NERC Data Policy

The Policy ensures the continuing availability of environmental data of long-term value for research, teaching, and for wider exploitation for the public good, by individuals, government, business and other organisations; and to:

  • support the integrity, transparency and openness of the research it supports
  • help in the formal publication of datasets, as well as enabling the tracking of their usage to be tracked through citation and data licences
  • meet relevant legislation and government guidance on the management and distribution of environmental information.

The Natural Environment Research Council "has a well-established Data Policy that sets the ground rules that all those funded by NERC must follow in managing the data that they collect".

A summary of the main NERC requirements for:

Data management plans

All applications for NERC funding must include a one-page outline data management plan. A fuller data management plan, written in collaboration with the NERC data centres, must be provided to NERC within three months of the project’s starting date.

Help with costs

Applications for NERC funding must identify all resources needed to implement the data management plan.

Data deposit and retention

All environmental data of long-term value generated through NERC-funded activities must be offered for deposit with one of the NERC data centres, and in a timely manner. Criteria to identify datasets with long-term value can be found in NERC’s Data Value Checklist.

Data should be offered for deposit as soon after the end of data collection as is possible. Researchers have ‘right of first use’ to their data but this is normally restricted to two years from the end of data collection.

NERC expect data (and research materials) that underpin published findings to be preserved and accessible for a minimum of 10 years after completion of the research. However, for projects of major importance, this may need to be 20 years or longer.

Data access and sharing

The aim is that all NERC-funded data are managed and made “openly available for others to use” without any restrictions via one of the NERC data centres.

Data access statements

The NERC data policy explicitly requires that “all research publications arising from NERC funding must include a statement on how the supporting data and any other relevant research materials can be accessed”. See our guidance on Data access statements: Sharing, preserving and depositing your data: Data citation.


Those funded by NERC who do not meet the Policy requirements “risk having award payments withheld or becoming ineligible for future funding from NERC”.

Further sources of help

Write a DMP for the NERC 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 NERC.

To get started, first create an account, then sign in with your institutional credentials. After signing in, click on ‘Create a plan’ and select ‘Natural Environment 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.