Introducing the Institutional Research Data Management Strategy

The research data management strategy will support researchers in accessing, managing and using data, helping them enhance their research outcomes.

Research & Collections Resource Facility, University of Alberta Archives

Research & Collections Resource Facility, University of Alberta Archives

Researchers are aware that good and effective research data management leads to research excellence and supports open scholarship. To support efforts towards effective and responsible data stewardship, the offices of the Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and the University of Alberta Library (UAL) are pleased to introduce the U of A’s Institutional Research Data Management (RDM) Strategy.

The RDM strategy — a roadmap that will continue to develop through ongoing community engagement — is a useful tool for assisting researchers in working with the many differenttypes of dataused for research and ensuring that they are governed in a way that is responsible and ethical. The strategy additionally helps the U of A to ensure the appropriate stewardship of research data, supporting positive research relationships and outcomes, grant-funding success, and helping to ensure that research programs are both efficient and effective.

By launching this strategy, which should be considered a work in progress, we seek to support our research community in achieving positive outcomes for our society and the world through a focus on research excellence.

Defining research data

Broadly defined, research data are any digital and non-digital artifacts used to support research and scholarship, and that are used as evidence in the research process, and these may additionally include documentation and metadata generated or used to support research activities. Informed by the FAIR Principles — findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable — the RDM strategy will help researchers to effectively manage research data across their lifecycle, from the early stages of project design and development to the long-term stewardship of data.

The U of A is considered at the forefront amongst Canadian universities in research data management, with nationally recognized leaders, and notably with respect to key areas such as data management planning and data repositories, and the University of Alberta Library hosts nationally the Digital Research Alliance of Canada DMP Assistant tool. The U of A recognizes that RDM is a shared responsibility, and will continue to support these areas and to help connect the community to resources and services. As such, the RDM strategy outlines how it will increase awareness of the excellent support and resources available across our institution, providing researchers with RDM-related knowledge and capacity for increasing their chance of success in grant applications.

Managing data involves many stakeholders. Researchers, administrators, and funders across many organizations and institutions work together to ensure the effective management of research data. In addition to being informed by the FAIR principles, the strategy also considers principles supporting Indigenous data governance, including the CARE Principles, which highlight considerations regarding Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics, as well as the First Nations Principles of OCAP®, developed by the First Nation Information Governance Centre, and which recognize and establish the importance of Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession with respect to First Nations’ information and data.

A roadmap for future development

The U of A’s RDM Strategy is not a policy, but rather it is a roadmap to help guide the development and implementation of good and effective RDM supports and services, and it will evolve over time. It will contribute to the assessment of the U of A’s current state of research data management support and services, identify its ideal state, and help to address gaps. Over the course of its implementation, the strategy will develop through community engagement..

The release of the RDM strategy ensures that the U of A meets the requirements of the first pillar of the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, which requires all post-secondary institutions and research hospitals eligible for administering Tri-Agency funds to develop and release a public-facing RDM strategy.

This RDM strategy was created through the collective participation and effort of many key areas, offices, and people across the U of A over the course of a number of years. In 2018, an RDM Advisory Group developed A Statement of Strategic Principles for Research Data Management at the University of Alberta - which helped guide the development of this RDM strategy. In 2019, a core Institutional RDM Strategy (IRDMS) Working Group was established and collaborated regularly to draft the strategy. With representation from VPRI, UAL, and Information Services and Technology, the group will continue to operate — alongside stakeholders across the institution — to implement the strategy. We thank the IRDMS Working Group, as well as their many collaborators, for their contributions and commitment.

The U of A Institutional RDM strategy will support research excellence and researcher success, better connecting researchers with the excellent resources available to our community, providing them with more opportunities and support to manage research data effectively.

We all have a role in supporting research excellence at our institution, and we encourage you to review the U of A’s Institutional RDM strategy, to provide input on it, and to participate in its ongoing development and implementation.

Together, we can demonstrate how our world-class community is leading with purpose in research data stewardship.

Dale Askey

Vice-Provost & Chief Librarian, Library and Museums - Chief Librarian Office

Aminah Robinson Fayek

Vice-President (Research and Innovation)