Q&A data management

Why does NWO consider access to raw research data to be important?

Access to raw research data is, for example, important for follow-up research, replication research and integrity research. NWO therefore asks researchers to think about which relevant data their research could yield before they carry out the research. Furthermore, NWO is of the opinion that data which emerges from publically funded research should be made freely available as much as possible. The basic principle is therefore complete access to all data. Due consideration is, however, given to issues such as privacy, public safety, ethical considerations or intellectual property rights. In specific cases limited access to data can be justified.

What does NWO understand the term data to mean?

NWO understands data to include all information that is obtained by means of publicly funded scientific research. It therefore concerns more than just digital data. It can also include the storage of biological material, soil samples, completed questionnaires and audio and video files. Scientists are free to indicate which data they consider suitable and useful use to store, make findable and make suitable for reuse. Not every study yields reusable data. NWO therefore only requests the storage of data that are relevant for reuse. NWO assumes that within the various disciplines there is a broadly supported view about which data are relevant to store or reuse.

May I include costs for data management in my grant application?

The costs for data management can be included in the proposal budget. NWO only requests the storage of data that are relevant for reuse. The costs are dependent on the quantity and type of data and the time that is required for producing metadata and documentation during the study. It also includes the cost of data storage (conversion and long-term storage and making the data available).

What does a data management section look like?

The data management section covers four short questions [link] about which relevant data the research can yield and how and where these will be stored for reuse. The primary purpose of including a data management section is to enhance the awareness of applicants. Therefore NWO does not include the data management section in the assessment made by the committee. Referees and selection committees of NWO can, however, issue advice about the data management section. Their input will be communicated to applicants as feedback. They can incorporate this feedback when drawing up their data management plan.

What does a data management plan look like?

The data management plan is a concrete elaboration of the data management section. The research data must be made findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). In the data management plan the researcher states which data will be generated, where this will be stored during the research, what is needed to collect the data and make it available, how the data will be made accessible and where the data can be found. For the data management plan, NWO uses a template that adheres as much as possible to the guidelines for data management from the European programme Horizon2020.

What does ‘sustainable storage’ of' data mean?

During the research, NWO's preference is for digital data to be stored in a safe place where it is accessible for others with the consent of the researcher. Once the research has been completed the data should preferably be archived at a national or international data repository. Confidential, privacy-sensitive or competition-sensitive data can require specific types of storage with limited access. Solely storing data on computers or external data carriers (USB sticks, CD, DVD or hard disks) is in general risky and can therefore, in principle, not be approved by NWO.