Member of the Science Europe Governing Board and President of the French National Research Agency
The objective of Open Science is to make knowledge accessible for all. It promotes the unhindered dissemination of research outputs and aims to improve research efficiency by supporting data discovery, accessibility, interoperability, and re-use. At the French National Research Agency (ANR), we support the European and international alignment of efforts on the sharing of research data, following the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. We encourage our researchers to consider research data management (RDM) and data sharing from the development phase of a research project and throughout its lifecycle.
The first edition of the Science Europe Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management was published in January 2019 and was quickly taken up by numerous research funding and performing organisations across Europe, including the European Commission, who use it to define their own RDM policies and as an educational resource for researchers. Key to this success was the engagement of the Dutch Research Council (NWO), led by its President and former Science Europe Governing Board member, Professor Stan Gielen, and the commitment he made in 2017 to champion the alignment of RDM among research funding organisations in Europe.
Two years after its launch, Science Europe presents the second, extended edition of its guide. Following requests from numerous research stakeholders, it now includes an additional fourth chapter that provides guidance for those who are called to evaluate DMPs.
I am proud that ANR was among the first organisations to implement Science Europe’s recommendations and that we succeeded to ensure its uptake at national level. I am confident that this extended second edition will prove to be even more useful than the first. With more and more research funding and performing organisations committed to improve data management, this resource will truly support the further alignment of RDM policies across Europe and beyond.
The research sector is undergoing an important paradigm shift towards Open Science and aims to make research outputs available for use and re-use by other researchers. Quality-assured research data are key for good knowledge creation. Responding to the need to make the research system at large more efficient in terms of using existing knowledge, data should be made available according to the FAIR principles, meaning that data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable. Instrumental initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) promote FAIR research data and will require sound institutional practices to ensure that data are shared in optimal conditions. It is therefore essential that the public research sector plays a leading role in establishing and implementing research data management (RDM) policies and practices for FAIR data.
Research funding organisations, research organisations,1 individual researchers, and reviewers have different needs and requirements from RDM policies and practices. This guide presents core requirements for data management plans (DMPs), criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories, guidance for researchers on how to comply with these requirements, and a DMP evaluation rubric to support DMP review. The guidelines provide organisations and research communities with a common basis from which they can develop their own RDM policies. They should be considered minimum requirements that can be amended to accommodate institutional or disciplinary policies and practices.
The content of this guide has been developed to support researchers in ensuring that data are FAIR, where appropriate. There may be legitimate reasons (including project-specific or privacy-related ones) to delay or restrict access, which calls for a balanced approach towards openness to research data. The guide even goes beyond ‘FAIRness’ on other aspects such as data storage, backup during the project, and long-term preservation.
This guide has been developed by experts from Science Europe’s Member Organisations, in consultation with stakeholders from the broader research community to take their diverse needs into account.3 It is intended to provide resources that are useful for all research funding organisations, research organisations, and researchers. It focuses on content-related questions and leaves flexibility for adaptation to organisational and disciplinary policies and procedures.
This guide is divided into four parts:
Research funding organisations, research organisations, and research communities are encouraged to use the core requirements for data management plans as a basis to set up their own DMP templates and the DMP evaluation rubric to review DMPs.
The guidance for researchers supports researchers in drafting and updating DMPs and managing their data throughout the research lifecycle. It also provides additional information for research organisations that aim to support their researchers in this endeavour.
For other actors in the research sector, this guide serves as a reference document on how a DMP should be structured and used.
The criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories and the respective guidance will help research funding organisations, research organisations, and individual researchers identify repositories for storing and sharing data.
The core requirements for DMPs and the criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories can be seen as two stand-alone documents and used independently. It is however recommended to take both into consideration when developing or amending institutional or discipline-specific policies in order to reach the best possible alignment among institutions.
Organisations wishing to adapt the guidance to their organisational or disciplinary policies can find templates for all parts of the guide in an adaptable format on the Science Europe website at http://scieur.org/rdm.
© Copyright Science Europe 2021.