Research Data Management Strategy

In March, 2021, the Tri-Agency (CIHR/IRHR, SSHRC/CRSH, NSERC/CRSNG) released its Research Data Management (RDM) Policy with the objective “to support Canadian research excellence by promoting sound RDM and data stewardship practises.” – Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy

The policy sets the expectation that Tri-Agency funded research is to be conducted to the highest professional and disciplinary standards, both domestically and internationally. It notes, “These standards support 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 is a necessary part of research excellence.” – RDM Policy 1. Preamble

“To this end, the agencies support the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) guiding principles research data management and stewardship.” – RDM Policy 1. Preamble

This policy outlines three distinct phases along with the requirements for each: 

  1. Institutional Strategy for RDM – Due March 1, 2023

    Research institutions have an important role in supporting RDM. By developing institutional RDM strategies research organisations can work through their gaps and address how they are going to improve them. By examining and expanding on individual  RDM strategies, it is believed that institutions will develop iterative solutions that meet unique needs while also promoting collaboration with other research institutions.

    The Tri-Agency will publish the links to individual institutional strategies at It is recognized that each institution will be at its own respective stage in developing an RDM strategy and that these documents are iterative in nature.
  2. Data Management Plans (DMP) – Staggered implementation

    Beginning in Fall 2022 through Winter 2023, the CIHR/IRSC will require DMPs for the following grants:
    • Network Grants in Skin Health and Muscular Dystrophy
    • Data Science for Equity
    • Virtual Care/Digital Health Team Grants

    In Summer 2023, SSHRC/CRSH will require DMPs for the following grants:
    • Partnership Grants Phase 2

    In Summer 2023, NSERC/CRSNG will require DMPs for the following grants:
    • Subatomic Physics Discovery Grants (Individual and Project)
  3. Data Deposit – TBD

    This phase will be implemented once the institutional strategies are reviewed and are aligned with the readiness of the Canadian research community.

Lethbridge College’s RDM Strategy

Lethbridge College recognizes data as an important research output. It supports its researchers in their efforts to establish and implement data management practices that are ethical, legal, and in compliance with commercial obligations and Tri Agency requirements including the:

Located in the central area of lands traditionally occupied by Siksikaitsitapi, the Blackfoot Confederacy, Lethbridge College is committed to adopting responsible data management practices that respects Indigenous data sovereignty. In alignment with Theme 5: Research and Innovation in Coming Together in A Holistic Way: Lethbridge College’s Niitsitapi Strategy, the College seeks to enhance Indigenous applied research, innovation, and entrepreneurship opportunities through partnership with Indigenous communities, businesses, organizations, and peoples.

This will be achieved through the following priority objectives:

These objectives including Lethbridge College’s data management strategy will be guided by Kakyosin, a Blackfoot language concept referring to the Blackfoot peoples understanding of alignment and alliance and the order or patterns in nature, ways of being and doing that can be discerned through keen observance and can be applied to the ways we organize.

It is important to note that Lethbridge College’s RDM Strategy will be flexible and iterative over time. It is meant to reflect best practices and where appropriate, allow data to be accessible. It is not meant to be a policy.


Strategy Development Background

The release of the Tri-Agency RDM Policy in Spring 2021 was followed by an initial round of information gathering during the Fall and Winter of 2021/2022 as the College sought to understand the RDM Policy within a college context.

In Winter 2022, the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CARIE) formed an RDM committee to continue data gathering activities both internally and determine what additional committee representation was required.

Initial committee members included:

  • CARIE Contracts & Compliance Officer
  • Institutional Compliance Coordinator
  • Information and Technology Services (ITS) Security Analyst

Of particular concern, were the potential implications for data sharing given the majority of research at Lethbridge College is conducted in partnership with industry. There was concern that applied research involving private companies might be seriously affected if the institution was required to share information about company projects. This stemmed from projects where a partner’s intellectual property was central to project outcomes.

The committee examined various assessment models for developing a data management strategy such as the RDM Maturity Assessment Model in Canada (MAMIC) and the Portage Network’s Institutional Research Data Management Strategy Template. Using these, the committee began to work towards developing a survey to assess Lethbridge College’s current research data management needs.

However, with personnel transition in Summer 2022, the work of the initial committee was delayed. As developing a data management strategy remained a priority, the College hired Knot Two Consulting Ltd., in September 2022 to prepare a comprehensive report on college-specific data management strategies that would act as a clear roadmap for the development of Lethbridge College’s own strategy. This report was presented to the College in February 2023.

Concurrent with the development of Knot Two’s report, in January 2023, Lethbridge College formed Kakyosin (“coming to know” in Blackfoot) which is an Indigenous Informed Research Committee comprised of 15 external and internal stakeholders who are learning from each other and expanding their understanding of Indigenous-informed research protocols and methodologies through traditional gatherings and ceremonies.

The group, led by knowledge keepers, is instrumental in ensuring First Nations’ Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP) and Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse (FAIR) principles are honoured in research partnerships, projects, knowledge dissemination opportunities, and data management practices.

Current State

The findings of the initial RDM committee, the roadmap provided by Knot Two Consulting, and the process outlined by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada: Institutional Research Data Management Strategy Development Template v. 3.0 have informed the following steps to developing a robust strategy:

Stage 1: Reassemble the Strategy Development Committee
Goal: Create a new institutional team of stakeholders to develop the RDM strategy.
Status: Complete

An expanded RDM committee has been re-engaged that includes the following members:

  • Manager of Applied Research Operations - CARIE
  • Institutional Compliance Coordinator
  • Information and Technology Services (ITS) Security Analyst
  • Research Ethics Board Coordinator
  • Indigenous Services Student Support and Events Coordinator
  • Researcher Representatives
  • Library Coordinator, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation 

This committee will report its findings directly to senior leadership through regular reports to the Director of Applied Research Operations and the Vice-President of Research & Partnerships.

Stage 2: Assess the Current State of RDM at Lethbridge College
Goal: Determine the current state of institutional available RDM services, resources, staffing, and external supports.
Status: Ongoing

Using the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) Research Infrastructure Self-Evaluation (RISE) Framework the College will benchmark its current RDM status. This will begin in Spring 2023.

The College has also completed the draft of an internal survey that will be distributed in Spring 2023. Complementary to the RISE Framework tool, this survey will further inform the College of its current and future RDM needs.

The results of both activities will identify current gaps within the institution. These gaps will then be charted, with tasks, goals (developed using RISE capacity levels), and timelines assigned to each. 

This chart will be posted onto the Lethbridge College Research Data Management Strategy website and updated regularly.

Stage 3: Envision the Future State of RDM at Lethbridge College
Goal: Determine the desired near-to-medium term (3-5 years) future state of RDM.
Status: Ongoing

Using the RISE Framework, the RDM committee will identify future institutional RDM needs. Other activities during this stage will include:

  • Promoting awareness of RDM.
  • Developing and providing training opportunities on RDM to researchers.
  • Provide training on OCAP and CARE principles to researchers and staff.
  • Developing a Data Management Plan template.
  • Evaluating and determining appropriate data repositories within Lethbridge College including budget requirements.
  • Consulting with industry partners and stakeholders for external input.

Stage 4: Articulate the Path Forward
Goal: Describe the necessary actions and resources required to realize the future of RDM at Lethbridge College.
Status: Ongoing

Activities within this stage will include:

  • Writing and revising relevant Lethbridge College policies.
  • Writing and revising relevant Lethbridge College agreement templates to reflect RDM policies.
  • Determining where ongoing RDM compliance will be housed and what current and future budgeting is required.
  • Ongoing support for researchers and students including data storage.

Stage 5: Launch the RDM Strategy
Goal: Write, obtain approval for, launch, and promote Lethbridge College’s RDM strategy.
Status: Not Started

It is anticipated that refining, revising, and completing the tasks required for launching the RDM strategy will be a multi-year process, with the final version of the strategy launched during the 2026/2027 academic year.