skip to content

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to staff and students as to how they should manage and share the research data they produce in order to maximise the potential for research produced by the Department of Chemistry. This policy framework is intended for researchers, research students and anyone who supports research at the Department of Chemistry


  1. The Department of Chemistry is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, it supports the principle that the results of its research should be freely accessible where possible and where appropriate, and therefore supports its staff and students in making their research data available ‘as open as possible and as closed as necessary’, as articulated in the University’s Open Research Position Statement.
  2. Department of Chemistry staff and students are responsible for managing and curating their research data in accordance with the University Open Research Position Statement, the  policies of their research funders, the University’s Research Policies, the University’s Research Integrity and Ethics guidelines, the University’s Statement of Records Management Practice and Retention Schedule and Chapter XIII of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances on Finance and Property, subsection Intellectual Property Rights. Key aspects of these documents are incorporated into this policy framework.
  3. The following terms used in this policy are defined as follows:

Research data – “the evidence that underpins the answer to the research question, and can be used to validate findings regardless of its format (e.g., print, digital, or physical). These might be quantitative information or qualitative statements collected by researchers [staff, students or those supporting research] in the course of their work by experimentation, observation, modelling, interview or other methods, or information derived from existing evidence. Data may be raw or primary (e.g. direct from measurement or collection) or derived from primary data for subsequent analysis or interpretation (e.g. cleaned up or as an extract from a larger data set), or derived from existing sources where the rights may be held by others.[1]

Manual research records  manual research records are any non-electronic documents and materials, regardless of format, which facilitate the research activities carried out by the Department of Chemistry. This can include both the data underpinning research as well as records relating to research quality, standards and governance; research project development and management; and research commercialization. See section 4 of the Statement of Records Management Practice and Master Records Retention Schedule for details of the specific kinds of records which fall under these categories along with their respective retention periods.

Research staff and students - research staff are individuals undertaking academic research either in direct employment of the Department of Chemistry or under formal agreement with the Department of Chemistry in another capacity (e.g. retired staff) regardless of where that research is taking place, whether in Cambridge or elsewhere; research students are individuals who are undertaking academic research at the Department of Chemistry in pursuit of a postgraduate degree or other award.

Active data – “Research data files that are in the process of continuous change and/or development. Files containing this data are accessed, amended and/or updated as new data is gathered and/or processed. Some datasets may never be ‘finished’. A ‘snapshot’ of active research data can be archived to create a version that is fixed and can be cited.”[2]

Data Management Plan – a plan that outlines how data will be managed from the point of collection at the start of a research project all the way through to what will happen to the data once the project finishes. Typically a data management plan (DMP) will cover areas such as collection strategy, backup and storage of data, ethical/legal requirements related to data, data sharing and data archiving.

Metadata – information that describes significant aspects of a dataset. For example, this may include authors, title, date of publication, unique identifier, a description of what the dataset contains and licence. This provides other researchers with the information needed to understand and reuse the dataset as well as making the dataset more findable.



  1. Reproducibility of research is a central tenet of the Department of Chemistry, and all researchers are expected to conduct their work in a rigorous manner.
  2. The Department of Chemistry recognises the importance of the long-term availability, with as few restrictions as possible, and long-term preservation of all research outputs including research data.
  3. As detailed in the University’s Open Research Position Statement, the Department of Chemistry is committed to implementing procedures that are discipline-appropriate, proportionate, evidence-based, practical, cost-effective and sustainable, and in the best interests of enhancing its mission, in order to disseminate research and scholarship as widely as possible from research publications to all forms of research data.
  4. The Department of Chemistry is committed to achieving compliance with the data policies of its external research sponsors, publishers and governmental agencies, and requires its research staff and students to abide by terms and conditions agreed with third parties. The Department of Chemistry also recognises that such third parties’ policies are evolving and that they may require higher levels of data accessibility and dissemination in the future.
  5. As detailed in the Open Research Position Statement the Department of Chemistry recognises that “[a]cross the disciplinary spectrum there are a wide range of cultural settings that influence both capacity for and appropriateness of fully Open Research“ and it “encourages outputs of research, and where appropriate the accompanying data, to be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.”.
  6. The Department of Chemistry recognises that there is a balance between openness and duties under professional codes and legal obligations.
  7. This policy framework applies to all research conducted by Department of Chemistry staff and research students.
  8. The Department of Chemistry supports the Concordat on Open Data and works in line with the FAIR principles.  

The Department of Chemistry is responsible for:

  1. Disseminating information amongst its academics about the requirements under this policy framework and under policies of the Department of Chemistry’s funders in relation to research data. Schools, Departments and Faculties are expected to be proactive in disseminating these requirements within their communities and encouraging and facilitating compliance.
  2. Developing and supporting infrastructure and services that enable good research data management to be practised across the institution.  This includes, but is not limited to, infrastructure such as active data storage options, the University Apollo repository, the research information system, and services such as the Office of Scholarly CommunicationCambridge University LibrariesUniversity Information ServicesResearch Office and Cambridge Enterprise.
  3. Providing training and guidance to promote best practice in data management and sharing amongst its research staff and students.
  4. Providing advice and guidance on issues connected with good data management, such as data protection, research integrity, research ethics and Intellectual Property rights.
  5. Note that the Department of Chemistry manages a website providing guidance for the Department of Chemistry’s academics in good data management practice, including the use of electronic lab notebooks.


Department of Chemistry Research Staff & Students are responsible for:


  1. Principal Investigator(s) should establish and maintain clear research data management responsibilities within their research group to ensure good data management is practised throughout the project and by all group members. In the case of collaborative projects, the Principal Investigators must jointly agree how data is managed and maintained, sometimes across different institutions.
  2. Preparing a Data Management Plan (whether as a research group or individual), in accordance with guidance provided by this document, and the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). If funders require a Data Management Plan, such plan needs to be prepared according to funders’ requirements and should also be updated at project close to record how data has been managed, archived and, where appropriate, shared. This is good practice for all projects.
  3. Ensuring that legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data are considered at the initiation of the research process and throughout both the research and data life cycles.
  4. Allocating appropriate resources (time and financial resources) for data management in their grant proposal and throughout the duration of the project and at its close.
  5. Updating their Data Management Plans throughout the duration of their project, and to ensure that at the end of the project all their research outputs, together with their location, are indicated in their Data Management Plans. These updates are a requirement of many funders.
  6. Depositing their final Data Management Plans into an appropriate repository (discipline-based or institutional).
  7. In collaborative projects, agreeing on IP and data ownership matters from the outset and ensuring these are made in alignment of institutional agreements, with legal advice where appropriate.


  1. Abiding by any legal and ethical constraints pertaining to how data is stored, shared and retained.
  2. Storing their data in an appropriate location, with an appropriate back-up plan to meet the needs of the research being undertaken.
  3. Ensuring the proper management of physical data/samples as well as digital data in line with local rules, funder and government requirements.
  4. Ensuring that proper data citation guidelines are followed when reusing or referencing datasets.
  5. Ensuring that wherever it is an eligible cost, appropriate funds must be fully costed onto research applications to meet all data management requirements, including the cost of archiving and sharing data.


  1. Making their research data underpinning published research findings as widely and openly available as possible, ideally by depositing research data in appropriate repositories (discipline-based or institutional). Such data should be assigned persistent Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to increase its findability in accordance with the FAIR principles.
  2. Providing a statement in research articles describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed (or a statement that all data is contained within the article, if there is no supporting research data). Supporting data should be accessible online no later than the first online publication of the article.
  3. Ensuring that published research data has appropriate metadata description in accordance with guidance provided by the Department of Chemistry.
  4. Ensuring that research data records are retained in appropriate repositories (discipline-based or institutional) for as long as the data are valuable to the data creator or to others, or for as long as is required by the funder or by other regulatory requirements. If data is not publicly shared, researchers should ensure it is kept safely in line with funder retention policies and to ensure the data can be produced to demonstrate research integrity if needed. Research records that do not fall under the category of research data should be handled in line with funder policies and the University Statement of Records Management Practice and Master Records Retention Schedule (Section 4).
  5. When depositing research data into external data repositories, considering data repositories which support Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID), funder IDs and grant IDs.
  6. Storing publicly-funded research data that is not generated in a digital format in a manner to facilitate it being shared.
  7. Upholding the Department of Chemistry principles in rigorous, reproducible research that is persistently available by using, wherever possible, open source formats for files and file type recommended for long term preservation.


Advice, guidance and training to meet the expectations set out in this framework are available through the University’s Research Data Service and with the support of local Research Data Champions in faculties and departments.


  1. Ensure GDPR principles are followed for retention of data. Care must be taken over storage, management and deletion of any personally identifiable information. A plan is required to ensure such information is deleted when no longer required.
  2. Store data that can’t easily be regenerated on Department of Chemistry servers.
  3. Do not store data on individual desktop or laptop systems, usb sticks, usb attached drives or similar.
  4. Care must be taken to ensure data intended to be retained is not stored (either accidentally or intentionally) on ‘scratch’ areas that are only provided for temporary use.
  5. Ensure backup, replication and ‘snapshotting’ of data meets the needs of being able to recover data.



1. Definition taken from UK Concordat on Open Data

2. Definition taken from Cambridge University Libraries Digital Preservation Policy


Reviewed 4th May 2023

System status 

System monitoring page

Can't find what you're looking for?

Then you might find our A-Z site index useful. Or, you can search the site using the box at the top of the page, or by clicking here.