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Research Data Management

Research Data Sharing and Management:  An Introduction

Sharing scholarly research data and making it widely accessible has many important benefits. A great deal of research data has been lost in the past by not being well managed, organized or kept available in accessible formats.

In recent years the Government of Canada, Canada's Tri-agency funding agencies, and many global organizations have strongly committed to open science, open scholarship, and open access to research data. Canada's commitment is outlined in the document Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation.  


“In order to pursue important research questions, scientist and scholars are increasing looking to harness large and complex data systems ("big data") and adopt "open science" policies to foster collaboration” - Government of Canada.

“Sharing the data behind scholarly research promotes the best features of science and scholarship: transparency, high quality and replicability.” - University of New Brunswick Libraries.

Research data must be well managed, in order to be shared. That is to say, data needs to be be carefully organized and described, from the outset, in order to be effectively used by others in the future.  

Research data management includes planning for collection, documentation of research data, as well as arranging for data access, and the long term storage, and preservation.

This process includes:

  • Creating a data management plan using the National Data Management Planning (DMP) Assistant.
  • Finding the best metadata schema for the data project.
  • Depositing of data into a reputable data repositoryThis might include a subject discipline repository, and/or or the Saint Mary’s University research data repository SMU Dataverse.



Source: How to avoid a data management nightmare, by Karen Hanson, Kevin Read & Alisa Surkis, New York University Health Sciences Library under a CC-BY license. 

Common Questions

What if I haven't finished my research yet?

You can set an embargo date on deposited data to prevent others from having access until after your research is complete and published. In the meantime, your data is safe, well-documented, and available exclusively to you and your research team.   

Do I retain Copyright?

Depositing data into a repository does not generally affect copyright ownership. Depositors can specify conditions with which secondary users must compy to when accessing deposited data. Data are normally shared for research and teaching purposes only, and not for commercial purposes.

What kinds of research data can be deposited?

We consider a wide variety of data types and sources from all disciplines. Contact us with any questions.  

(some of the contents/images for this guide were adapted/used from both Queens and Dalhousie RDM guides)