ARCHIVED - Update: Research Data Strategy working group

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Gap analysis published

Ottawa, ON, January 12, 2009 –  The Research Data Strategy Working Group has completed a gap analysis of research data stewardship in Canada. Using the data lifecycle as a framework, the report examines Canada's current state versus an 'ideal state' based on existing international best practices across 10 indicators. The indicators include: policies, funding, roles and responsibilities, standards, data repositories, skills and training, accessibility, and preservation.

The analysis reveals significant barriers to the access and preservation of research data — barriers that could have a serious impact on the future of Canadian research and innovation if not addressed. For example, large amounts of data are being lost because of the woefully inadequate number of trusted data repositories in Canada.

Stewardship of Research Data in Canada: A Gap Analysis was prepared by Kathleen Shearer with input from the national RDS Working Group. Shearer is a member of the group and a research associate with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. The analysis was undertaken as part of the Working Group's efforts to address the challenges surrounding the access and preservation of data arising from the research process. The group's focus is on the actions and leadership roles researchers and institutions can take to ensure Canada's research data is accessible and usable for current and future generations of researchers.

The results of this gap analysis provide further evidence of the need to address these pressing issues and will feed the development of a national strategy for improving data stewardship in Canada. The full report is available on the Research Data Canada website.

In the last several months, the Working Group has also made progress on a number of other fronts. Three Task Groups have been established to support efforts in addressing the gaps identified in the analysis. The Task Groups are: 1. Policies, funding and research; 2. Infrastructure and services; and 3. Capacity (skills, training, and reward systems). The Capacity Task Group is currently developing a workshop on data management for researchers, which it hopes to begin offering in 2009.

Compute Canada has joined the Working Group and will contribute significant expertise in infrastructure and data storage.

The next steps for the Working Group are to develop an action plan and an engagement strategy to involve senior leaders from the various institutions represented on the Working Group. Please stay tuned for further updates in the near future.

For more information, contact:

Pam Bjornson
Chair, Research Data Strategy Working Group
Web site:

Director General
National Research Council's
Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI)
Tel.: 613-993-2341

Alison Cachia
Communications Officer, NRC-CISTI
Tel.: 613-991-2464