Research Data Management
The University of Manitoba has developed a research data management (RDM) strategy to enhance support for researchers across all disciplines. The strategy below is considered to be a living document, and feedback is welcome. Further opportunities to participate in this strategy development will be announced. Note: this strategy does not constitute a policy governing research data management practices, nor is it a mandate requiring widespread data sharing at this time.
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RDM occurs across data collection, documentation, storage, sharing as well as long-term preservation, and as such, RDM is fundamentally embedded in the lifecycle of all research projects.
As part of the requirements of the Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) research data management policy, each post-secondary institution and research hospital eligible to administer agency funds must create an institutional RDM strategy and notify the agency when it has been completed. The strategy must also be made publicly available on the University website with contact information to which inquiries about the strategy can be directed.
The Research Data Management strategy seeks to achieve the following:
- To meet the requirements of the Tri-Agency policy by providing researchers in all disciplines with appropriate levels of RDM support and to articulate the commitment of our University to developing capacity in RDM.
- To meet the RDM obligations of other funders and academic publishers.
- To develop a RDM culture at the University.
- To initiate conversations about RDM research partnerships including with Indigenous communities, industry, and other stakeholders.
The current strategy document is informed by the work of the RDM Committee since forming in 2021, including extensive baseline data gathering and community consultation. This strategy is considered a living document, and adjustments will be made periodically, based on feedback and policy updates as needed to reflect the rapidly changing landscape of RDM in Canada. In order to continue this work, the intention is to confer the current RDM Committee to an RDM Steering Committee for the next 5 years that will serve to achieve the goals articulated here.
Following a model developed by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, the committee completed a multi-phase data gathering process, including an inventory of institutional data assets and data management practices on campus, existing RDM support services and research data storage and research computing infrastructure overall as well as collecting the institution’s existing policies, procedures and best practices that relate to RDM.
As an additional means of assessing our RDM readiness, a scoring rubric referred to as the Maturity Assessment Model in Canada (MAMIC) was employed to evaluate the University’s maturity level on a scale of 0 (does not exist) to 4 (operationalized, launched and robust). The MAMIC was applied to 25 RDM elements in 4 broad categories including: Institutional Policies and Procedures, IT Infrastructure, Service and Support and Financial Support.
Community consultation occurred via survey and subsequent focus groups July – Sept 2022. The RDM survey was sent to current University of Manitoba researchers, and collected details on current researcher practices in the areas of data storage, data types being collected, opinions on desired RDM services and barriers and challenges in this area. Focus group participants volunteered through the survey for one of three conversations; Indigenous Data Sovereignty, Health research and a general RDM conversation. Further qualitative data was collected through this process as well as filling in some missing perspectives from the RDM Committee membership.
Together, the preparation documents and consultation materials formed the basis of understanding of the current RDM resources and services at the University of Manitoba.
- Jay Doering, Associate Vice-President (Partnerships);
- Lisa O’Hara, Vice-Provost (Libraries) & University Librarian;
- Tracy Mohr, Director, Research Services;
- Lynne Hiebert, Legal Counsel;
- Terry Bunio, Director, Planning and Governance (IST);
- Robert Hoppa, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Arts;
- Josée Lavoie, Director of Ongomiizwin Research Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing;
- Randall Jamieson, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies;
- Hope Anderson, Vice-Dean Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies, RFHS; Associate Dean, Research, College of Pharmacy;
- Jordan Bass, Coordinator, Research Services & Digital Strategies (Libraries)
Indigenous data sovereignty
The University recognizes the right of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples to self-determination and the right to own, control, access, possess, and protect research data created by and with their communities (OCAP Principles are one such model).
Indigenous data sovereignty is specifically mentioned in the Tri-Agency policy, and this strategy recognizes Indigenous research methodologies and data governance, including provisions for data ownership, research authorship and data sharing. The University’s Working in Good Ways framework is an integral component of this strategy.
The University of Manitoba also has data and artifacts that were acquired before calls emerged to engage in research with Indigenous peoples more ethically by acquiring consent. As data and artifacts are also stored by the University without the consent of the Indigenous peoples who were the subjects of the research, they will be subject to discussions with community regarding repatriation which may result in the full return of the artifacts and datasets, data surrogacy, or the sharing of digital copies.
The University will continue to look at innovative, collaborative and respectful pathways to manage research data and artifacts relating to Indigenous peoples and communities moving forward, while at the same time determining its role in building RDM capacity with Indigenous communities and organizations.
This strategy applies to all University of Manitoba researchers including faculty, staff and students. The first objective of the strategy will be to ensure that University’s Tri-Agency-funded researchers have access to the technologies and service supports needed to demonstrate informed data management practices.
The concept of data encompasses a range of content, forms, and purposes including but not limited to numerical measurements, observations, verbal interviews, literary analyses, health administrative data, Indigenous local knowledge, audio and video recordings, analysis scripts, as well as personal notes. As noted in the Tri-Agency policy “what is considered relevant research data is often highly contextual, and determining what counts as such should be guided by disciplinary norms.” The intention of this institutional RDM strategy is to support the work of researchers as it relates to the collection, analyses, storage, access, and preservation of their data. This strategy is not intended to undermine or interfere with the professional and/or cultural judgements of researchers on the responsible stewardship of the data they collect or the obligations they are expected to uphold related to personal privacy and Indigenous data sovereignty.
The University of Manitoba is committed to the use of RDM standards and best practices. As articulated by the Tri-Agency, research data management supports research excellence “by ensuring that research is performed ethically and makes good use of public funds, experiments and studies are replicable, and research results are as accessible as possible. Research data management (RDM) is a necessary part of research excellence.”
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The RDM Committee acknowledges that new administrative requirements may place an unequal burden on diverse members of the research community who are often asked to carry out additional service to the University community. As guided by the University’s EDI Report and Recommendations, the University EDI Lead and other unit EDI advisors/directors are committed to promoting awareness and understanding of EDI and to advancing these principles within University’s mission of teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and service. We believe that the University of Manitoba should reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, ensuring access and opportunity for all. We are committed to building a learning and working environment where differences are valued and respected, where inequities and barriers to full participation are identified and eliminated, and where all students, staff, and faculty feel a sense of safety, support, and belonging.
Supporting UM Researchers
The University of Manitoba acknowledges its commitment to supporting its research community through implementing sound RDM practices and providing the technologies and services necessary to help researchers incorporate RDM into their work.
The University of Manitoba encourages collaboration across all of its units supporting RDM. The University acknowledges the importance of partnership in research and extends this spirit of collaboration to RDM best practices within its own institution as well as with those institutions, organizations and communities with whom the University engages in the broader research enterprise.
Uniqueness of Research and RDM
The University of Manitoba acknowledges the complexity of incorporating RDM practices across differing research disciplines and methodologies as well as differing ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks. The University furthermore acknowledges and values the diversity of its researchers and their academic disciplines. The University is committed to providing the appropriate RDM support that is required for all research environments while at the same time maintaining a consistent standard of support throughout.
RDM is supported by several departments at the University and our overarching goal moving forward is to identify those services and make them more visible, accessible, efficient and equitable for all researchers.
Specific areas of action are listed below. In order to complete this work, the current RDM Committee will be conferred to a Steering Committee for at least 5 years, to oversee working groups and set goals and objectives overall.
Comprehensive outreach plan over the next 5 years
There is a need for more widespread awareness of RDM services. The University will continue the RDM Steering Committee for the next 5 years, including working groups or projects as needed. The University will launch a transparent and regularly updated website connected to the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International) (VPRIO), housing the University Institutional Strategy and work that comes from the strategy over the next 5 years. The University will deliver regular communication to its research community via email (VPRIO) regarding services and any policy or procedural changes as needed, as well as through other communications avenues as needed.
Collaborative RDM support services
The University of Manitoba has three primary units that support RDM: Libraries, Information Services & Tecnology (IST) and the Office of Research Services (ORS). These support services cover areas such as data management planning, data repositories, RDM guidance and training, as well as consultation on how to meet the RDM requirements of grant funders.
The University will establish a working group with senior-level ORS, IST and Libraries personnel that will report to the RDM Steering Committee in order to assess RDM supports and service levels across all areas and develop a shared plan for future endeavors.
Interdepartmental collaboration on RDM policies and procedures
The administrative overhead for researchers is already substantial and RDM requirements only promises to increase the amount of work that must be completed before projects get underway.
A working group comprised of the Office of Research Services, Office of Legal Counsel, Research Ethics Board(s), Information Services & Technology, Access and Privacy Office and Libraries will be established and report to the RDM Steering Committee.This working group will work collaboratively to review University policies and procedures related to RDM with the goal of minimizing duplication or contradictory guidance.
Several challenges related to recognizing Indigenous research methodologies and data governance, including provisions for data ownership, research authorship and data sharing, were raised through the consultation phase of this strategy. Addressing these challenges will take time and requires more input from Indigenous members within the University.
The University will establish conversations with stakeholders within the institution such as the Office of the Vice-President (Indigenous), National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, and others to look at ways to better support Indigenous research methodologies and data sovereignty, including processes for addressing the repatriation of historical data and artifacts held by the University. The University endorses the Working in Good Ways framework as a core component of this strategy.
Harmonizing RDM with health research in Manitoba
Sensitive health research data created, stored and shared within the online University environment and beyond, navigating the inherent multi-institutional policies and procedures, as well as the ethical and legal concerns therein, all pose significant RDM challenges.
The University will establish an RDM working group that will focus on health research related issues within the University but also with Shared Health and Research Manitoba among other stakeholders in Manitoba. This group will also investigate ways to streamline internal procedures related to health research and RDM.
Oversight and review
This is a living document that will be updated periodically. This strategy will be overseen by the Office of the VPRI. At the end of the 5-year term outlined in this document, activity and resources will be re-assessed. As the UM Strategic Plan is currently under development, our intention is to work with that plan in mind as progress is made on RDM support and services.
The University is committed to building a RDM culture. In many areas, resources and services currently exist to support this work.
Our immediate objective is to strive for equitable or fair access to RDM support in all research areas, and to continue to work towards a collaborative culture across RDM service teams. Over the next five years, this strategy will be a guide, with the understanding that it is a living document and will require adaptation during this period of immense growth in RDM understanding, infrastructure and requirements. The University will review and assess staffing requirements to support RDM and will continue to provide awareness-raising activities.
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Abbreviations/terms commonly used in this document
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Data Management Plan
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Information Services and Technology, University of Manitoba
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Office of Research Services, University of Manitoba
Research Data Management
Research Ethics Board(s), University of Manitoba
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Office of the Vice-President (Research and International), University of Manitoba
Additional terminology definitions
All primary data that are used to support and validate research outcomes (publications, technical reports, policy, etc.).
Research data management
Those processes involved in the management, preservation and access of data used in a research project. Data management encompasses all actions taken upon data throughout the research lifecycle from data collection to data publication. Specifics actions of data management included, but are not reserved to file naming, version control, dataset access/restrictions, file format migration, metadata authoring, data integrity validation, and data deposit.
Data is information, observations, measurements or some other form of documentation about a place, person, event, animal or phenomenon. It may be digital or non-digital. Sensitive data is Information that may be regulated by law due to possible risk for plants, animals, individuals and/or communities and for public and private organizations. Sensitive personal data as a specific subset of sensitive data include information related to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership and data concerning the health or sex life of an identifiable (or potentially identifiable) individual. All sensitive data are data that could potentially cause harm through their disclosure.
RDM Resources at UM
Guidance and support for Research Data Management questions can be provided by:
Office of the Vice-President (Research and International)
Room 110 Administration Building
66 Chancellor's Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada