Instruct-ERIC Data Management Policy 

Date: 2 November 2018

Version: 2.1

Author: Jose Maria Carazo

1. Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to provide Users conducting Instruct-ERIC Access projects with information and guidance on Experimental Data ownership, storage, access and management and to ensure that Experimental Data is managed and used in ways that maximises public benefit following FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability). This policy should be read in conjunction with the Instruct-ERIC Statutes (2017/C 230/01).

The Structural Biology community has had a historical commitment to make the processed data and the structural models available to the public via the PDB, the oldest biological data archive. In a continuation of this tradition, and in line with perspective of the European Commission that data from publicly funded research projects is public data [COM(2011) 882 final], Instruct-ERIC encourages experimental data sharing and reuse.

2. Policy applicability

This policy applies to Users of facilities at Instruct-ERIC Centres, which conduct Instruct-ERIC Access projects and produce Experimental Data. Experimental Data arising from Proprietary Research is not covered by this policy and is subject to separate contractual arrangements.    

3. Policy responsibility

The Instruct-ERIC Council has overall responsibility for this policy. Any queries or suggestions relating to this policy should be sent to the Instruct-ERIC-ERIC Director.

4. Definitions

Terms and phrases in this policy shall have the meanings ascribed to them below.

“Access Proposal (or Access project)”: A research proposal describing a limited work programme that requests access to one or more Instruct-ERIC infrastructure facilities through Instruct-ERIC. Access is granted on approval of the proposal via peer review.

“Analysed Data”:  All data resulting from the manual or automated evaluation of Raw Data and Metadata through analytical and logical reasoning.

“Establishment”: The User’s employer.

“Experimental Data”: Raw Data, Analysed Data and associated Metadata arising from use of Instruct-ERIC Centre facilities

“Instruct-ERIC”:a structural biology distributed infrastructure and member of the ESFRI Roadmap.

 “Instruct-ERIC Centre”: an Institution recognized as a Centre by Instruct-ERIC providing Users with access to its experimental facilities, scientific skills and/or online resources in the context of an Access project

“Instruct-ERIC facilities”: All facilities made available at Instruct-ERIC Centres

“Metadata”: Information pertaining to Experimental or Analysed Data collected as a result of use of Instruct-ERIC Centre facilities and shall include (but shall not be limited to) the context of the experiment, the experimental team, experimental conditions and other logistical information.

“Proprietary Research”: Commercially confidential research using Instruct-ERIC Centre facilities and for which there is no obligation to publish the Results.

“Raw Data”: Data produced as a result of use of Instruct-ERIC Centre facilities, excluding Analysed Data and Metadata.

“Results”: Any inventions, designs, information, know-how, specifications, formulae, Experimental Data, processes, methods, techniques and other technology arising out of peer reviewed research or activities. 

“Structural data”: We refer to experimentally-derived data such as, structure factors, structural maps, list of atomic coordinates, or information on interacting protein residues and inter-atomic distances, among many others;

“Supporting data”: We refer to the data necessary to reproduce the published conclusions, including but not limited to original electron micrographs or particle images entering in the 3D reconstruction process, raw (time-domain) or processed (frequency-domain) NMR spectral data, diffraction data or other data arising from the use of X-ray sources.

“Users”: Users shall include the following persons making use of Instruct-ERIC Centres through Instruct-ERIC access procedures: scientists and engineers from academia, research councils and charitable institutions, researchers from commercial and non-commercial organisations.

5. Data to which this policy applies

This policy applies to Experimental Data, Supporting Data and Structural data. 

6. Data ownership

6.1       Centres will not claim any usage or IP rights on the Experimental Data that they produce.

6.2       Subject to pre-existing obligations including to various establishments, grant funding agencies or other third parties, and as a general rule, the Institution(s) to which the user belong while conducting Instruct-ERIC Access projects will have the exclusive use of the data acquired in the course of the project during the embargo period Indicated in the section 6. Intellectual Property protection for these Institutions and users will be their sole responsibility.

6.3       If the Experimental Data reveals problems or flaws in the technology used to acquire it, in the data processing procedures, or indicates that improved service and quality of service could be obtained, then, subject to agreement with the Instruct-ERIC centre user, the data may be used for the sole purpose of correcting these problems or flaws, or to improve the service.

6.4       In those cases in which the delivery of User Access requires a significant change or adaptation of otherwise standard Facility procedures, demanding substantial involvement of Facility staff, data ownership and IP will be shared between Users’ Institutions and Facility. The details of this sharing should be discussed at the time the modified Access protocols were designed, and the Facility will present the User’s Institution a concrete proposal for discussion. 

7. Data archiving

7.1       Subject to the pre-existing obligations above, storage of data is the responsibility of the User/Institution to whom it belongs. Unless the Instruct-ERIC Centre explicitly offers a data archive service, Users are responsible for copying and making arrangements for the long term storage of the Experimental data. In this latter case the facility will collect and maintain an accountable proof of the transfer of the data to the user, for verification purposes.

7.2        Subject to future developments in the context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and of the approval of the appropriate Instruct-ERIC internal protocols of actions, and if in the future the EOSC initiative will provide the opportunity to store all, or a subset, of the experimental data acquired at Instruct-ERIC Centres in the course of Instruct-ERIC Access projects, then Instruct-ERIC will implement the necessary actions to take full advantage of such an opportunity. These data will be appropriately labelled using, for instance, Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).

8. Data sharing

8.1       Structural data and models obtained in the course of the research conducted within an Instruct-ERIC Access project must be deposited in an appropriate public database. In particular, structural data must be either deposited in PDB/EMDB or, as an exception, to be made otherwise available within one year after publication of the results, or within five years after the visit, whichever came first.

8.2       It is the responsibility of the user to assure that supporting data is deposited in a public database or, in the absence of an appropriate such database, made otherwise available within one year after publication of the results, or within five years after the visit, whichever came first. 

9. Data confidentiality

Instruct-ERIC, and Instruct-ERIC Centres, shall have procedures/guidelines in place to ensure confidentiality, both internally & externally, of Experimental Data during the embargo period, as well as to use these procedures to ensure that access to Experimental Data will be restricted to the Users of Instruct-ERIC Access projects to which the Experimental Data relates and the appropriate Instruct-ERIC support staff. Users of Instruct-ERIC facilities are responsible for meeting any third party data management or transfer obligations that may be applicable.