Meeting the Data Management Compliance Challenge: Funder Expectations and Institutional Reality

Catherine Pink


In common with many global research funding agencies, in 2011 the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) published its Policy Framework on Research Data along with a mandate that institutions be fully compliant with the policy by May 2015. The University of Bath has a strong applied science and engineering research focus and, as such, the EPSRC is a major funder of the university’s research. In this paper, the Jisc-funded Research360 project shares its experience in developing the infrastructure required to enable a research-intensive institution to achieve full compliance with a particular funder’s policy, in such a way as to support the varied data management needs of both the University of Bath and its external stakeholders. A key feature of the Research360 project was to ensure that after the project’s completion in summer 2013 the newly developed data management infrastructure would be maintained up to and beyond the EPSRC’s 2015 deadline. Central to these plans was the ‘University of Bath Roadmap for EPSRC’, which was identified as an exemplar response by the EPSRC. This paper explores how a roadmap designed to meet a single funder’s requirements can be compatible with the strategic goals of an institution. Also discussed is how the project worked with Charles Beagrie Ltd to develop a supporting business case, thus ensuring implementation of these long-term objectives. This paper describes how two new data management roles, the Institutional Data Scientist and Technical Data Coordinator, have contributed to delivery of the Research360 project and the importance of these new types of cross-institutional roles for embedding a new data management infrastructure within an institution. Finally, the experience of developing a new institutional data policy is shared. This policy represents a particular example of the need to reconcile a funder’s expectations with the needs of individual researchers and their collaborators.

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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.