Managing and Sharing Data in 2021

Authors: Esther Plomp

NWO/Horizon Europe projects have the following requirements:

Data management should follow the FAIR principles to maximise the effectiveness and reproducibility of the research undertaken. 

  • The FAIR principles recommend that scientific data are: 
    • Findable’ thanks to their persistent identifier that is assigned to your dataset when it is shared using a data repository (see below).
    • Accessible’ so that the data and metadata can be examined; FAIR data is not necessarily open data, but the metadata could still be shared to ensure that the data is still FAIR.
    • Interoperable’ so that comparable data can be analysed and integrated through the use of common vocabulary and formats.
    • Reusable’ as a result of appropriate documentation and provision of a license that tells others what they can do with the data. 
Illustration by The Turing Way/Scriberia


Data Management Plans

Data Management Plans (DMP) are required for projects funded by NWO (within four months after the awarding of the grant) and Horizon Europe (within 6 months of the project’s start). 

  • DMP templates are available on the websites of NWO and Horizon Europe, as well as on the platform DMPonline that you can use with your netID. 
    • DMPonline has TU Delft specific guidance that will help you to set up your DMP more efficiently. 
    • You can also use the TU Delft template available through DMPonline (although this will need some additions for Horizon Europe as this template is more extensive). It is especially efficient to use the TU Delft template if your project needs HREC approval (for example, working with personal data).
  • A DMP should be a living document, which is updated as the project evolves. Horizon Europe expects you to update the template throughout the project.

Data sharing

Data should be shared through a trusted repository, for example: 4TU.ResearchData.

  • Data underpinning a scientific publication should be deposited at the latest at the time of publication.
  • Data is in principle open, unless restricted access is needed for legitimate reasons
    • Access can be restricted when it concerns aspects such as privacy, public security, ethical limitations, property rights and commercial interest.
  • For Horizon Europe, the data should be licensed using CC-BY or CC0 (or an equivalent license), and metadata of the datasets should be CC0 licensed. 
    • For CC-BY it means that others should cite the work when they reuse the data. 
    • CC0 waives any rights, with citation still being expected as this follows best scientific practises. 
    • Note that some Horizon Europe calls may require additional obligations for the validations of scientific publications. 
  • These requirements are in line with the TU Delft Research Data Framework Policy, stating that “research data, code and any other materials needed to reproduce research findings are appropriately documented and shared in a research data repository in accordance with the FAIR principles for at least 10 years from the end of the research project, unless there are valid reasons not to do so.” (NWO also expects data preservation for at least ten years, unless legal provisions or discipline-specific guidelines dictate otherwise). 
Illustration by The Turing Way/Scriberia


Software is seen as a separate research output from data:

  • Horizon Europe recommends sharing software (under an Open Source license).
  • NWO expects that software that is needed to access and interpret the data is made available, following the Five Recommendations for FAIR Software.
  • See the TU Delft Research Software Policy for more information on how to share your research software. 
    • TU Delft encourages you to share your code/software through 4TU.ResearchData choosing one of the TU Delft approved licenses (Apache, MIT, BSD, EUPL, AGPL, LGPL, GPL, CC0). You can also choose another data repository, such as Zenodo, but then you have to ensure that the output is correctly registered in PURE yourself. See the TU Delft Guidelines on Research Software or this recording for more information on sharing your software/code.

Need any help? 


Horizon Europe Programme Guide (pages 41 – 46)
Annotated Horizon Europe Grant Agreement (Annex 5, pages 152-153)
NWO: Research Data Management
TU Delft: Research Data Management
TU Delft & Faculty policies (data/software)


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