Research data management at the Donders Institute

Research Data Management (RDM) is an important aspect in research to ensure that research data is safe and secure and remains valuable for the long-term. Proper data management encourages Open Science, by making research data accessible and reusable to others.


The Donders Institute strives to preserve and share all its research data for the long-term according to the FAIR principles from 2020 onwards.

At the Donders Institute, a RDM policy (pdf, 164 kB) document has been written that outlines the responsibilities of all Donders Institute employees towards management of their research data throughout the research life cycle.

The RDM policy distinguishes the following research phases  (1) Preparing a project, (2) data acquisition, analysis and scientific writing and (3) data publication.

1. Peparing a project

During the initiation of a project at the Donders Institute, a Data Management plan is drafted according to a template.  For PhD-students this paragraph must be drafted as part of their Training and Supervision Plan, which is updated throughout the project.

All projects must have ethical approval according to applicable legislation or guidelines, see Donders Institute intranet for specifics. Additionally, each centre has procedures in place ensuring ethical and project approval before data collection initiation:

DCCN (project proposal meeting)
DCC (project proposal form)
DCN (project data management application)

2. Data acquisition, analysis and scientific writing

Collected research data is always stored in a safe location (to prevent unauthorized access) and preserved for at least 10 years with regular automated backups (to prevent data loss). Experimental data is pseudonymized using non-identifiable subject-codes. Pseudonymization keys are stored separate from the experimental data on an access-restricted location.

Research data is documented and metadated according to the FAIR principles.

Personal data is only acquired for administrative purposes (e.g. contact information) or for scientific purposes and is disposed after it is no longer required for the purpose described. Participant’s personal data is always password-protected and stored on encrypted media on a separate location from the other research data. For storage of personal data and for work-in-progress research data, centre-specific storage systems are used:

DCCN (Data storage, archiving and sharing)
DCC (Data Management)
DCN (password protected drives of C&CZ)

Sharing of work-in-progress experimental data such as raw data, processed data or scripts is done via password protected, backed-up media, i.e.:

1) the centre-specific storage system, or 2) the Radboud Repository, or 3) Surf Drive

Sharing of personal data is limited, but if required, done through the centre-specific storage systems.

Archiving of work-in-progress data is done in the Radboud Repository - with the exception of extremely large datasets from the DCN, for which an alternative is offered (see the DCN regulations).

3. Data publication

As a rule, research data of all Donders Institute publications is shared with the scientific community. Deviations from this rule are only possible after explicit approval by the centre director. Possible reasons to deviate from this rule pertain to ethical, contractual, legal or severe financial constraints.

The Radboud Repository (formerly known as Donders Repository) is the default repository for sharing data of Donders Institute researchers. If the researcher finds a repository better suited for his/her data, or a journal requests/advises to use another repository, the researcher should first seek for approval from the centre’s data steward. When considering an external repository, 1) it must adhere to FAIR principles, 2) datasets that potentially contain personal identifiable information can only be shared under a Data Use Agreement that protects the identity of the participants (e.g., Data Use Agreement forbids to establish identity or to attempt to contact participants) and 3) the rights holder remains as defined earlier in the project.

Data is in principle published at the moment that the final proofs are sent back to the journal. However, an embargo period of max. 2 years can be applied if (part of) the data is part of a larger dataset that is still processed for publication.

Data shared in the Radboud repository will be provided in a generally accessible format including relevant metadata and it will be documented according to the FAIR principles, in order to facilitate collaboration and reuse of the data.

Further information

Detailed information and practical guidelines can be found on the centre-specific intranet pages

If you have specific questions about data management at any of the Donders Institute centres, you can contact your local data steward.

Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN): Dick Schijven
Donders Centre for Cognition (DCC): m.kos [at] (Miriam Kos)
Donders Centre for Neuroscience (DCN): b.englitz [at] (Bernhard Englitz)
Donders Centre for Medical Neuroscience (DCMN): Joanes.Grandjean [at] (Joanes Grandjean)

For general questions about RDM at the Donders Institute or Radboud Repository, you can contact datasupport [at] (datasupport[at]donders[dot]ru[dot]nl)