ESRC Research Data Policy

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognises publicly-funded research data as "valuable, long-term resources that, where practical, must be made available for secondary scientific research."

The ESRC updated its Research Data Policy in March 2015. The updated policy is underpinned by nine new principles, which are aligned with the Research Councils UK Common Principles on Data Policy.

A summary of the main ESRC requirements for:

Data management plans

ESRC applicants who plan to generate data from their research must submit a data management and sharing plan as part of the grant application process. If data sharing is not possible, a strong argument must be presented to justify your case. The Policy (under ‘Responsibilities of ESRC grant applicants’) summarises the topics that plans should cover.

ESRC grant applicants must also include “a statement on data sharing in the relevant section of the Je-S form”.

Help with costs

ESRC will provide appropriate funding for data management where costs of implementation have been included in the data management plan.

Data deposit and retention

Research data created or re-purposed during an ESRC-funded project must be made available for re-use or archiving within three months of the end of the grant. The ESRC UK Data Service is the approved data repository for ESRC-funded research. See the ESRC guidance Submit datasets if you have funding from ESRC

ESRC does not specify how long data needs to be kept. If you submit data to the UK Data Service it will be kept for the long term.

Data access and sharing

The ESRC strongly advocates further re-use of data, whilst also recognising that some research data are more sensitive than others. It is the responsibility of “the grant holder to consider all issues related to confidentiality, ethics, security and copyright before initiating the research”.

Data access statements

The ESRC's Policy requires that "published results shall always include information on how to access the supporting data and/or the associated metadata." See our guidance on Data access statements: Sharing, preserving and depositing your data: Data citation.


The Policy but does not apply to holders of ESRC-funded postgraduate studentships. Nevertheless, ESRC-funded students are strongly encouraged to offer copies of data created or repurposed during their PhD. The Postgraduate Funding Guide provides further information.

Further sources of help

Write a DMP for the ESRC using DMPonline

DMPonline, a web-based tool provided by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), can help you create an effective DMP that meets the requirements set by the ESRC.

To get started, first create an account, then sign in with your institutional credentials. After signing in, click on ‘Create a plan’ and select ‘Economic and Social Research Council’ when asked for your funder. For additional guidance in completing your DMP, choose to see guidance from the University of York and from the DCC in the template provided.