Concordat on Open Research Data

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A Concordat on Open Research Data has been launched by HEFCE, RCUK, Universities UK and Wellcome Trust.


Word cloud drawn from Concordat text (

The concordat will:

"help to ensure that research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made openly available for use by others wherever possible; in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical, disciplinary and regulatory frameworks and norms, and with due regard to the costs involved."

The Concordat sets out ten principles including:

  • Importance of developing data skills
  • Importance of ensuring data underlying publications is accessible by publication date
  • Rights of data creators to reasonable first use
  • Expectations of data users to acknowledge use of others’ data

The Concordat was developed by a UK multi-stakeholder group and is described as "a set of expectations of best practice reflecting the needs of the research community."

10 principles

The Concordat sets out ten principles, enumerated below, and provides a page of detail on what each principle is aiming for or will mean in practice:

  1. Open access to research data is an enabler of high quality research, a facilitator of innovation and safeguards good research practice.
  2. There are sound reasons why the openness of research data may need to be restricted but any restrictions must be justified and justifiable.
  3. Open access to research data carries a significant cost, which should be respected by all parties.
  4. The right of the creators of research data to reasonable first use is recognised.
  5. Use of others’ data should always conform to legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks including appropriate acknowledgement.
  6. Good data management is fundamental to all stages of the research process and should be established at the outset.
  7. Data curation is vital to make data useful for others and for long-term preservation of data
  8. Data supporting publications should be accessible by the publication date and should be in a citeable form.
  9. Support for the development of appropriate data skills is recognised as a responsibility for all stakeholders.
  10. Regular reviews of progress towards open research data should be undertaken.

What's the context?

Existing principles and expectations

The Concordat builds on existing guidelines and policies in this area, including those from the signatories and working group. Examples include RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy and Guidance on best practice in the management of research data and the EPSRC policy framework on research data.


Support for the Concordat

The Concordat was supported by Jo Johnson, the Minister for Universities and Science, who wrote that:

This Concordat is a testament to the research community’s ability to build on [open research data] expertise and steer this fast developing policy.

The UK is on course to make all taxpayer-funded research publications available in an open access format. Open research data is the next step in achieving the UK’s open science ambitions. I see open access to research data as a fundamental good: combining research publications with their data will help drive transparency, improve co-operation and strengthen the UK’s position as a global science leader.

What do you think?

Get in touch to let your Research Data team know what you think about this new Concordat, ask questions or make suggestions:

email us,  phone: x4791, visit the Research Data support webpages or call in to the Library (4.10). We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in: NEWS


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