Data Policy
29 Nov 2010







This policy describes how ISIS handles curation, access, ownership, usage, and storage of data collected at the facility, along with the responsibilities users of ISIS have pertaining to these topics.

ISIS is committed to the principles of FAIR data in order to support research, and the advancement of knowledge and technology. We release data in common, accessible formats under a permissive Creative Commons license, along with detailed metadata in a variety of human and machine readable formats.

ISIS data management policy

1. General principles

1.1 Acceptance of this policy is a condition of the award of beamtime at the ISIS Neutron and Muon facility (ISIS).

1.2 Users must not attempt to access, exploit or distribute ISIS data unless they are entitled to do so under the terms of this policy.

1.3 Deliberate infringements of the policy may lead to denial of access to data and/or denial of future beamtime requests.

2. Definitions

2.1 The term ‘raw data’ refers to the original data collected from neutron or muon detectors or imaging cameras.

2.2 The term ‘facility generated reduced data’ refers to raw data that have been automatically processed by facility-provided computing infrastructure with the purpose of, for example, removing unwanted signals in the raw data. Data manually reduced by the users of the facility are not covered by this term.

2.3 The term ‘metadata’ is information pertaining to data collected from experiments performed on ISIS instruments and data collected from creating facility generated reduced data. This includes (but is not limited to) the context of the experiment, scripts used to generate reduced data, the experimental team (in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the ISIS Privacy Policy), experimental conditions and other logistical information.

2.4 The term ‘result data’ refers to data and intellectual property arising from the manual reduction of raw data and associated metadata, and from the analysis of raw data, facility generated reduced data and associated metadata.

2.5 The term ‘principal investigator’ (PI) pertains to the PI identified on the ISIS experiment proposal.

2.6 The term ‘experimental team’ includes the PI and any other person to whom the PI designates the right to access resultant raw data, facility generated reduced and associated metadata.

2.7 The term ‘on-line catalogue’ pertains to a computer database of metadata containing links to raw data files, that can be accessed by a variety of methods, including (but not limited to) web browsers.

2.8 The term ‘facility-provided computing infrastructure’ pertains to computing infrastructure provided by the ISIS facility.

2.9 The term ‘long-term’ means a minimum of ten years.

2.10 The term ‘medium-term’ means a minimum of 6 months.

2.11 The term ‘curation’ denotes the long-term storage, backup and protection of data in a manner that respects and guarantees the prescribed access-rights.

2.12 The term ‘embargo period’ denotes the period of time in which access to data is restricted to the experimental team only. ‘Embargoed data’ is data still within an embargo period.

3. Raw data, facility generated reduced data and associated metadata

3.1 Free and proprietary access to ISIS

3.1.1 All raw data and associated metadata obtained as a result of free (non-proprietary) access to ISIS will be treated as described in the rest of this section, with ISIS acting as the custodian.

3.1.2 All raw data and associated metadata obtained as a result of proprietary access to ISIS will be owned exclusively by the proprietary user. This data will be treated as described in the rest of this section, but will only ever be accessible to members of the experimental team, unless requested otherwise according to 3.4.4.

3.1.3 The principal investigator on a proprietary experiment can request any raw data or associated metadata obtained as part of the experiment be deleted from ISIS storage at any time.

3.2 Curation of raw data and associated metadata

3.2.1 All raw data will be created in standardized formats, for which the means of reading the data will be made available by ISIS.

3.2.2 Metadata associated with raw data that is automatically captured by instruments will be curated either within the raw data files, within an associated on-line catalogue, or within both.

3.2.3 Raw data and metadata will be stored initially on instrument-related computers, and will be migrated or copied to archival facilities for long-term curation.

3.3 Storing of facility generated reduced data and associated metadata

3.3.1 All facility generated reduced data will be created in well-defined formats that are readable at the time of creation either by facility or non-facility software, or both.

3.3.2 Facility generated reduced data will be stored on medium-term storage, subject to volume restrictions.

3.4 Concerning access to raw data and associated metadata

3.4.1 Raw data and metadata beyond the period that it is stored on instrument-related computers will long-term be accessible and searchable from the on-line catalogue.

3.4.2 Access to raw data obtained from an experiment is restricted to the experimental team for an embargo period of three years after the end of the experiment. Thereafter, it will become available to the wider community under the CC-BY license that obliges users to acknowledge ISIS and cite Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) that are linked to ISIS data. Any PI that wishes their data to remain ‘restricted access’ for a longer period will be required to make a special case to the Director of ISIS.

3.4.3 ISIS is required to comply with national legislation regarding personal and sensitive data. In such cases, even if the experiment is a result of grant funding, access to this data will remain restricted.

3.4.4 Personal and sensitive data is handled in compliance with all ethical requirements.

3.4.5 Some elements of the metadata associated with an experiment, such as the title, may be made publicly accessible at any time. This applies to all proposals regardless of whether they are allocated beamtime. Elements that can be made public are indicated to applicants during the proposals process and within the ISIS Privacy Policy. All other elements of the associated metadata are not made public at any time.

3.4.6 Any PI who wishes their data to be made publicly accessible before the end of the embargo period can ask ISIS to enable this by emailing We aim to respond to all requests within 72 hours.

3.5 Concerning access to facility generated reduced data and associated metadata

3.5.1 Facility generated reduced data and associated metadata will be accessible from the facility-provided computing infrastructure.

3.6 Concerning access to raw data, facility generated reduced data and associated metadata

3.6.1 Access to the facility-provided computing infrastructure is restricted to those who register with STFC/ISIS as users.

3.6.2 Access to embargoed data through the on-line catalogue will be restricted to experimental team members who register with STFC/ISIS as users. Data that is not under embargo will be openly accessible.

3.6.3 It is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that the experiment number (RB number) is correctly entered into the metadata for each raw data set, in order to correctly associate each data set with the PI. If this is not done, the experimental team may not be able to access the data via the on-line catalogue and any facility-provided computing infrastructure, and other users may inadvertently be given access rights to the data.

3.6.4 Appropriate STFC staff (e.g. instrument scientists, computing group members) may be given access to any ISIS data or metadata for facility-related purposes. ISIS undertakes to preserve the confidentiality of such data for the embargo period.

3.6.5 The on-line catalogue will enable the linking of experimental data to experimental proposals. Access to proposals will only ever be provided to the experimental team and appropriate STFC staff, unless otherwise authorized by the PI (with the exception of those parts of the online proposal which are flagged as publicly accessible within the proposal system).

4. Result data

4.1 Ownership of result data

4.1.1 Ownership of all result data derived from users manually reducing and/or analysing raw data using ISIS resources is determined by the contractual obligations of the person(s) performing the analysis.

4.2 Storing and curation of result data

4.2.1 It will not be the responsibility of ISIS to ensure that software to read / manipulate result data is available.

4.2.2 Result data created by users of facility-provided computing infrastructure will be stored on medium-term storage, subject to volume restrictions.

4.2.3 For STFC staff, the eData service is provided to upload result data and associated metadata for long-term storage, subject to volume restrictions. ISIS currently does not provide any such facility for non-STFC staff.

4.3 Access to result data

4.3.1 Access to the result data of analyses performed on raw data and metadata is restricted to the person or persons performing the analyses, unless otherwise requested by those persons.

5. Good practice for metadata capture and result data storage

5.1 The experimental team is encouraged to ensure that experimental metadata are as complete as possible, as this will enhance the possibilities for them to search for, retrieve and interpret their own data in the future.

5.2 ISIS undertakes to provide facilities for the capture of such metadata items that are not automatically captured by an instrument, in order to facilitate recording the fullest possible description of the raw data.

5.3 Researchers who aim to carry out analyses of ISIS data made available after the embargo period should, in addition to citing the data DOI also, where possible, contact the original PI to inform them and suggest a collaboration if appropriate.

5.4 PIs and researchers are encouraged to make result data they generate open access, and to link such data to available ISIS data DOIs.

6. Publication information

6.1 For STFC staff, references for publications related to experiments carried out at ISIS must be deposited in the STFC e-Pubs system and comply with relevant UKRI and STFC open access policies.

6.2 All publications related to experiments carried out at ISIS are obliged to acknowledge ISIS and cite data DOIs of the experiments.

Policy review

The ISIS data policy is reviewed on an annual basis by a group of ISIS staff to keep it as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions, please either email or comment on/open an issue at

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3827816

Links to previous Data Policy versions

April 2023 to March 2024

April 2022 to March 2023

April 2021 to March 2022

March 2020 to March 2021

Prior to March 2020

Contact: Gigg, Martyn (STFC,RAL,ISIS)