Because good research needs good data

The Wellcome Trust

General Info

Name of policy

Policy on Data, Software and Materials Management and Sharing


David Carr,

Policy Specifics

Data Plan

Wellcome require applicants to consider research data within a broader, outputs management strategy: "Anyone applying for Wellcome funding must consider their approach to managing and sharing anticipated outputs at the research proposal stage. In cases where these outputs are significant – generating data, software or materials that will hold clear value as a resource for others in academia or industry – applicants will need to include an outputs management plan explaining their planned approach."

A set of six specifically data-related issues is suggested in the guidance on “Developing an outputs management plan”, together with IP and resourcing issues spanning all output types.

The outputs management plan is expected to be a living document, and should be maintained and reviewed "throughout the research lifecycle."

It is worth noting that Wellcome's policy covers physical materials, "such as antibodies and cell lines", as well as more traditional digital data.

Data Sharing / Access

Wellcome expect the researchers they fund “to maximise the availability of research data, software and materials with as few restrictions as possible” while also recogising that "in some circumstances, controls and limits on sharing are necessary – for example, to protect the confidentiality and privacy of research participants, or to enable IP to be developed, protected and used in line with our IP and patenting policy."

This approach is akin to the EC policy of “as open as possible, as closed as necessary.”

Time Limits for Deposit and Retention

"As a minimum, the data underpinning research papers should be made available to other researchers at the time of publication, as well as any original software that is required to view datasets or to replicate analyses. Where research data relates to public health emergencies, researchers must share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, and in advance of journal publication."

Data Centre / Data Archive

Datasets should be deposited in "recognised community repositories for data and other outputs where these exist", and should be readily discoverable. Persistent identifiers should be assigned wherever possible.

Wellcome also provides Wellcome Open Research, which they describe as “a new way for Wellcome-funded researchers to rapidly publish any results they think are worth sharing.”


Wellcome "will fund any justified costs for delivering the plan as part of funding the research."

In early 2018, Wellcome (together with the Medical Research Council, 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.


"Wellcome will also consider whether researchers have managed and shared their research outputs in line with our requirements, as a critical part of the end of grant reporting process."

Additional Guidance

This policy should be read in conjunction with Wellcome's:

Related policies


The current policy was released on 10th July 2017, replacing the previous "Policy on Data Management and Sharing".