EPSRC support for Open Data

EPSRC has implemented a policy framework from 1st May that directly speaks to the development of Open Data systems. The announcement highlights two principles:

” . . . firstly, that publicly funded research data should generally be made as widely and freely available as possible in a timely and responsible manner; and, secondly, that the research process should not be damaged by the inappropriate release of such data.”

There are seven key principles in all, which includes a phrase relating to impact:

“Sharing research data is an important contributor to the impact of publicly funded research . . . ”

Organisations have as much a part to play as the individual researcher. The EPSRC expects that:

“Research organisations will ensure that appropriately structured metadata describing the research data they hold is published (normally within 12 months of the data being generated) and made freely accessible on the internet; in each case the metadata must be sufficient to allow others to understand what research data exists, why, when and how it was generated, and how to access it. . .  ”

Other expectations address an organisation’s responsibilities for digital curation, security and resourcing.

This goes to support the development of the more general Open Scholarship agenda and is another reminder that Open Access is about far more than a digital free-to-use library of off-prints.  Will the other research councils follow suit?