Research data management: Grant and institutional requirements

What are funders' requirements?

Public research funding organizations are placing an increasing emphasis on research data management policies and practices, both within Canada and internationally.

The Canadian Federal government has made a commitment to Open Science in its Open Government 2016-2018 plan, which outlines steps to make the science that supports policy decisions more transparent and accessible to the general public. 

Increasingly, funding agencies are requiring that prospective recipients will submit a plan for managing research data and that data will be shared following the conclusion of a research project.

Canadian grant agencies' requirements

On March 15, 2021, the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy was adopted and will be phased in over the next two years:  "... the agencies believe that research data collected through the use of public funds should be responsibly and securely managed and be, where ethical, legal and commercial obligations allow, available for reuse by others."

  • Institutional strategies: By March 1, 2023, research institutions subject to this requirement must post their RDM strategies and notify the agencies when they have done so.
  • Data management plans: By spring 2022, the agencies will identify an initial set of funding opportunities that will be subject to the data management plan requirement. Before this, the agencies will pilot the requirement in targeted funding opportunities.
  • Data deposit: After reviewing the institutional RDM strategies, and in line with the readiness of the Canadian research community, the agencies will phase in the deposit requirement.

For further information about the policy, see our page of Frequently Asked Questions.

Current policies:

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) requires that all "research data collected with the use of SSHRC funds must be preserved and made available for use by others within a reasonable period of time." SSHRC considers "a reasonable period" to be within two years of the completion of the research project for which the data was collected.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research similarly requires the deposit of non-sensitive data within 12 months of publication.

Projects funded by Genome Canada must share data and resources in a "timely fashion" with no restrictions, with appropriate exceptions.

Simon Fraser University:

Simon Fraser University is committed to making accessible and preserving the products of research with the broadest possible community, including other scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and the public at large. To this end, research data will be managed in accordance with the principles outlined in SFU's Research Data Management Strategy.

International funding agencies' requirements

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

While respecting research participant privacy and confidentiality, research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to be made as accessible as possible.

The NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing will take effect January 25, 2023 and will require NIH funded researchers to prospectively submit a plan outlining how scientific data will be managed and shared.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Data Management Plans are a requirement for all research grant proposals sent to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research requires award recipients and their host institutions to comply with ethical and research policies, including the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management.

Data produced that relates to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a result of funding must be shared in line with the Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

Horizon 2020 (Research funding in the European Commission)

Applicable research projects supported by Horizon 2020 (the Research Funding Instrument of the European Commission) will be asked to complete a data management plan describing how high levels of data transparency and access will be achieved.

The Wellcome Trust (UK)

Projects funded by the health research charity Wellcome Trust based in the United Kingdom require that research outputs (which include data) be made available in a timely and responsible way to maximize the benefit to society.  

Journal publishers' requirements

Instructions for authors or author guidelines often specify data sharing policies of each publication. Examples include Nature, Springer Nature, PLOS, and Wiley. These requirements typically include publishing all supporting datasets openly without restrictions when the article is published. A growing number of journal policies related to data and open science are being evaluated along specific Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines created by the Center for Open Science.