Leeds University Library

Policy Timeline


Our Research Data Management Policy and support guidelines are evolving; we welcome any comments and feedback.

Sept 2012

Second wave of publicity for the Research Data Survey.

July 2012

Final Research Data Management policy wording agreed.

Final version of the University of Leeds Research Data Management policy.

Policy 'soft launched' in conjunction with publicity for the University's Research Data Survey.

June 2012

Rewording of point 4 discussed by the Research Data Steering Group but it was felt the wording needed to be more generic - why refer to some specific pieces of legislation and not others?

Suggested rewording of point 4:
Data Management plans should take account of and ensure compliance with relevant legislative frameworks including Data Protection, IPR and Human Rights Act.

Final agreed rewording of point 4:
Data management plans should take account of and ensure compliance with relevant legislative frameworks which may limit public access to the data (for example, in the areas of data protection, intellectual property and human rights).

May 2012

The draft RDM Policy was proposed to Senate by the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (who is also Chair of the Research Data Steering Group). The policy was presented in the context of the compliance environment (particularly EPSRC) and the emerging roles of the Research Data Working and Steering Groups and the RoaDMaP project. The influence of Edinburgh's policy was acknowledged.

Draft policy as presented to Senate May 2012 (PDF download).

The policy was supported pending rewording to clarify that the policy does not conflict with observance of data protection and ethical requirements.

April 2012

The draft RDM policy was taken to University's Research and Innovation Board. Minor amendments were made to the policy. One concern was that the policy wording implied the data management plan needed to be included as part of every research bid - what about word count restrictions, is it really necessary for every bid?

The contentious wording was "All research proposals must include research data management plans". This policy point was rewritten to clarify that a data management plan is required as part of the research proposal process but won't necessarily be submitted:

"A data management plan that explicitly addresses the capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, preservation, sharing and publication of research data must be created for each proposed research project or funding application."

It's likely a supporting guidance note will be needed to clarify standard practice.

March 2012

The Research Data Steering Group approved some minor changes to the draft RDM Policy:

  • the order of Policy points was changed so that a point addressing the responsibility of the researcher is immediately followed by the point addressing responsibility of the institution - to emphasise that RDM is a partnership and that researchers will be supported to implement the RDM Policy
  • there were some minor changes to terminology: in particular, the use of the term PI was felt to be too narrow and was replaced with the more generic term 'responsible owner' (of the data)

Feb 2012

A reworded Research Data Management Policy draft was circulated to the nine Faculty Research and Innovation Committees (FRICs) at the University for comment. The Research Councils (UK) Common Principles on Data Policy was included as an Appendix.
Draft RDM policy as circulated to Faculty Research and Innovation Committees, February 2012. (PDF Download)

No substantial rewordings were suggested, but the FRICs raised a number of areas for clarification and/or inclusion in supporting guidelines. On the whole the policy reception was favourable with many committees recognising the need for, and value of, enhancing research data management.  Some of the issues and questions arising were:

  • will the policy apply to all projects regardless of scale and funding status?
  • what is 'research data' and should we define it?
  • what is metadata?
  • ownership of data - for example, where researchers move institution
  • concern about additional workload
  • what institutional support will be available to support policy implementation?
  • how will research data in different media be handled (audio-tape, paper)?
  • how should qualitative data be handled?
  • embargo options - the need to balance openness with competitive advantage
  • electronic lab notebooks - will the University encourage/require their use? How will paper lab notebooks be handled?
  • the word 'controls' in the original policy was ambiguous - the wording should clarify what is being referred to (e.g. grant conditions, Freedom of Information, data protection, IPR, ethical issues)
  • the term 'University' should be clarified so the policy scope is clearer (e.g. in the context of the University's relationship with the NHS)

Agreement was secured from the PVC for Research and Innovation to adopt an open approach to sharing our policy and guidelines - so long as any documents are clearly marked as drafts - to give us the best chance of creating an effective policy.

Dec 2011

The Research Data Steering Group endorsed the overall approach of a high level policy supported by a series of guidance notes.  The Group requested  that the long term benefits of RDM should be given a higher profile, in particular that research data will be available to future generations of researchers.

Example policy support notes - December 2011 (PDF Download): guidance notes will explain terms used in the Policy and link to further supporting material, for example implementation guides, other relevant internal and external policies, training opportunities. We will need to think carefully about content but also how the materials are presented - how do we link together the overarching policy, explanatory notes, supporting documents and more detailed guidance?

Autumn 2011

Several Research Data Management policies from other universities were reviewed. As an initial step, it was proposed to the Research Data Steering Group that a high level statement of principles, along the lines of s RDM Policy">Edinburgh's Research Data Management policy, should be adopted.

Summer 2011

EPSRC wrote to University Vice Chancellors about compliance with the EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data. This provided a strong driver for the formation of the University's Research Data Steering Group.

2010-11 Building capacity

The Leeds Building Capacity Project aimed to apply the outputs and outcomes from existing JISC projects, services and intelligence to enhance research, learning and teaching at Leeds. JISC artefacts were reviewed against Leeds' strategic priorities; research data management emerged as one of the key areas for the project. This project helped progress the Leeds RDM conversation and identified specific RDM-relevant JISC projects, services and resources that Leeds had a strong interest in investigating further. Specifically:

ADMIRAL (now DataFlow); DCC Checklist; DMPOnline; IDMB; INCREMENTAL/DataTrain; K-Blogs, MaDAM; MANTRA; SUDAMIH.


Leeds reviewed its research data risk assessment guidance. New forms and guidance notes were created which prompt grant applicants to consider funder data requirements, legal requirements, storage, backup, access and encryption arrangements. Bidders are encouraged to discuss their data requirements with Faculty IT staff. Revised procedures were introduced from 1st Jan 2010.


Leeds was one of the pilot case studies in the UK Research Data Service http://www.ukrds.ac.uk/ feasibility study. Leeds' contribution to the UKRDS study was invaluable to service staff and researchers alike. The UKRDS study brought together interested parties from across campus and led to an increased understanding for all involved of the wide-ranging issues surrounding data management.  The improved communication resulting from this work has meant that it has been relatively straightforward to identify case study material for the RoaDMaP Project as there are many interested parties who would like to take forward previous discussions in order to establish a Leeds framework which will guide and support research data planning and management.

(Reports from the UKRDS study are available online).