Because good research needs good data

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

General Info

Name of policy

Scientific Data Policy


Robin Blowfield,

Policy Specifics

Data Plan

“Proposals for grant funding, for those projects which result in the production or collection of scientific data, should include a data management plan. These should be prepared in consultation with relevant stakeholders and should aim to streamline activities utilising existing skills and capabilities, in particular for smaller projects, [and] should be considered and approved within the normal assessment procedure. Data management plans should follow relevant national and international recommendations for best practice.”

The policy states that STFC “can provide advice [about data management plans] upon request.”

Data Sharing / Access

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

Time Limits for Deposit and Retention

“Data resulting from publicly funded research should be made publicly  available after a limited period, unless there are specific reasons (e.g.  legislation, ethical, privacy and security) why this should not happen. The length of any proprietary period should be specified in the data management plan and justified, for example, by the reasonable needs of the research team to have a first opportunity to exploit the results of their research, including any IP arising. Where there are accepted norms within a scientific field or for a specific archive (e.g. the one year norm of ESO) they should generally be followed.” Furthermore, the policy states that “‘published’ data should generally be made available within six months of the date of the relevant publication.”

Data Centre / Data Archive

“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 repository(ies) should be chosen so as to maximise the scientific value obtained from aggregation of related data. It may be appropriate to use different repositories for data from different stages of a study, e.g. raw data from a crystallographic study might be deposited in a facility repository while the resulting published crystal structure might be deposited in an International Union of Crystallography database.”


The policy does not address data management costs, beyond referring to the RCUK Common Principle that it is appropriate to use public funds to manage publicly-funded data. The policy does note that “that a balance may be required between the cost of data curation (e.g. for very large datasets) and the potential long term value of that data.”


The policy does not address monitoring or compliance.

Related Policies

In common with the other RCUK councils, the STFC policy 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 STFC follows the RCUK policy on Open Access. 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).