The Tri-Agencies released a new Research Data Management (RDM) Policy in March 2021 with the goal of promoting RDM and best practices in data stewardship among Canadian researchers. The policy states that “… research data collected through the use of public funds should be responsibly and securely managed and be, where ethical, legal and commercial obligations allow, available for reuse by others”. To facilitate the RDM policy’s implementation, the agencies will take a phased, incremental approach as follows:
Institutional strategies: By March 1st, 2023, each post-secondary institution and research hospital eligible to administer NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR funds is required to create an institutional RDM strategy, publicly post the strategy, and notify the agencies when completed.
Data management plans: In the spring of 2022, the agencies identified a subset of funding opportunities where researchers were required to submit a data management plan as part of the grant application process.
Data deposit: After reviewing the institutional RDM strategies, and in line with the readiness of the Canadian research community, the agencies will phase in the data deposit requirement. In addition to any existing sponsor requirements, grant recipients will be required to archive all digital research data, metadata and code that directly support research conclusions in journal publications and pre-prints into a digital repository, and “provide appropriate access to the data where ethical, cultural, legal and commercial requirements allow.” There is no current timeframe for this requirement.
The Tri-Agency RDM policy commits to supporting Indigenous self-determination and states that “data related to research by and with the First Nations, Métis, or Inuit whose traditional and ancestral territories are in Canada must be managed in accordance with data management principles developed and approved by these communities”. Lakehead University’s RDM Strategy will be implemented in collaboration with Indigenous researchers and will include specific responsibilities for research by and with Indigenous communities, while also connecting principles of Indigenous data sovereignty into general RDM best practices.
Lakehead University is committed to supporting its researchers by promoting best practices in RDM that will enable researchers to manage data within disciplinary contexts across the research data lifecycle. We will support these efforts by implementing a centralized and coordinated approach to delivering RDM support services that enables researchers to confer with RDM experts when they need to, understand best practices in RDM, and access the latest tools and technologies.
In response to the Tri-Agency RDM policy requirements, Lakehead University’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation established an RDM Advisory Committee that engaged the university’s research community in a consultation about the current and desired future state of RDM. The research communities’ feedback was carefully considered and informed the drafting of Lakehead University’s RDM institutional strategy. In addition, a regional Indigenous Research Data Management (IRDM) consortium was established. Work is ongoing and the strategy will be revised on a regular basis to incorporate new developments related to IRDM.
It should be noted that our RDM Strategy is not a policy, but a guiding document within which future RDM strategies can be developed and implemented in a collaborative way. Aligned with the Tri-Agency RDM Policy, Lakehead University’s RDM strategy is not an open data policy, and recognizes the importance of protecting ethical, legal, and commercial responsibilities and agreements.