The University of Winnipeg has developed a comprehensive and diverse research portfolio, led by emerging and established scholars. UWinnipeg’s excellence in research spans disciplines and builds partnerships among academia, government, and industry.
As the University’s research portfolio continues to grow, we’ve seen an increased demand for guidance on how to collect, store, and share research data. Jaime Orr, UWinnipeg’s Research Data Management Librarian, plays an important role in providing guidance to UWinnipeg researchers on how to responsibility manage their data.
“Not only do research data management practices mitigate the risk of loss or damage to research data, and create opportunities for sharing and collaboration, they can also boost the visibility of researcher’s work,” explains Orr. “While there are plenty of benefits to researchers practicing RDM, funders and publishers are increasingly making RDM a requirement.”
Canada’s Tri-Agency, made up of SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR, highlight the importance of RDM in maintaining research excellence. Mostly recently, the Tri-Agency released their Draft Research Data Management Policy.
“High-quality data management is fundamental to research excellence,” states the Draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. “The ability to store, access, reuse and build upon digital data is critical to the advancement of research, supports innovative solutions to economic and social challenges, and holds tremendous potential for improvements in quality of life nationally and internationally.”
As the research landscape shifts in response to new RDM policies and procedures, Orr is focusing on helping researchers build RDM into their existing research workflow. Orr’s advice to researchers is to begin with a data management plan (DMP). A DMP describes how research data will be managed throughout the project, from data collection, through storage, to sharing. A data management plan considers ethical obligations and responsibilities. As a ‘living document’, it can be amended and referred to at any point.
Orr works closely with UWinnipeg’s Research Office to support the University’s strategic directions, most notably, research excellence, knowledge mobilization and impact.
“Having a well developed RDM is critical for research success,” said Dr. Jino Distasio, UWinnipeg Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “Having the skills and resources of a data management librarian like Jamie Orr to support faculty and work with the Research Office will contribute to stronger outcomes. This role supports our faculty to develop strong projects that will have lasting benefits. ”
Orr is available to provide guidance on best practices and standards, assist researchers with the completion of DMPs, and will be supporting the development of a University-wide RDM strategy.
Recently, Orr collaborated with the Research Office on planning Early Career Researcher Day, an event that welcomed researchers from UWinnipeg and other institutions across the province to collaborate and learn about the research lifecycle.
“Researchers at all stages of their career are eager to learn and share best practices,” said Orr. “This experience really reinforced the importance of supporting RDM practices, so researchers may protect what they care deeply about – their research. Ideally, research data management should begin before the research project begins. Although, it is never too late to start. Researchers at all stages of their project are encouraged to reach out for support or to learn more.”