Which data management costs are funded?

Research data management is a very time-consuming and thus also cost-intensive task. In order to meet the increasing demands of funders and publishers for a transparent and comprehensible presentation of the entire research data process, researchers should therefore already consider the costs of research data management in the cost calculation of a project proposal.

But which costs are actually covered and which should rather be borne by the respective research institution itself?

Within a DFG proposal it is possible to apply for funding to cover costs incurred to process and prepare the research data generated within a research project in a resusable way, as well as costs incurred by the transfer of data to a public repository (e.g., PsychArchives). These costs may comprise personnell expenses as well as software and hardware required for this purpose. Moreover, researchers can apply for funding to cover costs arising from usage fees, membership fees and costs incurred when using established infrastructures (DFG – Information on the resources available, 2021).

However, the DFG also takes the research institutions of the researchers to task and sees the assumption of costs for the local storage and archiving of research data as well as the provision of infrastructures and services for the processing of large amounts of data or the implementation of a basic research data management as a clear own contribution of the research institutions.

Where does one get information about the level of research data management costs?

In order to be eligible for funding by the DFG, the services and costs of research data management must be outlined in a transparent cost-benefit catalogue of the respective repositories. The service catalog of the RDC at ZPID providing a detailed description of all RDM services and possible incurred costs can be found here: https://rdc-psychology.org/service-catalog-rdm.

Moreover, the UK Data Archive (2021) provides a checklist (see UK Data Service, 2013) for estimating additional costs that are necessary for data management and data sharing procedures and go beyond the costs of standard procedures in research projects. Its costing tool considers, for example, the following aspects: planning and organization, staff training, costs for specific software or documents, formatting, organizing, processing, and documenting data, transferring data to an archive and running costs when archiving on your own. To calculate any storage costs, researchers as well as infrastructure providers can refer to the Storage Costs Evaluator from the Data Stewardship Wizard (2019).

References & Further Resources


DFG (2021). Information on the resources available. Retrieved from: https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/principles_dfg_funding/research_data/resources_available/index.html

Data Stewardship Wizard (2019). Storage Costs Evaluator. Retrieved from: https://storage-costs-evaluator.ds-wizard.org/

UK Data Archive (2021). Costing Data Management. Retrieved from: https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/manage-data/plan/costing

UK Data Service (2013). Data management costing tool. UK Data Archive, University of Essex. Retrieved from: https://dam.ukdataservice.ac.uk/media/622368/costingtool.pdf

The Keeping Research Data Safe Project, a JISC-funded project, aimed at identifying long-lived digital datasets in order to conduct cost analyses. Although the analysis takes place at institutional level, the lists of cost-relevant activities may serve as a starting point for the cost-analysis of your project.