The ARC is committed to maximising the benefits from ARC-funded research, including by ensuring greater access to research data. Since 2007, the ARC has encouraged researchers to deposit data arising from research projects in publicly accessible repositories. The ARC’s position reflects an increased focus in Australian and international research policy and practice on open access to data generated through publicly funded research.

ARC data management requirement

Effective data management is an important part of ensuring open access to publicly funded research data. Data management planning from the beginning of a research project helps to outline how data will be collected, formatted, described, stored and shared throughout, and beyond, the project lifecycle.

Since February 2014, the ARC has required researchers to outline how they plan to manage research data arising from ARC-funded research. This requirement forms part of the application process for funding under the National Competitive Grants Program.

The requirement is consistent with the responsibilities outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007), which include the proper management of research data and primary materials by researchers, along with institutional policies addressing data ownership, storage, retention and “appropriate access…by the research community”.

The OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding (2007) also provide guidance on the management of data and primary materials. The ARC notes that Australia, as an OECD member, is expected (not legally bound) to implement these principles and guidelines.

The ARC’s requirement is designed to encourage researchers to consider the ways in which they can best manage, store, disseminate and reuse data. Researchers, in consultation with institutions, have a responsibility to consider the management and future potential of their research data, taking into account the particular approaches, standards and uses for data that may exist in different institutions, disciplines and research projects. Some institutions may have infrastructure and/or processes in place for storing, managing and sharing data – these are valuable resources that should be utilised.

The ARC does not require full, detailed data management plans (such as those required by some funding agencies internationally) and does not mandate open access to data.

Further resources

A range of resources, including information and guides on the elements of data management and data management planning, can be found on the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) website. ANDS also offers assistance to institutions in relation to ARC and NHMRC data management requirements.