Data management advice for ARC funded research

For Laureate Fellowship, Discovery Project, and Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) applicants.

ARC Fellowship applications now require researchers to address specific sections on the Communication of Results (DP/LF) and Management of Data (DP/LF/DECRA)

  • Australian Laureate Fellowships (for funding commencing in 2016): this is outlined in section D1 – Project Description in the Instructions to Applicants.
  • Discovery Projects (for funding commencing in 2017): this is outlined in section C1 – Project Description in the Instructions to Applicants.
  • Laureate Fellowships (for funding commencing in 2015): this is outlined in section D1 – Description of Project/Program of Research in the Instructions to Applicants.
  • Discovery Projects (for funding commencing in 2016): this is outlined in section C1 – Project Description in the Instructions to Applicants.
  • DECRAs (for funding commencing in 2016): this is outlined in section D1 – Project Description in the Instructions to Applicants.

For these applications, researchers are now required to:

  • Outline plans for communicating the research results to other researchers and the broader community, including scholarly and public communication and dissemination
  • Outline plans for the management of data produced as a result of the proposed research, including but not limited to storage, access and re-use arrangements

Advice for Researchers from the ARC

19th February 2014

ARC+ANDS Webinar: "Supporting Changes to the ARC Funding Rules"

A one hour panel discussion with;

  • Professor Brian Yates, ARC Executive Director
  • Dr Adrian Burton, Director, Services, ANDS
  • Mr Justin Withers, ARC Branch Manager, Strategy Branch
  • Dr Greg Laughlin, Principal Policy Advisor, ANDS

ANDS - Australian National Data Service


1. What are the ARC's expectations for addressing the Management of Data?

Whilst the ARC is not mandating open data, the revised wording encourages researchers to consider the ways in which they can best manage, store, disseminate and re-use data generated through ARC-funded research. Proposals should include a brief outline of the management of data. The application does not require a separate Data Management Plan, simply a few sentences or paragraphs outlining the researchers plan for the management and sharing of data (if applicable). Not all disciplines have the same culture of data sharing, and as such the ARC does not expect a 'one-size-fits-all' answer.

This section is designed to give researchers the opportunity to enhance and strengthen their research proposal. It is not intended to be used as evidence of data management compliance.

The ARC does not require researchers to include specific details about the actual data, for example, the physical location of where the data will be stored after it's acquired. Rather, researchers are encouraged to describe how their data will be managed throughout the project; whether the data will be archived at the end of the project, distributed to collaborators, remain confidential due to ethics requirements, or be shared with the broader community. Researchers should understand their obligations under the code of conduct and be aware of specific retention policies that may impact these decisions. Details of how and why the data will be shared should be included.

In some disciplines sharing data products acts to promote research projects and may also have a positive impact on a researcher's personal profile. In this case, including a short discussion of how your particular strategy would benefit the research outcomes, may make your application more compelling. For example, a researcher using CSIRO data might plan to make their data available through CSIRO's Data Access Portal, or through a high-impact journal archive such as Nature's Scientific Data archive (Note: Scientific Data will be launched in May 2014 but is now taking submissions. The archive does not require publication in Nature)

2. How does the Management of Data section affect the overall assessment?

The Management of Data section is not assigned a specific weighting towards overall assessment.

3. Do I need to include a Data Management Plan in my application?

The ARC recommends that researchers implement data management planning as part of their research, however, plans are not required for ARC application nor are they required in final reports.

4. Is it appropriate to include budget costs relating to data Storage and management?

Yes, if there are good reasons for why your project requires additional costs for storage or dissemination.

5. What is ANDS? and why are they interested in data management planning?

ANDS stands for the Australian National Data Service. ANDS is transforming Australia’s research data environment to;

  • make Australian research data collections more valuable by managing, connecting, enabling discovery and supporting the reuse of this data
  • enable richer research, more accountable research; more efficient use of research data; and improved provision of data to support policy development

6. Why does the ARC mandate open access publications but not open access data?

Open Access for publications is well established, and archiving the final scientific result in the form of a journal article (typically a simple PDF) is relatively easy. Making data open is more difficult and subject to requirements by discipline. Most importantly data formats, size and type differ by subject. The ARC recognises that setting up institutional storage and external data archives are far more difficult than for publication data.

Questions to be considered before addressing this section

ANDS - Guide for filling in the data management section in ARC grant applications - ANDS guide

  • What datasets do you expect to produce?
  • What facilities will you use to ensure that data is stored securely and backed up?

Swinburne has a number of institutional storage options. For information about national and international data archives and repositories please visit the Sharing Research Data website.

  • Where will your research data be stored at the end the project?

To enhance your research outcomes through wider dissemination, consider depositing your research data in an apppropriate publicly accessible data repository.

  • What access will you provide to the data?

In many cases access to research data may be limited for a number of reasons including; embargo periods, defence/security, ethics, privacy, cultural sensitivities, commercial arrangements. In some of these cases, accesss to the metadata - description of the data - may stil be allowed.

  • What is the time frame for access and dissemination?
  • What impact will sharing the data have on the research outcomes?

In some cases sharing data may be a catalyst for new collaboration, or it may help raise your research profile.

ARC Funding Rules - perspectives on data management

ARC Funding Rules - perspectives on data management

10th March 2014

A 45-minute panel discussion with;

  • Dr Douglas Robertson, Director Research Services, ANU
  • Dr Joe Thurbon, Member Services Manager, Intersect
  • Mr Justin Withers, ARC Branch Manager, Strategy Branch
  • Dr Adrian Burton, Director, Services, ANDS
  • Dr Greg Laughlin, Principal Policy Advisor, ANDS

Further information and assistance:

For assistance with research data management and ARC grant applications please phone (03) 9214 8145 or email the grants team at

For queries about online research data archives and repositories please contact the Research Services Librarians within the Swinburne Library (Em Johnson - or Dave Bradley -