The Concordat on Open Research Data was officially launched on 28 July 2016. This document was developed by HEFCE, Research Councils UK (RCUK), Universities UK and the Wellcome Trust, with input from a wider range of organizations (including the University of Oxford) who supplied feedback on an earlier draft.
The Concordat aims to promote wider sharing and publication of research data, while also acknowledging that there are circumstances in which it will be appropriate to restrict access to data:
The intention of this Concordat is to establish sound principles which respect the needs of all parties. It is not the intention to mandate, codify or require specific activities, but to establish a set of expectations of good practice with the intention of increasing access to research data as the desired position for research for the public benefit.– Concordat on Open Research Data, introduction
- Open access to research data is an enabler of high quality research, a facilitator of innovation and safeguards good research practice.
- There are sound reasons why the openness of research data may need to be restricted but any restrictions must be justified and justifiable.
- Open access to research data carries a significant cost, which should be respected by all parties.
- The right of the creators of research data to reasonable first use is recognised.
- Use of others’ data should always conform to legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks including appropriate acknowledgement.
- Good data management is fundamental to all stages of the research process and should be established at the outset.
- Data curation is vital to make data useful for others and for long-term preservation of data.
- Data supporting publications should be accessible by the publication date and should be in a citeable form.
- Support for the development of appropriate data skills is recognised as a responsibility for all stakeholders.
- Regular reviews of progress towards open research data should be undertaken.
The full Concordat is available from the HEFCE website.