Because good research needs good data

Medical Research Council (MRC)

General Info

Name of policy

Data Sharing Policy (v2.0, September 2016; due for review September 2017)


Geraldine Clement-Stoneham, Knowledge and Information Manager:

Policy Specifics

Data Plan

“All applicants submitting funding proposals to the MRC are required to include a Data Management Plan (DMP) as an integral part of the application. MRC Institutes and Units are required to submit one as part of the Quinquennial Review (QQR) report.” The FAQ file outlines what is expected in the way of content.

Data Sharing / Access

“The MRC’s overarching policy aim for data-sharing is to maximise the life-time value of research data assets for human health and to do so in a way that is timely, responsible, with as few restrictions as possible, and consistent with the law, regulations and recognised good practice.”

Time Limits for Deposit and Retention

The policy states only that data “should be shared in a timely and responsible manner.” Furthermore, “MRC policy is not intended to discourage filing of patent applications in advance of publication and recognises that it may be necessary on occasion to delay publication for a short period to allow time for applications to be drafted.”

Data Centre / Data Archive

MRC does not operate its own data centre. The policy “does not prescribe when or how researchers should preserve and share data.”


“Applicants should include in their Je-S Proposal Form the resources and funding for managing and sharing substantial data resources/collections. This could be for people, equipment, infrastructure and tools to manage, store, analyse and provide access to data. Where the costs of managing legacy data and sharing are substantial, your proposal should differentiate in broad terms between the resources and funding for:

  • collecting and “cleaning” new data
  • own research on newly-acquired and legacy data
  • ongoing data curation and preservation
  • providing access and data sharing.”

In early 2018, the MRC (together with Wellcome, Cancer Research UK, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) announced that they would cover all costs involved in sharing academic clinical trials data via the Clinical Study Data Request (CSDR) website.


Monitoring compliance is the responsibility of the researcher. Post-funding, the researchers should “review the DMP periodically (annually) within the study team to check that the planned procedures are implemented and to adapt them as necessary.”

Additional Guidance            

Related Policies

In common with the other RCUK councils, the MRC policy on data is intended to be read and interpreted in conjunction with the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy ( and the Concordat on Open Research Data ( The MRC also has an Open Access policy ( 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).