Canadian Research Agencies Seek Input on Data Policy

Categories: Big Data, Opportunities

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While the three Canadian agencies that fund research have improved their services and support for data management in recent years, gaps in the process remain.

To address these gaps, the three agencies — the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) – have crafted a new policy to support incremental, system-wide changes and capacity building and to recognizes the different contexts and capacities for data management across the nation and disciplines.

Following engagement with the research community over the past year, the agencies invite institutions, associations, organizations and individuals to comment on the draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy (PDF here) and its usefulness. The deadline for submissions has been extended to September 30. While all feedback is welcome, the agencies are specifically interested in comments on:

  • the impact of the suggested requirements (in section 3) for researchers, research communities and research institutions;
  • the ability of institutions and researchers to comply with those requirements;
  • the extent to which researchers and disciplinary communities are adopting data management best practices, including the use of data management plans;
  • the extent to which institutions are developing data management strategies, and what they have learned in doing so; and
  • the ideal timeline for implementing the policy.

The agencies also welcome feedback on the implications of this policy for Indigenous research and knowledge sharing.

The agencies will review and consider all consultation feedback as they develop the final policy text and implementation timeline. They plan to implement the policy incrementally, as determined through ongoing engagement with the research community and in step with the continuing development of research data practices and capacity in Canada and internationally.

The policy includes suggested requirements related to institutional data management strategies, researcher data management plans and data deposit. A release from government says the draft policy aligns with existing documents, such as the Tri-Agency Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (2014) and the CIHR data deposit requirement in the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (2015). It builds on the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management (2016), Capitalizing on Big Data: Toward a Policy Framework for Advancing Digital Scholarship in Canada (2013), and advice received through stakeholder engagement.

Research data management supports the effective and responsible conduct of research and increases the ability to store, find and reuse research data. A strong culture of data management will serve Canadian research excellence, support discovery and fuel innovation. It will also benefit Canadian researchers who are working in international partnerships and collaborations, as other funders around the globe are implementing and strengthening their data management requirements.

For more information of the review and input process, including FAQs and email addresses for submitting feedback, click HERE.


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