Please note: the Library Research Support Team has a new website that can be found at https://libguides.shu.ac.uk/researchsupport

Below you will find the answers to some of our frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answer you need here or elsewhere on the site then please emails us at library-research-support@shu.ac.uk


Information Resource FAQs

How can I get materials not available through the SHU library service?

If there is something you need that is not available through SHU- for example a book we don’t have in our collection, or an article from a journal we don’t subscribe to- you can request a copy through the Document Delivery Service. You can find details about this service and a link to the request form here – https://students.shu.ac.uk/shuspacecontent/lc/access-books-journal-articles-unavailable-shu

Articles will usually be sent in an e-mail as a secure PDF. Books will be sent to the library you request for collection. It is important to return books on the date given, as these books cannot be renewed.

You can also join other university libraries through the SCONUL scheme. Usually this will give you access to the library where you can use the books for reference. More details of the SCONUL scheme can be found here – https://students.shu.ac.uk/shuspacecontent/lc/borrowing-other-libraries-0 

What software options are there for managing my references?

The library service supports Refworks for reference management. You can find detailed advice and guidance here.

EndNote is available for staff, but can only be installed in a SHU PC or laptop. If you want to use EndNote you will need access to the machine on which the software is installed. More advice on EndNote is available here- http://libguides.shu.ac.uk/endnote

There are many other reference management systems available, and you are of course free to use the system which suits you best.  You can find guidance on comparing systems here – Reference management software comparison for staff and researchers March 2017 


Publishing and Open Access FAQs

What do I need to do to comply with Research England (formerly HEFCE) Open Access Requirements for the REF?

In order to be eligible for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF), the final peer-reviewed manuscript of any article in a journal or conference proceedings with an ISSN published after 1 April 2016:

  • must be deposited in SHURA- you do this by uploading the output to Elements
  • must be deposited with three months of the date of acceptance

You must also provide proof of the date of acceptance, usually in the form of an email from the journal editor or conference organiser.

For more information please see our pages:

Open Access and the REF


or contact  library-research-support@shu.ac.uk 

Which version of my article should I upload to Elements?

For journal articles and conference papers, it is the author’s final, accepted manuscript (or post-print) which should be uploaded to Elements.  The article should have been updated to include all changes resulting from peer review as well as any changes of an academic nature requested by the journal editor or conference organiser. The accepted manuscript is not the same as the copy-edited, typeset or published paper — these versions are known as ‘proofs’ or ‘versions of record’ and publishers do not normally allow authors to make these open-access.

Find out more about Research England Open Access Requirements on our Open Access and the REF pages.

What is the date of acceptance?

The date of acceptance for a journal article or conference paper is the point at which the author is notified that:

  • their output has been reviewed by the journal or conference (normally via peer review)
  • all academically necessary changes have been made in response to that review
  • the article is ready to be taken through the final steps toward publication (normally copy-editing and typesetting).

By this point, the paper should have been updated to include all changes resulting from peer review as well as any changes of an academic nature requested by the journal editor or conference organiser. At this stage, the journal editor or conference organiser normally notifies the author that their paper has been ‘firmly’ accepted (as opposed to any earlier point of ‘provisional’ acceptance e.g. conditional on major or minor revisions being made) and the paper is ready for copy-editing or typesetting; it is the date of this notification that should be taken to mean the date of acceptance.

How do I provide evidence of the date of acceptance?

The journal editor or conference organiser will normally notify you by email when you article or paper has been ‘firmly’ accepted.  At the same time as you have add your article or paper to SHURA please forward this email to elements@shu.ac.uk

How do I get funding to publish Open Access / pay an article processing charge (APC)?

When publishing ‘gold’ Open Access, publishers usual require an Article Processing Charge to be paid.  The library has ‘Read and publish’ agreements with some publishers which cover the costs of publishing Gold Open Access in eligible journals.  With other publisher’s the Library has agreements which result in a discount for SHU corresponding authors wishing to publish Gold Open Access.  To find out about these agreements and other sources of funding which may be available to you, please see our pages about  Funding for ‘gold’ open access.

How do I get an ISBN?

The Library at SHU can provide you with an ISBN if you are publishing a book through the University.  Please contact the Library Research Support Team: Email: library-research-support@shu.ac.uk or call: (0114) 225 3852

For more details about obtaining an ISBN and to find out about the legal deposit requirement, see our pages about Preparing your manuscript which includes a section on getting an ISBN.


Research Data Management FAQs

What is SHUs policy on Research Data Management?
The SHU Research Data Management policy is in line with UKRI (formerly RCUK) and EPSRC requirements. It asks for all publicly-funded research projects to

  • draft a data management plan before the project commences
  • store all active research data on the University networked storage system, for example on the Research Store
  • make arrangements for the long-term preservation of datasets that underpin a publication, are of potential long-term value, and/or support a patent application
  • register all preserved datasets in the SHU Research Data Archive (SHURDA)
  • share datasets where this is required by any funders or where it will be beneficial for the research community
  • include a statement in any publication on how to access the supporting data
  • formally cite any third party data that you use

This is mandatory for all publicly-funded research projects, and considered good practice for all other research projects.

What do I need to do for GDPR
Under the new GDPR legislation, when gaining individual consent from participants for gathering your data you need to include a Privacy Notice with your ethical consent material. You can use the SHU template information sheet and consent forms to help with this.

See GDPR Guidelines for Researchers for further information.

What is a data management plan and why should I write one?
A data management plan (DMP) is evidence of your committment to value the research data that is generated by your project. It also ensures that you, as a researcher, and the institution will meet the requirements of our research funders.

A typical research data management plan provides information on (a selection of) the following topics

  • data collection
  • documentation and metadata
  • ethics and legal compliance
  • storage and backup
  • selection and preservation
  • data sharing
  • responibilities and resources

There are useful data management planning checklists available from the Digital Curation Centre and from the UK Data Service.

Why should you plan?
Some of the benefits of planning the management and sharing of your research data as early as possible include that it helps you to

  • identify issues and strategies early in your research project
  • ensure that you have documented your compliance with institutional and funder policies and ethics approval requirements
  • make sure that your data remains useful and is stored securely during the lifetime of your project and beyond, so that you can find and understand your data when you need to use it, so that you avoid data loss or data corruption, so that there is continuity if project staff leave or new researchers join, and to avoid unnecessary duplication by re-collecting or re-working data
  • think about data sharing and reuse opportunities of your research data

For more information, see Data management plans.

Which funders require a data management plan?
All UKRI funders require a Data Management Plan to be submitted as part of a funding bid, except EPSRC. EPSRC does not require the submission of a DMP, but assumes a DMP has been drafted when you apply for funding.

For more information, see Funders’ requirements.

How do I find out what my funders data requirements are?
Many research funders, including all UK Research Councils, have data policies that specify what is expected from their grant holders, and require studies they support to be made freely available. The Research Councils have a set of Common Principles on Data Policy. Each council also has its own policy

SHERPA JULIET is a database of open access and data archiving policies of a large number of funding organisation.

I am not a funded researcher. Do I need to create a plan?
SHU’s Research data management policy states that a Data Management Plan needs to be in place before a research project commences. This is mandatory for all publicly-funded research and considered best-practice for all other research.
Do the rules also apply to qualitative data?
Yes. The rules apply to all types of research data, whether quantitative or qualitative.
Can I get help with the costs for data
If you are applying for UKRI funding, any anticipated costs that you incur for preparing and ingesting the data into a repository or archive can be directly costed into you grant proposal. You should provide adequate justification for the costs. Also keep in mind that any expenditure must take place before the actual end date of the project.

For more information, see Preserving.

What help and support is there available for me from the University
The University provides research data services through all stages of a research project

There is further help and support throughout the lifecycle of your research data

Do I need to calculate how much storage space I need for my data?
In most cases no, unless you plan to create very big files needing a large amount of space (e.g. lengthy high quality videos, big stop-motion image files, large real-time sets of scientific output, etc.). Currently there is no cap on file sizes for storing on Q:/research.
What storage media should I choose for my live data
It is recommended to store the master copy of your live data on the SHU Research Store. There is no cap on the amount of storage a specific research project can use; data will be backed up automatically to several locations on a daily basis, and are securely kept for a period of 90 days. The Research Store is conveniently accessible from wherever and whenever required, and access can be granted to students and third parties when required.

For more information, see Storing and backing up.

How should I store confidential data?
Confidential data can be safely stored on the SHU Research Store under the condition that you set access rights appropriately.

For more information, see Storing and backing up.

What file formats should I use?
The safest option is to use open formats (such as comma-separated values or CSV) and not proprietary formats, although some proprietary formats (such as SPSS, PDF, Excel and Word) are widely used and likely to be accessible in the long term. Formats that enable long-term preservation and sharing of data are listed in the table with Recommended formats from the UK Data Service.

For more information, see Preserving.

What is meant by documentation and metadata?
If you return to your data in a month, or a year, or several years’ time, will you be able to understand your data and re-use it? Would another research be able to? Documentation and metadata should help with the long term usability of your data.

Metadata are strcutured information about the data. A repository may ask you, for example, to supply information in dedicated fields about your work (project title, creator) or any other information that would be required to allow a complete understanding of the data and the context within which it was created.

For more information, see

Do I have to make all my data available?
No. Not all data can be shared (e.g. non-anonymised personal data) and not all data is useful to share. The selection of data that you make available to third parties depends on

  • why you make the data available (for example for validation of research outputs or to allow further analysis of your data)
  • what data must be kept because of policies and regulations
  • what data should be kept because it is of long-term value

For more information, see Selecting.

Do I need to make the instruments (such as questionnaires) available as well?
Usually the answer would be yes, because third parties will not be able to make sense of your data without the instruments you used to collect the information.
Where can I find datasets to re-use in my own research or for educational purposes?
You can either search for datasets through the DataCite Metadata Search, where you can search for datasets with registered DOIs, or you can look for repositories that may contain interesting datasets, using the Registry of Research Data Repositories.
What is data?
Research data are hard to define. There is no consensus on a definition. What constitutes research data depends on the discipline, the research funder in question, and the context in which a definition is required.

In the case of Research Data Management, data may be usefully defined by its purpose, which could be

  • to produce original research results

‘Research data refers to any type of data created, collected or generated in a digital or non-digital form that is analysed to produce original research results.’
SHU’s research data management policy

  • to allow validation of research findings

Research data is defined as recorded factual material commonly retained by and accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings; although the majority of such data is created in digital format, all research data is included irrespective of the format in which it is created.’
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

What does all this jargon mean?