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Support and advice to make your work discoverable, and guide you through submitting articles and data for inclusion in the next REF.

Five steps to managing your research outputs

1. Understanding funders’ expectations

Journal articles or conference proceedings with an ISSN

UK University performance is assessed and funding levels are determined by the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Under the REF open access policy (pdf 195kb), journal articles or conference proceedings are only eligible for inclusion if the author’s accepted and final peer-reviewed version has been lodged in an institutional repository (e.g. PUREUBIRAORA, AURA) or subject repository (e.g. arXiv) within three months of acceptance. This applies to all open access journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.

Other types of research output

All UK Research Council-funded research (RCUK) must be input into the ResearchFish database in order to comply with the terms of your project’s contract with the relevant funding body, and ensure they have information about your project achievements to report to central government, e.g. for the next Comprehensive Spending Review. Researchfish will automatically pass the information to the public search facility, Gateway to Research, increasing the impact of your research, particularly if you include a unique and persistent link such as a DOI and/or personal ORCID identifier.

If you enter a DOI, the system automatically adds all the required fields (e.g. authors, title, publication year).

Input to ResearchFish can be made at any time during a year, but your PI must authorise the entries during the Annual Submission Round by pressing the big red ‘submit’ button – this will submit all reports under that grant reference, which will then be made available via Gateway to Research.

Final versions of reports and articles funded by EU Horizon 2020 must be deposited in an institutional repository, subject repository or central repository (e.g. Zenodo) on publication.

Project data

RCUK have devised Common Principles on Data Policy covering the management of research outputs produced by research projects they fund. These push for data to be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner.

Each Council has slightly different data requirements for their own projects, as summarised by the Digital Curation Centre.

The EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data is based on two main principles:

  • publicly-funded research data should generally be made as widely and freely available as possible in a timely and responsible manner
  • the research process should not be damaged by the inappropriate release of such data.

EPSRC asks institutions to:

  • maintain and promote a research data policy
  • signpost the data on which published research papers are based
  • make metadata freely accessible, including information on any access restrictions
  • give third-party access to publicly funded research (unless there are exceptional circumstances)
  • preserve data for 10 years
  • practice data curation throughout their lifecycles.

EPSRC also asks institutions to ensure that its researchers:

  • include a short data access statement in their published research papers describing how to access and what terms cover any supporting data e.g. EPSRC’s Policy Framework on Research Data (pdf 132 KB), Expectation II
  • publish metadata within 12 months of the data being generated (Expectation V).

Other EPSRC expectations require a clear understanding of what data the research projects will create and who is responsible for looking after them. We recommend that projects write a data management plan to clarify your ideas.

Many university subject librarians are trained to guide researchers on open access and data management issues, so they may also be able to help.

2. What is my institution’s policy?

Research projects must find and understand their institution’s data policy – see the Digital Curation Centre. Authors benefit from having a consistently formatted publications list, and in the case of Oxford and Newcastle, their publication systems automatically transfer the information to the institutional repository for inclusion in the post-2014 REF.

Different universities use different systems, for example:

  • Oxford advises authors to enter their publications into a bibliographic database system, Symplectic Elements, for use by authors and the institution. Entries are then automatically loaded into the ORA institutional repository (see item 4).
  • Newcastle asks authors to enter publication information into the MyImpact system, which provides a record for staff and institutional use, but also feeds publicly accessible webpages, and an EPrints repository.
  • Other universities, e.g. Birmingham, use PURE as both a record of publications and a repository (see item 4).

If your publication is a journal article or conference proceeding with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), then submit the author’s final peer-reviewed version to your institution’s repository (e.g. PUREUBIRAORA, AURA, EPrints) or subject repository (e.g. arXiv) within three months of acceptance. This will make the work eligible for inclusion in the post-2014 REF, as required by UK HE funders open access policy (pdf, 195 KB). The policy applies to publications accepted after 1st April 2016.

As of April 2015, authors from multiple institutions must submit the article on their own institution’s open access repository in order to comply independently for the post-2014 REF. You should check that this does not contravene the journal’s publication conditions.

3. Who owns the data?

Data created in a research project is most likely owned by the funder – check your research contract to be certain. Include a ‘data access statement’ in the paper, to describe where and on what terms any supporting research data you have created can be found. Examples are available from the University of Bath.

The creator of any third-party data you use should be clearly identified, and your permission to their data should be set out in your own data license. You should also be clear about any restrictions imposed by, or costs involved in using that third-party data – these will both have an impact on the usability and accessibility of your data for other researchers or stakeholders.

The creator may be:

  • an individual researcher
  • a group of researchers
  • the project itself where many people are involved in citizen science, e.g.

Creators should be credited when someone uses their work.

The publisher is the body that makes the data available, such as the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC).

Data linked to an individual is covered by the Data Protection Act in the UK, as a result of a European directive. In practice, this means that researchers need an individuals’ consent to share data about them. University of Essex’s UK Data Archive includes a short section on data protection, legal and ethical issues (pdf, 3.1 MB).

It is also advisable to investigate safeguarding your Intellectual Property (IP) –Creative Commons have a very helpful summary specifically for science and research. The route you use will depend on the type of output you anticipate, from raw data to software.

4. Data management plans

EPSRC expects that data created with its funding will be archived for 10 years. Therefore, Data Management Plans (DMP) are an essential part of institutional and funding policy, and are much more effective if they’re implemented at the beginning of a project. DMPs help to increase discoverability of publicly funded research data, and to comply with Expectations II and V of EPSRC’s Policy Framework on Research Data (pdf 132 KB) (from 1 May 2015).

Be clear about what data you will use, what data you will create and who is responsible for looking after it.

Datasets can now be submitted to the REF, so having a plan will make it easier to create the access and citation information needed to do this.

It is also important to consider whether the model or model output uses data with license fees or commercial restrictions, which may affect how widely it can be used by the public sector, for example.

5. Dissemination and legacy

If your work demonstrates stakeholder engagement, is featured in trade or other grey literature or is aimed at policymakers, we may be able to feature it as part of our network activities:

We can help you achieve greater impact by promoting your work to the ARCC network of stakeholders and researchers. Email our communications manager, Tanya Wilkins to see how we can help.

Please note: we are unable to feature articles behind a paywall.

In addition to dissemination, we can assist with legacy through hosting information on our website. You can also ensure a project website is available for reference in the long-term by archiving it at the British Library’s UK Web Archive. This is a free service, and provides unrestricted access in perpetuity.

  • Fill in the nomination form on the British Library website
  • The Library will send a license form for you to complete, granting permission to archive the site
  • Web robots will then find, copy and publish the appropriate content into the UK Web Archive.