The MRC’s open access policy supports open and unrestricted access to published research.

It also has a data sharing policy. This policy was revised in September 2011.

Policy stipulations

Time Limits

The MRC expects publications to be made openly accessible as soon as possible and, in any event, within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication.

Data should be made available in a timely and responsible manner. A limited defined period of exclusive use of data for primary research is allowed.

Data must be securely maintained for a minimum of ten years after completion of the research.

Data Plan

Applicants are expected to submit a data management plan at the grant-proposal stage.

A template is provided outlining nine factors to be addressed, including a description of the data, data collection, data management, data security, and data sharing.

Access/Data Sharing

The MRC expects publications to be available promptly and encourages researchers to make data available with as few restrictions as possible.

If an open access fee has been paid, the MRC requires that research papers are licenced in such a way that they may be freely copied and re-used for purposes like text- and data-mining.

data support service is in development to facilitate access and sharing of research data.

Long-term Curation

Data must be properly curated throughout its lifecycle and released with the appropriate high-quality metadata. This is the responsibility of the data custodians, who are usually those individuals or institutes that received MRC funding to create or collect the data.

Primary research data must be retained in their original form within the research establishment that generated them for a minimum of ten years.


No statement is given on how compliance with MRC's open access or data sharing policies will be monitored.

Support services


The MRC offers guidance on data sharing. This includes a glossary, the Research Data Gateway, and support for data management planning. A template is provided for DMPs, as well as guidance for peer-reviewers when assessing plans.


The MRC supports UK PubMed Central.

Data Centre

The MRC does not run a data centre. The principal investigator and higher education institution are responsible for long-term access and preservation.


The MRC will pay any necessary charges levied by publishers who offer open access options. Anticipated future publication costs should be part of an institution’s indirect costs.

The MRC data policy does not state that costs associated with data management and sharing will be met.

“Original concept and UK funder details provided by the Digital Curation Centre:”