Research Data Management at the University of Windsor

Research Data Management

The Academic Data Centre in Leddy Library provides support for all aspects of research data management, from writing a plan to implementing it to archiving data securely after the project completes.

All researchers are asked to seriously consider archiving their data to make it available for future researchers. In addition to being good practice this is increasingly becoming a requirement of funding agencies.

Planning

The first step towards managing your research data is coming up with a plan, preferably before you begin data collection. Funding agencies are increasingly expecting that grant proposals will include a robust research data management plan. If you would like assistance contact Data Librarian Kristi Thompson to set up an appointment. There are also some online tools to help you get started.

  • DMP Assistant is a tool created by the Portage Network to help meet the anticipated Data Management Plan requirements of several Canadian funders, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The tool is free software and works similarly to a wizard: answer some questions about your project, and it produces output that with minimal tweaking is ready to be added to grant application forms.
  • DMPTool is a similar web application from the California Digital Library that is geared specifically towards meeting the requirements of several American funding agencies.

Data Storage

For storing sensitive data (human subjects, patent-related, etc.) University of Windsor networked storage may not be a good option.

  • The current main U of W networked drive, Onedrive, is a U.S. based cloud solution and data may be subject to U.S. law; options like DropBox etc. have similar issues.
  • Departmental networked storage (Novell etc.) may be preferable but check with your administrator on security and access protections.
  • The Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC) has been developed by the Ontario Council of University Libraries (including the University of Windsor) as an Ontario-based, highly secure cloud solution. The servers are located in Ontario University controlled data centres and the data travels over a private VLAN.
    • Currently lacks a scalable user interface. For extremely sensitive projects with infrequent data transfer and access, the OLRC may be an option.
    • Other interface options such as OwnCloud being tested, should be available in less than a year. OwnCloud will have functionality that is similar to DropBox.
  • Your local hard drive may be best option for primary storage of most extremely sensitive data at present. Makes ure you have an external backup copy!
  • Dataverse is an open-source data archiving platform developed at Harvard University. The Ontario Council of University Libraries has implemented Dataverse on locally hosted servers
    • Individuals can create their own project dataverses, or request to contribute a project to another dataverse.
    • Dataverse was originally designed for sharing archived data, however data project owners have complete control over data access and can restrict data to only certain IPs, to individual account(s) or to specific groups. Specific files, projects, and dataverses can have different levels of access restriction
    • While not as secure as the OLRC, may be a good option for storing relatively sensitive data and sharing it with a research team
    • Accounts can be requested by users at any institution, so Dataverse is suitable for sharing data among members of a distributed team

Archiving

  • We support data archiving through the University of Windsor Data Archive on Scholar's Portal Dataverse. This is a secure environment that conforms to industry best practices for maintaining data integrity and longevity.
  • Another option is to deposit data with ICPSR, a large and internationally known archive of social science data. ICPSR allows for wider dissemination of social science data, provides standardized citations, and collects bibliographic citations to publications that use deposited data, demonstrating the impact of their deposited datasets. The library's subscription to ICPSR gives us free access to depositing at OpenICPSR

A good way to get started on learning about best practices in research data management is to take the MANTRA Research Data Management Training, a self-paced tutorial aimed at PhD students and early career researchers.

Contact the Academic Data Centre for more information on any of these topics.