updated June 28, 2022
Part of Berkeley Lab’s mission–to bring science solutions to the world–is our commitment to open science, where we openly share our research, methods, and data so that other researchers can build on our work.
Our new research data policy supports this mission by providing a Lab-wide framework for research data ownership, management and sharing. Initiated by former Deputy Director for Research Horst Simon, the policy was developed by a working group formed by representatives from all Areas as well as the Laboratory Directorate.
The research data policy is relevant to anyone who creates or handles research data at the Lab for which Berkeley Lab holds ownership or use rights. This typically would not include facility users, but does affect all other researchers.
“Researchers are the stewards of the research data that their work generates, and they embody the Lab’s mission through the sharing and dissemination of their work,” said Joerg Heber, the Lab’s Research Integrity Officer.
The new research data policy covers a broad range of topics. This includes the ownership of the data, data access, as well as the management and the sharing of research data. The policy also sets out procedures in the event that an investigator leaves Berkeley Lab.
The research data policy is in line with the new University of California policy and is consistent with DOE’s move to Public Reusable Research (PuRe) Data Resources as well as the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship principles. The data policy, in addition to supporting the Lab’s stewardship values, will support Lab researchers in meeting their data stewardship responsibilities for DOE.
Data Management Plans for Each Research Project
A new requirement of the policy is that research projects or programs at Berkeley Lab that are sponsored either by DOE, external funders or through the Laboratory Directed Research & Development program require a Data Management Plan that covers the research performed. Data Management Plans document the procedures and processes for managing research data, including data collection, storage/protection, processing, as well as data licensing and sharing. They are useful to plan ahead on how to handle research data during and after a research project and they support the rigor and integrity of the research being undertaken. Many funders already require Data Management Plans, which the DOE Office of Science takes into consideration when assessing funding applications.
Sharing Data at Publication Time
The research data policy also mandates that where research is being made public and the data is not restricted by policies and regulations, data underlying the findings of research must be shared at the time of publication. What is expected to be shared are the minimal datasets and metadata as well as related research methods and protocols required to replicate the published research in accordance with the standards of the respective research communities. Typically, minimal datasets include summary tables and relevant processed data, but may also include raw data in accordance with the relevant community standards.
Managing or sharing research data can be complex, and the research data policy working group has developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions that aim to provide researchers with useful resources and answers to common questions about the policy. The FAQs are posted at https://go.lbl.gov/researchdatafaq. In case you have further questions, the contacts section of the research data policy provides a list of contact details around specific items.
“This new policy is a significant and exciting step towards our commitment of open science and supports a strong data management at the Lab.” said Joerg. “We are grateful to the researchers at the Lab for their support of the Lab’s mission.”
Members of the Working Group:
- Chair: Joerg Heber
- Biosciences: Grace Sprehn
- Computing Sciences: Deb Agarwal / Lavanya Ramakrishnan
- Earth & Environmental Sciences: Charuleka Varadharajan
- Energy Sciences: Alexander Hexemer
- Energy Technologies: Marca Doeff
- Physical Sciences: Axel Huebl
- Intellectual Property Office: Sebastian Ainslie
- Office of Laboratory Counsel: Michelle Wong
- IT Policy: Ahmad Sultan
- Research Compliance Office: Christine Lan Higgs