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Research Data Management: RDM Basics

What is RDM and how do I do it?

What is RDM?

  • Everything that you, the researcher, do during a project as you create, work with, and save your data.
  • "Research Data Management" is nothing more than writing down and formalizing everything that you do without even thinking about it as you work on a project.

What is my research data?

  • Your research data is anything you generate as you conduct your research.
  • Research data comes in many formats, including text, numeric, transcripts, images, and recordings.

How do I manage it?

  • Start your research by thinking about the kind of data you're intending to produce and what you need to do to keep it organized.
  • End your research by making sure your data is complete and documented, and stored in a way that safeguards against it being lost or damaged.

This aligns with the researcher requirements outlined in the draft Tri-Agency Policy regarding data management plans (Policy 3.2) and data deposit (Policy 3.3).

RDM for busy people

'Good Enough' guides to RDM.¹

Data Management Plans (DMPs)

DMPs will describe:

  • how data will be collected, documented, formatted, protected and preserved;
  • how existing datasets will be used and what new data will be created over the course fo the research project;
  • whether and how data will be shared; and
  • where data will be deposited.

DMPs also outline the data management responsibilities of each person on the research team, account for how these responsibilities will be managed over time as people join or leave the project, and detail any legal, ethical, or other constraints on the data.²

Making DMPs

The Portage Network has developed a DMP Template that walks you through all of the questions that should be considered when making a plan for your data at the start of your research. Questions you will be asked include:

  • What types of data will you collect, create, link to, acquire and/or record? (Data Collection)
  • What documentation will be needed for the data to be read and interpreted correctly in the future? (Documentation and Metadata)
  • What are the anticipated storage requirements for your project, in terms of storage space and the length of time you will be storing it? (Storage and Backup)
  • Where will you deposit your data for long-term preservation and access at the end of your research project? (Preservation)
  • What data will you be sharing and in what form? (Sharing and Reuse)
  • Identify who will be responsible for managing this project's data during and after the project and the major data management tasks for which they will be responsible. (Responsibilities and Resources)
  • If your research includes sensitive data, how will you ensure that it is securely managed and accessible only to approved members of the project? (Ethics and Legal Compliance)

Create an account HERE.


Data Deposit

Why are the Tri-Agencies promoting data deposit?

  • To promote intentional preservation and long-term availability of the materials that "support the research conclusions" arising from agency-funded research.
  • To raise the profile of data so that it is recognized as being "significant and legitimate products of research."
  • To recognize researchers who engage in responsible and effective data sharing.

Are there any current Tri-Agency data-deposit requirements?

Only CIHR has an existing data-deposit requirement for publication-related research data, pertaining to all research funded by grants January 1, 2008 and onward.

All three have open-access requirements for their peer-reviewed journal publications (Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications). Consult the Guide to Open Access for further details on requirements and options related to open-access publishing.³

Data Repositories

There are many subject- and discipline-specific repositories that you can choose from when deciding where to store your data at the end of your research project.

You can search or browse through the 219 subject- and discipline-specific, Canadian data repositories indexed by HERE.

Trinity has a TWU-specific Dataverse repository. All TWU researchers are encouraged to consider Dataverse as an option for end-of-project data deposit. You can find out more about TWU Dataverse under the Share Your Data: Dataverse tab of this libguide.

Two national repositories are also in process. You can follow the progress of the Federated Research Data Repository Platform HERE, and keep up to date on the development of Dataverse North HERE.


¹ "Portage Training Resources: 'Good Enough' One-Pagers." Portage Network

² "DRAFT Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy for Consultation: Policy Statement--researchers." Canada: Science and Innovation, 25 May 2018,

³ "Frequently Asked Questions Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy." Canada: Science and Innovation, 25 May 2018,