Data Sharing Policy


This policy is consistent with the MRC Policy on Data Sharing (v2.2) and the UK Research and Innovation Common principles on data Policy.

The Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC BNDU) receives funding from the Medical Research Council, UK (MRC), a part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). As a publicly-funded research institute, we have a responsibility to ensure the best use and re-use of the data we generate.

Data that are generated in the Unit will be shared via the MRC BNDU Data Sharing Platform or open repositories, unless due to size or statutory restrictions this is not possible.

This policy was last revised on 9 February 2023.

Publications from the MRC BNDU will describe how to request the data generated by the Unit, and in cases where data has been generated externally, will state the name of the organisation that provided it. The Unit’s Data Sharing Platform contains publicly-viewable metadata for all datasets. This will include the data formats, key details of how they were acquired and descriptions of file naming rules followed. Also described will be conditions required before access will be granted, how the decision to grant access will be made, and how long a decision should take. The Data Sharing Platform page for each dataset also details the license and terms of use specific to that dataset.

When a dataset is cited, it will be found on the Data Sharing Platform either via a direct URL in the citation, or via a DOI issued by the Bodleian Library. The DOI will resolve to an ORA-Data page, which in turn hyperlinks to the Data Sharing Platform. For publications where the data will be available for sharing at the time of publication, the DOI or Data Sharing Platform URL will be prepared and cited with this in the original publication.

ORA-data is indexed by the JISC UK Research Data Discovery Service, increasing discoverability for data deposited there, and for the Data Sharing Platform datasets that have cataloguing-only entries in ORA-data for DOI allocation purposes.

The publications presented on the MRC BNDU web site include links to source datasets in the Data Sharing Platform.

Data submitted to open repositories will be searchable by metadata.

Data deposited in a community repository will in most cases lead to data being available to everyone who requests it (ORA-Data, ModelDB).  Data shared from the MRC BNDU Data Sharing Platform requires users to register for an account to download datasets. Account creation does not require approval. The majority of datasets are available for all users with an account, but some may require an access request be made to the dataset’s manager (typically the programme leader of the group that generated it). This request will be assessed against the conditions for access (stated on the dataset page), that were agreed upon by the Unit’s ISF & DA Committee. In the case of a rejection of an application, the dataset manager will email the requester explaining how the conditions were not met, and offering an opportunity to refine the request or to appeal the decision. An appeal would be considered by the Unit’s Information Security Forum & Data Access Committee, with input from the dataset manager and Programme Leader concerned, but neither would have a deciding vote in the appeal.

The MRC BNDU does not set a defined period of exclusivity to any of our datasets after first publication. Instead, when sharing a data set would reduce the impact of ongoing research, sharing will only be considered for collaborations covered by a Data Transfer Agreement. This might include a clause that the MRC BNDU researchers would have to approve the final manuscript to which their data contributed before submission. This ensures that data reuse occurs without delay, but that the external users wouldn’t use it for purposes that would reduce the novelty of ongoing MRC BNDU research. Applications for access to data sets under terms of a collaboration would come via the same routes as other data sets, from an email address in a data availability statement on the original publication, or via the Data Sharing Platform, where the conditions under which access will be granted will be clearly stated.

If funding for a programme is discontinued at some point in the future, data sets that have been generated, but not shared via the Data Sharing Platform or repository, will be assessed by the Data Access Committee.  If the Committee judge that data will not to contribute a publication by the originators, it will be deposited into open community repositories.

The following steps are taken to reduce delays to sharing:

·        Where possible, initial patient consent forms will include permission to share data.

·        Where possible, initial ethical approval for a study will include permission to share data.

·        Data is anonymised at acquisition.

·        File formats are selected to be the most open from the point of acquisition.

·        Naming and directory structure of files follows standards and are consistent across a project (e.g. dates follow ISO 8601, animal unique identifiers are used).

·        When MRC BNDU publications include data from external collaborators, sharing conditions will have been discussed and agreed at the beginning of the collaboration.

·        Data management workflows will aim to have datasets finalised and uploaded to the Data Sharing Platform by the date of publication, even if there is the intention to reserve exclusive use of the data for further internal reuse (in which case it will not be available to download).

In line with MRC Data Sharing Policy, Principle 2.2 to give appropriate credit to data-sharers, we require that the advice given by the Digital Curation Centre for citing datasets is followed. A citation should include at least the following information:

Creators [Authors], year of publication of the dataset, title of the dataset, publisher of the dataset, and an identifier [in the form of a DOI if one is allocated, or the full URL to the dataset if not].

An example in the Oxford referencing style:

Herz, D. (2017), Neural correlates of speed-accuracy adjustments in the subthalamic nucleus [dataset] (University of Oxford), doi:10.5287/bodleian:VEd27b0Yr

Data users are requested to ensure that their use will add recognizable value to the original dataset and also to meet the MRC’s standards for scientific quality, ethics and value for money (MRC Data Sharing Policy, Principle 2.3).