Data planning guidance

Funding bodies are increasingly aware of the importance of the data that result from the research that they fund, as it is often irreplaceable, unique and extremely expensive to collect. As a NERC Environmental Data Centre, the UK Polar Data Centre (PDC) supports all aspects of data management for those involved in grant-funded research.

As of 1 April 2014, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) exists between NERC and its Environmental Data Centres, specifying the services that the Data Centre will provide in support of the grant. This is to ensure the Data Centre and the grant holder are compliant with NERC Data Policy, which outlines the responsibilities of all those involved in collecting and managing environmental data.

For no cost to the proposal, the PDC will support researchers and:

  • Provide data management advice at all stages of the grant process
  • Develop a full Data Management Plan (DMP) in collaboration with the Principal Investigator(s)
  • Facilitate the transfer and deposit of data of long-term value to the PDC
  • Issue Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
  • Ensure the long-term preservation of data

After an agreed embargo period, your data will be accessible via our Discovery Metadata System, which ensures the datasets are secure, discoverable and available for future re-use. Data is supplied to users under the Open Government Licence, which specifies the conditions of use.

Data management plans

An Outline Data Management Plan (DMP) is required in all NERC grant applications. This should be no more than a single page, briefly list the datasets the project will produce, and specify if the total volume of data is likely to be larger than 1TB. Visit the Data Management Planning page on NERC’s website for an Outline DMP template and the associated guidance notes.

For successful proposals, the outline will be used by the PDC to produce a full DMP in collaboration with the Principal Investigator(s). This includes information on responsibilities for data, data security, back-up, metadata requirements, and more detailed information on the expected datasets. If you are a NERC-funded researcher, you should hear from our Data Coordinator within the first three months of your grant starting. They will liaise with you to help you through the data management process, starting with creating the DMP. This is an active document which will be revised throughout the life of your grant.

An example of a best-practice DMP can be viewed here.

Additional services

Other additional services will need to be costed into the grant proposal as they are not covered by the SLA. These include:

  • Supporting acquisition of data (i.e. a data manager on a marine cruise)
  • Supporting the data component of the design and build of scientific instruments
  • Bespoke data visualisation or data analysis work
  • Extensive data processing activities.

If your NERC grant is complete

If you have already completed your NERC-funded research and are yet to deposit the data to the UK PDC, please contact with ‘Data Deposit’ and the grant reference in the subject, and we’ll contact you to arrange the transfer.