Download the draft strategy as a PDF Provide feedback on the Strategy
What is research data?
Research data is any information that has been collected, observed, generated, or created to validate original research findings. This includes “facts, measurements, recordings, records, or observations … [that] may be in any format or medium taking the form of text, numbers, symbols, images, films, video, sound, recordings, pictorial reproductions, drawings, designs or other graphical representations, procedural manuals, forms, diagrams, workflows, equipment descriptions, data files, data processing algorithms, software, programming languages, code, or statistical records."
Importance of Research Data Management
Research Data Management (RDM) “encompasses the processes applied throughout the lifecycle of a research project to guide the collection, documentation, storage, sharing, and preservation of research data, and allows researchers to find and access data.” Sound RDM practices increase the efficiency of the research process. Not only does it guide researchers on the effective storage, archival, and disposal of research materials and data; but also facilitates future reuse and sharing of data and/or the replication of research results. In many cases, RDM is necessary to satisfy requirements of granting agencies and research ethics boards. Research data is an asset and its management benefits researchers, collaborators, the academic community, governments, and the public.
In March 2021, the Tri-Agency released the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. This policy seeks to support Canadian research excellence by promoting sound data management and data stewardship practices. As the policy states, “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.” Post-secondary institutions eligible to administer Tri-Agency funds must develop and publish an institutional RDM strategy that outlines how the institution will enable and support RDM. This strategy complies with that requirement. It is not a policy or an open-science strategy.
This strategy was developed by an RDM Institutional Strategy Working Group comprised of representatives from key support units (e.g., the Office of Research and Innovation Services, University Library, Information Technology) and research data users.
The Scope and Stakeholders
This strategy applies to all research, scholarship, and creative activity undertaken at the University of Lethbridge as defined in the Research Policy.
The implementation of this strategy is a collaborative effort among university leaders, administrative support units, and the research community. Each stakeholder plays a unique role in promoting and supporting RDM at the University of Lethbridge.
- University leadership (University Librarian, Vice-President Research, Associate Vice-President Information Technology, Faculty/School Deans). These stakeholders provide data leadership by championing the research data management strategy; developing strategies, policies, and procedures to guide RDM; and providing the resources necessary to support the strategy’s implementation.
- Administrative support units (Office of Research and Innovation Services, University Library, Information Technology Services, Records Management). This stakeholder group plays an important role in the implementation of the RDM strategy. Primary activities revolve around the development of resources and training materials, and the coordination of services and training activities.
- Research community (researchers, research staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows). These stakeholders incorporate data management best practices into their research. They provide feedback on their RDM needs, disciplinary standards, and other requirements to inform the institution’s strategy. Within this group are the data champions who promote and advocate for RDM best practices.
We assert the following:
- Data, in all its forms, is an important research output.
- Researchers are encouraged to adopt RDM practices regardless of funding source.
- Researchers require support to implement RDM practices that address ethical, legal, and commercial obligations, as well as Tri-Agency requirements.
- The University of Lethbridge follows the Tri-Agency RDM Policy and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – 2nd edition in respecting a distinction-based approach in managing data related to research by and with the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities and in accordance with data management principles developed and approved by these communities.
- As much as possible, resources to support implementation of RDM should result from cost recovery via external grants, repurposing existing resources, and collaborative internal and external resourcing.
The ideal state
The University of Lethbridge wishes to foster a research data management culture where University of Lethbridge researchers are aware of data management planning tools, repositories, and resources but also incorporate them throughout the research process. This strategy will support University of Lethbridge researchers in adopting responsible and sustainable RDM practices as outlined in the FAIR Data Principles. This will be achieved by focusing on three overarching goals:
- Establish an organizational framework to support research data management,
- Increase institutional awareness and capacity in RDM, and
- Support RDM practices.
Goals and Strategic Initiatives