Why manage research data?

Many publishers and granting agencies are asking authors and grant holders to make the data underlying their published research and intellectual products publicly accessible. Where no requirements exist, deliberate management of data benefits researchers by:

  • Increasing research efficiency (well-managed data is more findable, understandable, shareable, and reusable)
  • Reducing risks (such as data security and intellectual property considerations, and accidental data loss)
  • Enabling more control over the costs associated with managing data
  • Increasing the potential impact of research (through planned data sharing and setting explicit data citation and access requirements for reuse)
  • Enabling researchers to address granting agency and publisher requirements for data sharing

Searchable database of summaries of research funders' policies on open access

Canadian funding agency requirements for data

In June 2016, Canada’s three federal research granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) adopted the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management.

The Statement outlines the Agencies’ expectations for research data management and roles for researchers, institutions, communities, and funders in supporting data management. While the statement doesn’t mandate requirements, it does outline responsibilities:

Responsibilities of researchers include:

  • incorporating data management best practices into their research;
  • developing data management plans to guide the responsible collection, formatting, preservation and sharing of their data throughout the entire lifecycle of a research project and beyond;
  • following the requirements of applicable institutional and/or funding agency policies and professional or disciplinary standards;
  • acknowledging and citing datasets that contribute to their research; and
  • staying abreast of standards and expectations of their disciplinary community.

Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management, 4. Responsibilities

Requirements for data management as outlined by the individual agencies

CIHR: Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

(previously, CIHR Open Access Policy)

Deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database (e.g. gene sequences deposited in GenBank) immediately upon publication of research results.

Retain original data sets for a minimum of five years after the end of the grant (or longer if other policies apply).This applies to all data, whether published or not.

Publicly accessible archive/repository requirements for CIHR grant holders are as follows:

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, Annex


No additional requirements for data retention or archiving beyond the expectations outlined in the Tri-Agency Statement. See Policy on Intellectual Property for guiding principles on data as they relate to intellectual property considerations.

SSHRC: Research Data Archiving Policy

All research data collected with the use of SSHRC funds must be preserved and made available for use by others within a reasonable period of time. SSHRC considers "a reasonable period" to be within two years of the completion of the research project for which the data was collected.

CIHR, Research Data Archiving Policy

Further reading

Ingram, Caroline. JISC Guide: How and why you should manage your research data: a guide for researchers.

DataONE. Primer on Data Management: What You Always Wanted to Know [PDF].

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