We all know that research at Oxford generates publications, but increasingly the underlying data is becoming a crucial research output as well. Keeping and sharing research data helps demonstrate reproducibility, it enables data science and it enhances our academic profile via the rising importance of data journals. Oxford has been at the forefront of thinking in this area for many years, and adopted one of the UK's first institutional research data management policies back in 2012.
IT Services and Libraries worked closely with Research Services to help them draft that first policy, and again over 2017-18 we have worked with our colleagues around the University to update the policy and fit it to the rapidly changing world of research data management and sharing. Staff from our Research Support Service – aided by our fantastic intern Marcella Meehan – reviewed the policy alongside other University policies that had been published since 2012. We also interviewed twenty Oxford researchers and administrators to see how the policy could be clearer and easier to fulfil. As in 2012, we worked with the Libraries and Research Services to draft the new policy and navigate it through a series of University committees. Finally in early December 2018, just in time for Christmas, the Research and Innovation Committee approved the new Policy on the Management of Data supporting Research Outputs.
Rowan Wilson, Team Leader of the Research Support Service said: "This new policy clearly lays out what researchers need to do to manage their data well, and it commits the University to providing the support, training and infrastructure that they need to do it. I think it's an important tool in helping to preserve and share the results of Oxford's world-class research."