Research Data Management webinars

Oct. 4, 2022

Illuminating Research Data Management webinars begin Oct. 5

Professional development series will prepare research community for incoming tri-agency policy

Beginning this week, the UCalgary research community will have the chance to start developing (or brushing up) on their research data management (RDM) skills.

In preparation for the incoming Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, the Office of the Vice-President (Research) and Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) are hosting Illuminating RDM, a professional development webinar series. The webinars will introduce the research community to all aspects of RDM over 13 hour-long sessions, from October 2022 to April 2023.

The Tri-Agency RDM Policy rests on three pillars that support the promotion of sound RDM and data stewardship practices: institutional RDM strategies, data management plans, and data deposit. The policy will come into effect in stages over the next few years, and researchers should prepare for a future state in which most Tri-Agency funding opportunities will have a data management requirement included in their application process.  

“The Tri-agency requirements will come quickly, and some of our researchers are also starting to be required to share data in other contexts, such as journal submissions,” says Dr. Penny Pexman, associate vice-president (research). “We want our research community to be prepared for these changes, and to have the skills and supports needed to participate in relevant open science practices.”

The webinars are designed to empower the research community to confidently work with data at all phases of a research program. RDM is relevant to researchers in all roles — students, staff, postdocs, faculty — so the webinars and other resources will be available to all.

“In the fall of 2022, our audiences can expect to learn about the basics of research data management: what it is, why it's important, and what some of the key aspects are, such as data management plans and data deposit,” says Jennifer Abel, research data management specialist.

“We'll also have two researcher panels: one on RDM generally, and one on RDM in regards to Indigenous data.” Future sessions will be more specialized, focusing on topics including advanced research computing and data resources in different disciplines.

Registration is now open for the first three webinars on the Illuminating RDM web page. Each webinar will include a presentation from an RDM subject-matter expert and a Q-and-A session for the audience. The webinars will also be recorded and made available online, so the research community can begin their RDM learning at any time, on their own schedule.

For those looking for additional training, the librarians in Libraries and Cultural Resources have strong expertise in RDM and offer online resources and one-on-one support, as well as RDM training sessions.

Many researchers are already practising RDM in their day-to-day activities, says Abel. Making decisions about how to name files or folders, choosing what backup systems to use and how often to back data up, or giving research assistants or students instruction on how to work with the data a project is creating or collecting all qualify as RDM.

“Formalizing these practices in a data management plan can be a big help in creating what you might call ‘project memory’ around these areas,” she says. “Planning in advance for good RDM is a huge help to make a research project run more efficiently and effectively.”

Abel and Pexman want the research community to know that RDM doesn’t have to be labour intensive or hard to implement, and that researchers will be supported as the tri-agency policy comes into effect.

“Integrating RDM into a research program is a positive step towards open science,” says Pexman. “It increases the chances that data will be preserved, and available for re-use, either by the original research team or, where appropriate, by someone else in the future.”

“Even if you're not sure right now whether you have ‘research data,’ come to the webinars or watch the recordings anyway. Chances are you'll pick up at least one good tip that will help you in your research,” says Abel.

Illuminating RDM is being offered by the Office of the Vice-President (Research) and Libraries and Cultural Resources, with the support of a SSHRC Connection Grant.