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Peer review updates and guidance

Last update: January 2018

About the new Data Management Plan

We would like to announce some changes to our Peer Review College.

From March 29th we will be removing our requirement for a Technical Plan and as such disbanding our Technical College. In its place we will be replacing it with a requirement to submit a Data Management Plan. This will be mandatory for all Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows proposals.

UPDATE: These changes are now live. Please see our Research Funding Guide for details of the Data Management Plan (see second link, top right).

Rationale for the new Data Management Plan

  • A recognition that the current Technical College is under too much pressure to deliver the required number of reviews and the Data Management Plan approach will assist and speed-up the grant assessment process by not overburdening just a small numbers of reviewers.
  • The Data Management Plans will be assessed by members of the Academic College rather than an individual College, and the plans assessed holistically as part of the whole proposal
  • This change will bring us into line with other Research Councils who already use Data Management Plans, harmonising this process across all Councils.

Further information for applicants and Research Offices on the logistical, submission and crossover period information can be found below.

About the Crossover period

There will be a period of crossover between Technical Plans and Data Management Plans when both plans are in the system; we will ask technical reviewers to assess proposals with a technical plan until no more technical plans are in the system. We envisage this to be around early May 2018. AHRC will manage this crossover accordingly and appropriately, sourcing the most appropriate reviewers..

See our frequently asked questions (PDF, 202KB) further information.

Information for applicants and Research Offices

We are letting you know of these changes now in order to give time to prepare for the change, so that any proposals that are being considered for submission should start using the Data Management Plan.

We hope this will allow enough time for applications submitted in March to include a Data Management Plan. We will add guidance into the Research Funding Guide to allow your submitting PIs to create Data Management Plans accordingly; this can be found below under ‘About the Data Management Plan’.

In brief, peer reviewers will be asked to assess whether the Data Management Plans are feasible, sensible, appropriate and valid based on their knowledge of their specialist area.

For proposals that are inherently digital in their methodologies and outputs we will use appropriate reviewers, as we would any sort of individual classification in order to assess the application.

By submitting the proposal, institutions are confirming that their institution has the capability to cover a number of Data Management points, (see download below).

Data Management Plan downloads

The institution will be expected not to submit their application if they cannot comply with these points:

  • If an application is submitted and it does not comply with the points it will be rejected
  • If an institution has submitted the proposal and but during auditing it is found that this was not true sanctions may be imposed.

About attachments

Due to system constraints, there is the possibility that the attachment types used in Je-S may not be fully functional from this date. If this is the case and the new data management plan attachment type is not ready for use, we will still continue to use the technical plan attachment type until this is ready. From a system perspective this should not pose a problem as the technical plan is a free text attachment and we will expect the title applicants use for the attachment to be ‘Data Management Plan’.

Once the system changes have been made, we will switch over to having the Data Management Plan attachment type labelled as such for completeness; we will also alert you and all institutions that we have added this new Data Management Plan attachment type to Je-S. Having said all of the above we are in reality working to ‘cover all bases’ and we are working hard to ensure the new attachment type is ready for the 29th March. We will communicate the date the attachment type will change as soon as it is known.

  • As such:
    • Data Management Plans should be submitted from Monday March 29th 2018 under the Technical Plan attachment
    • The attachment should be titled 'Data Management Plan' and the naming convention should be Surname_DMP
  • The Data Management Plan will be assessed by peer reviewers under the ‘Management’ section, making the assessment of the plan part of the whole review
  • The need for a Technical Summary will be removed from the Case for Support and this will be removed from the guidance
  • By submitting, the institution will be confirming that the institution understands and can service its data management requirements
  • Je-S Helptext will be updated with the new information
  • The Research Funding Guide will be updated as appropriate (the proposed pages for which can be found above in ‘About the Data Management Plan’).