Research at Risk

Concordat for Open Research Data

Over the past year or so the UK Open Research Data Forum has been meeting with the aim of facilitating stakeholders to work together to help to drive the open research data agenda and related practice and policy in the UK forward.

The Forum includes representatives from universities, funders, publishers and other bodies such as Jisc, the British Library and the Open Data Institute etc. One of the early issues that it prioritised was to improve working across stakeholders and to further the understanding between universities and funders on how to achieve a research environment that supports open research data. This resulted in the aim to create a concordat between stakeholders to outline, at a high level, an agreed set of principles that will help to achieve the sharing and access to research data.

This week the draft concordat was published, and is now open for further comment – the deadline for comments to be received is the 28th September 2015. RCUK are gathering the feedback – an email address is below.

The development of the concordat is relevant to some of the requirements that have emerged whilst we at Jisc have consulted with the higher education sector on research data management. Namely a dialogue and shared understanding between funders and universities has been sought. The concordat is, I hope, a helpful start to shared understanding and dialogue.

It seems for the record that it is important for us to make a note of the draft of the concordat on this blog.

We hope that the activities, services and infrastructure being developed as part of the Research at Risk initiative will help to meet some of the implementation issues that are required to see through the implementation of the principles outlined.

Below I have copied the HEFCE announcement on the concordat for reference.

Concordat on Open Research Data

A draft concordat has been published which seeks to make research data in the UK more openly accessible for use.

The concordat has been drafted under the auspices of the UK Open Research Data Forum [Note 1] by a multi-stakeholder working group, which includes HEFCE, Research Councils UK (RCUK), Jisc, the Wellcome Trust and Universities UK. It aims to help ensure that the 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 and regulatory frameworks and norms.

The concordat aims to establish a set of expectations of good practice, with the intention of making open research data the standard for publicly funded research over the long term. It recognises the different responsibilities of researchers, their employers and the funders of research, although the intention is not to mandate, codify or require specific activities.

On behalf of the working group, RCUK is now seeking views and comments on the concordat. RCUK welcomes feedback on any aspects of the concordat and the value users think it will have for the UK and global research communities.

Feedback and comments should be sent to by Friday 28 September 2015.


  1. The UK Open Research Data Forum website is at
  2. The concordat is at


By Rachel Bruce

Rachel Bruce, Deputy Chief Innovation Officer, Jisc