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Paving the way for open access projects - the MIXED Data management plan

The project management of the MIXED project has volunteered the project to be a so-called Open Data Research Pilot . A data management plan has now been developed, which describes the data management life cycle for data collected, processed and/or generated in MIXED.

To make the research data findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (and thus adhering to the FAIR principles), the plan includes information on the handling of research data during and after the end of the project. It explains what data will be collected, processed and/or generated and which methodology and standards are applied – and it explains how the data will be shared and made open access.

Project manager, Professor from Dept. of Agroecology at Aarhus University, Tommy Dalgaard, describes the work with the plan as follow:

"We volunteered to be an open data research pilot, and besides being compliant with EU legislation and relevant legislation in partner-countries outside the EU, this means that not only should all publications be open access - the data behind should be open access too. This can of course collide with patent rights and business ideas, thus we have taken a balanced approach to find a way to protect rights but still keep the research and data as accessible and transparent as possible. We have had valuable legal help from the EU system and the research support unit at Aarhus University, as this has been a bit of a pioneer process.  We have ended up with a template that hopefully can be useful to other projects as well. This is a dynamic not a static document that is meant to be adjusted and adapted to local contexts, and throughout the lifetime of the project", Tommy Dalgaard explains.

Q and A on open access and transparency

The data management plan, that can be downloaded here, has the form of a catalogue describing the work processes in all work packages and the data behind. Then the FAIR principles are addressed, and how these are implemented in MIXED is described in a Q and A fashion.

A main point has been to work according to the subsidiary principle – decentralizing the responsibility on procedures to partners, but based on the aligned common “recipes” or suggested procedures to be followed.

Tommy Dalgaard explains: "The principle of open access interests me, both as a researcher and on a personal level. We carry research to benefit society, and in close communication with the surrounding World. The MIXED project in its very essence is characterized by being a multi actor project, which means there are someone out there who actually needs our research, and who influence and co-create our research. An open data platform is essential to this".

Tommy Dalgaard admits, that developing the data management plan has been a bit of bureaucratic process, although he found inspiration in other projects. This process and data management requirements will not be easy for smaller projects: -But hopefully, with our Open Data Management Plan we have paved some of the way also for others going into this, he concludes.  Read more about the MIXED project here:

Open data research pilot

In Horizon 2020 the Commission has launched a flexible pilot for open access to research data (ORD pilot). The pilot aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by Horizon 2020 projects, taking into account

  • the need to balance openness and protection of scientific information
  • commercialisation and IPR
  • privacy concerns
  • security
  • data management and preservation questions