Funders and data management costs

Funding organisations, including NWO and the EU Horizon 2020 programme, consider data related costs as eligible for funding. Costs can only be reimbursed during the project period, so it may be necessary to check with the repository or service that is used for long-term storage whether the costs for storage after completion of the project can be invoiced in advance. For ongoing costs in the research phase, it is good to check which IT related costs will be claimed as part of the general overhead, and which additional costs can be claimed as direct costs.


NWO mentions costs for ‘data management’ and it includes costs for activities during the study to make data reusable: “NWO only requests the storage of data that are relevant for reuse. The costs are dependent on the quantity and type of data and the time that is required for producing metadata and documentation during the study.” Costs to make data accessible after completion of the research are also eligible: “It also includes the cost of data storage (conversion and long-term storage and making the data available).” At the bottom of this text you find links to tools that can help you to specify data management costs.

Read the NWO regulations here.

EU - Horizon 2020

The costs for ‘open access to data’ are eligible for funding. This can include data that does not underlie publications but that is produced by the project. We are not aware of more specific guidance on which costs can be included.

These costs need to be specified for the contract negotiations, while the data management plan needs to be delivered at a later stage (i.e. in the first six months of the project period). We have found at several sources stating that a rule of thumb, ignoring differences between disciplines and projects, “is to budget 5% of the project budget for data management activities” (as stated here).

Read the Horizon2020 specifications here.

Tools to specify data management related costs

There are a number of tools and checklists available that give guidance on which data management activities and direct costs can be taken into consideration:

  • There is a comprehensive guide from the Dutch National Coordination Point Research Data Management, covering the full research cycle.
  • There is a checklist provided by the UK Data Archive, focusing mostly on costs involved with making research data shareable.