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Research Data Management


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (the agencies) are pleased to announce the launch of the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. The agencies would like to thank the stakeholders and partners who contributed to the policy’s development.


The agencies developed the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy to support Canadian research excellence by fostering sound digital data management and data stewardship practices.

The policy includes requirements related to institutional research data management (RDM) strategies, data management plans (DMPs), and data deposit. It is aligned with the data deposit requirement in the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (2015), CIHR’s Health Research and Health-Related Data Framework (2017), the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans—TCPS 2 (2018), and the agencies’ Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019-2022 (2019).

The importance of research data management

RDM refers to the processes applied through the lifecycle of a research project to guide the collection, documentation, storage, sharing and preservation of research data.

RDM supports the effective and responsible conduct of research and increases the ability to store, find and reuse research data. A strong culture of RDM will serve Canadian research excellence, support discovery and fuel innovation. It will also benefit Canadian researchers who are working in international partnerships and collaborations, as other funders around the globe are implementing and strengthening their data management requirements.

Recognizing this, the agencies are committed to fostering a robust environment for data management in Canada and internationally, and to ensuring Canadian researchers are well positioned to contribute to, and capitalize on, data-intensive science and scholarship.

Policy development

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC have been collaborating on RDM policy-related work since 2013:

  • In fall 2013, they released Capitalizing on Big Data: Toward a Policy Framework for Advancing Digital Scholarship in Canada, a consultation document that sought community input into an RDM policy framework.
  • This was followed in 2016 by the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management, which outlines the agencies’ overarching expectations regarding RDM.
  • In 2017, the agencies undertook a year of targeted engagement with key stakeholders to discuss possible RDM policy requirements.
  • From June to September 2018, the agencies held an online consultation on a draft version of the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. The agencies received 130 submissions from a broad range of stakeholders (see the summary report).
  • Through 2018-19, and in parallel with the online consultation, the agencies held discussions with Indigenous partners about the draft policy.
  • The feedback obtained through the extensive targeted engagements and online consultation informed the development of the final version of the policy.

Next steps

The agencies plan to implement the policy incrementally, as determined through ongoing engagement with the research community and other stakeholders, and in step with continuing development of RDM practices and capacity in Canada and internationally:

  • Institutional strategies: By March 1, 2023, research institutions subject to this requirement must post their RDM strategies and notify the agencies when they have done so.
  • Data management plans: By spring 2022, the agencies will identify an initial set of funding opportunities that will be subject to the data management plan requirement. Before this, the agencies will pilot the requirement in targeted funding opportunities.
  • Data deposit: After reviewing the institutional RDM strategies, and in line with the readiness of the Canadian research community, the agencies will phase in the deposit requirement.

The agencies will continue to work with key stakeholders and partners to develop resources, tools and infrastructure that support the growth of a strong RDM environment in Canada.

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