Framework Conditions


Research Data Policies

"Data Policies" are guidelines for handling scientific data. They are formulated by research funding institutions, scientific councils, and publishing houses, and are becoming increasingly important.

Data Policies prioritize

  • Secure storage
  • Sustainable archival
  • Publication
  • Persistent identification and citability of resarch data
  • Research transparency, particularly the replicability and controllability

Guidelines of the RWTH, Publishers and Sponsors of Science

RWTH Aachen 2011: "Principles for Ensuring Good Scientific Practice at RWTH Aachen"

Based on the corresponding DFG guidelines, RWTH recently adopted principles for ensuring good scientific practice and published them as an official announcement.

Section 5 "Securing and Storing Primary Data" discusses how to handle resarch data:

"As the foundation for publications, primary data must be stored for ten years in sustainable and secure repositories at the institution where it was collected. Compounds, with which primary data was attained, should be stored for the same period whenever possible."

RWTH, 2011, PDF

German Rectors' Conference: How university management can guide the development of research data management. Orientation paths, options for action and scenarios

"In this recommendation, the many-layered developments and challenges are discussed in the form of practical directions for action from an organisational point of view. This will be the first time that university management has been provided with a concrete guideline for developing RDM at their own institutions and within alliances."

(German Rectors' Conference, 2015 "How university management can guide the development of research data management.")


Nature: "Editorial and Publishing Policies"

"Sharing data sets: A condition of publication in Scientific Reports is that authors are required to make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to others without preconditions.

Data sets must be made freely available to readers from the date of publication, and must be provided to Editorial Board Members and peer-reviewers at submission, for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript.[...]"

(NATURE: Editorial and publishing policies)

German Research Foundation (DFG) 2009: Recommondations for Secure Archival and Provision of Digital Primary Research Data

"The 7 individual recommendations:

Primary research data is data that originated over the course of basic research, experiments, measurements, surveys, or polls. They form the foundation of scientific publications. [...]

An organization strategy specific to the discipline must be created to regulate sustainable storage of the data. [...]

The research data must be stored in accordance with defined standards. [...]

The data is personally tagged and saved under the researcher's name. [...]

Every researcher makes their primary data widely available for free wherever possible. [...]

The data is described by metadata. [...]

The data has been reviewed for its quality. [...]"

(DFG, 2009, PDF)

German Research Foundation (DFG) 2014: Handbook for Submittors- Promoting the Security, Storage, and Sustainable Availability of Research Data

German Council of Science and Humanities (WR) 2012: "Recommendations for the Further Development of Scientific Information Infrastructures in Germany till 2020"

The WR recommends the following when handling research data:

  • Creation of guidelines for data management and conventions for establishing metadata
  • The publication of research data must be recognized as independent research performance (Open Access, citability: PI/DOI)
  • Longterm access to research data, meaning the establishment of research data and data service centers with archival functions at universities, archives, or research institutions. Centers should assume the advising and training of users
  • Assurance of longterm archival (Nestor)
  • Creation of criteria and guidelines for archiving research data
  • Personnel and equipment funds for the creation of metadata should be included in plans as a fixed component of scientific research processes.

(WR, 2012, PDF)

German Initiative for Network Information (DINI) - "Electronic Publishing" Working Group: "Position Paper on Research Data" (2009)

The "Position Paper on Research Data" highlights five core topics from an interdisciplinary perspective:

  • Disciplinarity
  • Organization
  • Access
  • Quality
  • Technology

The positions include the promotion of open access to research data and a call to always handle research data appropriately based on the discipline.

(DINI, 2009, PDF)

Alliance of Science Organisations (2010): Principles of Handling Research Data

The guidelines were published within the framework of the "Digital Information" initiative and discuss the following topics:

  • Protection and accessibility
  • Differences among scientific disciplines
  • Scientific recognition
  • Teaching and qualification
  • Use of standards
  • Development of infrastructures

Focus is placed on the necessary quality assurance of and open access to research data.

(Allianz-Initiative, 2010, PDF)

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 2007: "Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding"

The OECD formulates thirteen principles and Guidelines (e.h.: openness, flexibility, legal conformity, protection of intellectual property). The guidelines can be applied globally and aim first and foremost for an improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of the international science system.

"These (Principles and Guidelines) [...] provide broad policy recommendations to the governmental science policy and funding bodies of member countries on access to research data from public funding. They are intended to promote data access and sharing among researchers, research institutions, and national research agencies [...]."

(OECD, 2007, p. 13, PDF)

European Union (EU) 2013: "Guidelines on Data Management" and "Open Research Data Pilot" in Horizon 2020

The European Commission published guidelines on data management in Horizon 2020 and introduced the open resarch data pilot, which applies to seven research fields. According to the pilot, granted projects must fulfill additional requirements, e.g. like creating a data management plan for the research project and making research data openly accessible in suitable repositories.

(EU, 2013, Guidelines on Data Management)

(EU, 2013, Open Research Data Pilot)

National Science Foundation (NSF), 2011

As of 2011, all NSF project proposals must contain a so called "Data Management Plan" (DMP). The submittor describes which measures were taken for the documentation/publication/archival of the generated data in this plan.

"Proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011, must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan". This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results."

(NSF, 2011: Data Management Plan Requirements)