policy was released by STFC in September 2011.

POLICY STIPULATIONS

Time Limits

Publications must be made available at the earliest opportunity.

‘Published’ data should generally be made available within six months of the date of the relevant publication.

Data resulting from publicly funded research should be made publicly available after a limited period, unless there are specific reasons why this should not happen. The length of any proprietary period should be specified in the data management plan and justified.

STFC expect the original data to be retained for the longest possible period, with ten years after the end of the project being a reasonable minimum. For data that by their nature cannot be re-measured (e.g. earth observations), effort should be made to retain them ‘in perpetuity’.

Data Plan

Data management plans are expected for projects that will result in the production or collection of scientific data. STFC guidelines recommends that eight areas should be addressed.

STFC also directs researchers to the guidance provided by the Digital Curation Centre

Access/Data Sharing

Published outputs should be deposited in an appropriate e-print repository.

Data resulting from publicly funded research should be made publicly available after a limited period, unless there are specific reasons why this should not happen.

‘Publicly available’ means available to anyone. However, there may a requirement for registration to enable tracking of data use and to provide notification of terms and conditions of use where they apply.

Long-term Curation

STFC, as a publicly funded organisation, has a responsibility to ensure that this data is carefully managed and optimally exploited, both in the short and the long term.

STFC would normally expect data to be managed through an institutional repository, e.g. as operated by a research organisation (such as STFC), a university, a laboratory or an independently managed subject specific database.

The data management plan should specify which data are to be deposited in a repository, where and for how long, with appropriate justification.

Monitoring

It is not clear if compliance with STFC's open access policy is monitored.

STFC will seek to ensure the integrity of any data and related metadata that it manages. Any deliberate attempt to compromise that integrity, e.g. by the modification of data or the provision of incorrect metadata, will be considered as a serious breach of this policy.

Data management plans will be considered and approved within the normal assessment procedure.

SUPPORT SERVICES

Guidance

The data policy points researchers to the DCC and STFC eScience for support.

Repository

The STFC runs an e-Publications archive.

Data Centre

Several data centres, services and research portals are in place, such as the UK Solar System Data Centre, the Chemical Database Service and the Diamond Data Portal.

These are generally organised on a subject basis rather than serving the outputs of the whole council, and deposit is not mandated.

Costs

Researchers are directed to RIN guidance on paying open access fees.

The RCUK Common Principles state that it is appropriate to use public funds to support the management and sharing of publicly-funded research data, but that these activities should be both efficient and cost-effective.

The STFC does not state if costs for open access publication or data mangement and sharing can be included in grant applications.