Section 5 of 7
Image: Circuitboard [cropped], blickpixel, Pixabay, Public Domain
EPSRC’s expectations on data storage and data sharing also apply to physical samples or collections. This means that you need to ensure that such samples are stored appropriately for a minimum of 10 years after the end of the research project, and are available for others to use. However, there is often no equivalent to a research data repository for physical samples, so it can be very difficult to store and grant access to this type of research data for the requisite length of time.
Given these likely difficulties, it is acceptable to provide access to the parameters needed to reproduce the sample rather than the sample itself. This documentation should be treated in the same way as other digital research data, and should be either included in the text of any related papers, published alongside the paper as supplementary information, or deposited in a data repository.
- Sharing the physical sample itself can be burdensome, and sharing a destroyed sample is unlikely to provide useful information. Providing a description of how the sample can be reproduced alongside other digital data is sufficient.