External funder policies

External research funders at home and abroad are increasingly adopting policies on Research Data Management (RDM). These introduce new requirements for researchers applying for and receiving funding.

For information about RDM requirements for research funded via Ghent University, see Ghent University's policy on RDM.

Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)

The FWO made RDM a key element in all of its support channels in 2018. Researchers are expected to pay due attention to the management of research data before, during and after research.

The requirements are introduced gradually:

  • From the application round 2018: for supervisors of fundamental and strategic basic research projects
  • From the application round December 2019: for postdoctoral fellows
  • From the application round March 2020: for predoctoral fellows

Applicants have to answer five questions in the ‘Data Management Plan’ section of the FWO application form.

The data management section is not an evaluation criterion. However, it is part of the application file sent to the evaluation panels and external referees. They may provide feedback or set additional requirements that researchers have to comply with.

A (re)Search tip is available with further guidance on completing the data management section in the FWO application form.

For approved applications, the answers to the five RDM questions in the application must be turned into a full Data Management Plan (DMP).

  • A first version of the DMP must be submitted to the host institution no later than 6 months after the official start date of the project or fellowship.
Ghent University researchers have to send a DMP to the Research Co-ordination Office via vlaams-federaal@ugent.be, even if Ghent University is not the main host institution. The FWO may request access to submitted DMPs for a random check.
  • A final, up-to-date version of the DMP must be appended to the final report on the completed research to be submitted to the FWO via its e-portal. It is part of the final evaluation of the project or fellowship by the competent expert panel.

Using the FWO’s standard template for drafting the DMP is mandatory. It is available to Ghent University researchers via the online planning tool DMPonline.be.

The FWO does not provide separate funds for storing data during research, nor for their preservation afterwards.

Researchers can use the existing operating budget, however, to cover the costs for data management. These expenses can be described in the 'consumables' section of the FWO application form.

The FWO expects research data to be preserved for a minimum of 5 years from the end of the research.

Regarding the sharing of research data, there are no hard requirements at this moment. In its General Regulations, the FWO advises researchers to deposit research data along with the publications they underpin in an ‘Open Access database’.

More information

Horizon 2020

The European Commission has launched a flexible pilot on open access to research data in Horizon 2020. The Open Research Data (ORD) Pilot aims to increase access to and reuse of research data generated by Horizon 2020 projects.

  • As of 2017, participation in the ORD Pilot - and therefore open access to research data - is the default option for all Horizon 2020 projects.
  • (Partial) opt-outs are possible at any stage (either before or after signing the grant). The Commission recognizes that there may be legitimate reasons why (subsets of) a project's research data cannot be made openly available. The key principle is ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary.
  • the FAIR principles are also part of the Horizon 2020 data management guidelines: research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

Participation in the ORD Pilot is not an evaluation criterion, so project proposals will not be penalized for opting out.

Proposals need to address RDM in the application, under the ‘Impact’ section (Measures to maximise impact). Applications should discuss the following issues:

  • What standards will be applied?
  • How will data be exploited and/or shared/made accessible for verification and reuse? If data cannot be made available, why?
  • How will data be curated and preserved?

The project's RDM policy also needs to reflect the current state of consortium agreements on data management, and be consistent with exploitation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) requirements.

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is required for all projects participating in the ORD Pilot. Projects opting out of the Pilot, however, are still encouraged to submit a DMP on a voluntary basis.

  • The first version of the DMP must be submitted as a deliverable within the first 6 months of the project. Proposals must include a deliverable for this initial DMP.
  • The DMP needs to be updated, offering more fine-grained information, as the project’s implementation progresses, and when significant changes arise. As a minimum, the DMP should be updated for the project's periodic evaluation. If no other periodic reviews are foreseen within the grant agreement, an update needs to be made in time for the final review at the latest.

Using the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 FAIR DMP template (inspired by the concept of FAIR data) is recommended, but voluntary. It is available to Ghent University researchers via the online planning tool DMPonline.be.

Proposals must ensure appropriate resource and budgetary planning for data management.

The costs for managing and providing access to research data are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the project, if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions specified in the grant agreement.

Participation in the ORD Pilot does not necessarily mean opening up all research data. Rather, access to data should be as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Participants are required to:

  • Deposit research data needed to validate published results in a data repository, and other curated and/or raw data as specified and within the deadlines laid down in the DMP.
  • Take measures, as far as possible, to enable third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate research data free of charge for any user (e.g. by attaching CC-BY or CC0 licenses).
  • Provide information via the chosen repository about the tools and instruments required to validate the results (e.g. specialised software or software code, algorithms and analysis protocols), and where possible, provide these tools and instruments themselves.

More information

European Research Council (ERC)

ERC projects funded under the Work Programmes 2017 and later participate by default in the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data (ORD) Pilot. Grantees can opt out at any time (either before or after signing the grant), however.

The RDM requirements are similar to those for Horizon 2020 projects, with FAIR data and access that is ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ as core principles.

The ERC does not specify any RDM requirements relating to grant proposals.

ERC grantees of projects participating in the ORD pilot are required to submit a Data Management Plan (DMP).

  • A first version of the DMP must be submitted within 6 months after the start of the grant.
  • The DMP should be updated and refined as the project evolves.

The ERC does not prescribe a specific format for DMPs, but using its own ERC DMP template is encouraged. It is available to Ghent University researchers via the online planning tool DMPonline.be.

The ERC does not provide additional funding for data management activities to grantees participating in the ORD Pilot.

However, costs relating to RDM and open access to research data are eligible for reimbursement, independent of participation in the ORD pilot, if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions specified in the grant agreement.

Participation in the ORD Pilot does not necessarily mean opening up all research data. Rather, access to data should be 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary'.

 Participants are required to:

  • Deposit research data needed to validate published results in a data repository, and other curated and/or raw data as specified and within the deadlines laid down in the DMP.
  • Take measures, as far as possible, to enable third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate research data free of charge for any user (e.g. by attaching CC-BY or CC0 licenses).
  • Provide information via the chosen repository about the tools and instruments required to validate the results (e.g. specialised software or software code, algorithms and analysis protocols), and where possible, provide these tools and instruments themselves.

More information

BELSPO

BELSPO introduced an Open Research Data (ORD) mandate in December 2019. It applies to digital (meta)data collected or created within research projects wholly or partially funded by BELSPO.

Access to research data should be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Researchers must submit a provisional Data Management Plan (DMP) as part of the grant application.

Proposals must comply with BELSPO’s guidelines on reusing existing data and collecting new data:

  • Making use of existing databases/collections whenever possible
  • Justifying why collecting new data is required and explaining how (if applicable)

Proposals must also clearly indicate when and in what format any data collected within the proposed research will be made accessible. They should specify which categories of users are likely to benefit from data access.

Data sharing is taken into account and rewarded in grant applications:

‘Indicators and measures for data sharing will be incorporated into institutional assessment and individual researcher evaluation processes, researcher recruitment, advancement and grant attribution at an equivalent level to bibliographic record.’ (BELSPO Open Research Data mandate)

Researchers have to:

  • Submit a provisional Data Management Plan (DMP) as part of the grant application.
  • Submit a completed DMP to the BELSPO programme administrator no later than 6 months after the project’s start date.
  • Include a final version of the DMP in the project’s final report submitted to the BELSPO programme administrator. The DMP is an element in the final project evaluation by the relevant expert panel.

 Using the BELSPO DMP template is recommended to draft the DMP. It is available to Ghent University researchers via the online planning tool DMPonline.be.

No information is currently available about whether and how any costs for research data management can be covered by BELSPO funding.

BELSPO expects researchers to:

  • Deposit the data needed to validate results in scientific publications and other raw/curated data specified in the DMP in a trusted data repository and/or data center, and make them available at the latest at the time of publication.
  • Provide open data in a format and under a license (e.g. CC0 or CC-BY) permitting ‘full redistribution and full reuse’.
  • Protect data as needed (e.g. for IP, privacy, or security reasons), in line with the ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ principle.
  • Link deposited datasets to their associated publications in Orfeo (BELSPO’s Open Access repository for publications).

More information