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Open Letter

Launch of the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy and a new requirement for postsecondary institutions and research hospitals

To all postsecondary institutions and research hospitals eligible to administer CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC funds:

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (the agencies) are pleased to announce the release of the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy (RDM Policy).

The RDM Policy is the result of extensive engagement with the research community, including an online consultation that took place in 2018. The policy builds on the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management and has been designed to support Canadian research excellence by fostering sound digital data management and data stewardship practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the critical role that research data management plays in building a research system that reflects the FAIR principles of data being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The RDM Policy reinforces these FAIR principles. It also supports Canadian research integrity and cybersecurity by promoting best practices for safeguarding your research. Further, it recognizes the distinct considerations for data governance and management in the context of First Nations, Inuit and Métis research and supports the objectives of the strategic plan Setting new Directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019–2020, released by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee in January 2020.

The agencies will take a phased, incremental approach to policy implementation. The first requirement is that, by March 1, 2023, each postsecondary institution and research hospital eligible to administer CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC funds must create and share, with the agencies and on its website, an institutional research data management strategy that describes how the institution will provide its researchers with an environment that enables and supports RDM (section 3.1 of the RDM Policy). In recognition of the impact of the pandemic on the research community, the deadline for this policy requirement is set at two years following the policy launch.

The Portage Network of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries has developed an institutional strategy template and guidance document, which provides excellent advice to support institutions. In addition, the agencies will host webinars in the coming months to provide an overview of the RDM Policy and answer questions from the community.

The policy also includes two requirements for researchers, which will be phased in over the coming years: one related to research data management plans (section 3.2 ); and one related to data deposits (section 3.3).

Should you have questions about this new requirement for postsecondary institutions and research hospitals, or any other aspect of the new policy, we encourage you to contact the agencies through the following email addresses:

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We look forward to working with you.


Michael Strong
President
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Alejandro Adem
President
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Chair
Canada Research Coordinating Committee

Ted Hewitt
President
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

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