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Greg Laughlin, ANDS Principal Policy Adviser

In the previous edition of Share I reported on the contribution ANDS made to the review of the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, as well as an associated guide on data management. Our contributions were finalised in late August this year.

A comprehensive consultation and review process of the new Code and a number of associated guides is currently underway. The new principles-based Code and its first guide on managing breaches are expected to be released in 2018.

Other guides including the proposed guide on research data management have been flagged and would follow a similar consultation and review process.

New policy from Wellcome Trust

In July 2017, the Wellcome Trust released its new policy on sharing research data. Paraphrasing, the main changes are focused on expanding the definition of data outputs to include software and research materials, such as antibodies, cell lines or reagents. Beyond that, the Trust expects researchers to consider all research materials for any outputs which may be of value for validation as well as for other research(ers). The new policy is very succinct and functionally related to the UK Concordat on Open Research Data.

It also recommends the FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) be applied to data outputs. The Wellcome Trust has taken a broad approach to their data sharing policy, including explicit recognition of incentives and costs:

  • The new policy has firm wording on expectations: “As a minimum, the data underpinning research papers should be made available to other researchers at the time of publication, as well as any original software that is required to view datasets or to replicate analyses.”
  • It goes beyond ‘encouraging’ researchers to develop a plan for their data outputs. They write: “We will review this plan when making our funding decision. We will fund any justified costs for delivering the plan as part of funding the research.”
  • The incentive to share is firmly embedded too: “We recognise and value a range of research outputs – including inventions, datasets, software and materials, as well as publications – in assessing the track record of researchers.”