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A Guide to Open Resources

Research Data Management (RDM) & Data Management Plan (DMP)

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has developed helpful Research Data Management Services in their tool called Portage. 

Check out their Data Management Plan (DMP) Assistant for help creating your own DMP. The DMP Assistant features templates, an easy to follow step by step process, and good examples of prior DMPs. 

Citing Open Data

Check out this in-depth research guide developed by McGill Library that explores all you'll need to know about how to cite Open Data in any citation style. 

Stages of Data Storage

1) Active Storage: This stage of storage would apply to temporary modes of storage that a researcher might utilize while engaged in their research cycle. Examples of such are on computer hard drives, external hard drives, USBs, or a cloud. It is highly recommended for researchers to store their data in multiple locations to prevent loss of data. 

2) Repository Storage: The function of repository storage is for discovery and access to data, as well as for long term storage. One such example is Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR), where any researcher affiliated with a Canadian institution can deposit their data. 

3) Archive Storage: This mode of storage is good for back up, disaster recovery, or a last resort. One example is Archivematica: an open source application that creates an Archival Information Package (AIP) to secure data. 

What is Open Data?

SPARC defines Open Data as "research data that is freely available on the internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass to software or use for any purpose without financial, legal, or technological barriers."

Why Open Data?

There are a number of reasons to support Open Data initiatives:

  • Data can be very expensive to collect, or can be concerning rare events. Sharing data makes it more accessible to researchers around the world, from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Other people with different expertise might see different ways to solve problems and find progress. 
  • Over time, the purpose of a particular data set might change. For example, whale earwax data supports evidence of climate change. Sharing data has allowed for the original dataset to be repurposed for new and important research. 
  • Open data allows for studies to be replicated. Replicability of studies is important to verify that original findings hold up, and to extend the context of original studies. 
  • Many research funding agencies are requiring Research Data Management or Data Management Plans that involve making the data acquired in funded research projects openly available. 

Wilcox, C. (2018). The stressful lives of whales are revealed by their earwax. National Geographic. Retrieved from

Search for Open Data

  • Canadian Open Data Exchange: This platform connects users searching for data to datasets; as well as helps those who have data to tools they can use for data sharing. 
  • Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR): Search FRDR for research datasets from affiliated Canadian universities.
  • Namara Marketplace: May be used as a search engine for open data sets and for data management solutions. 
  • City of Hamilton Open Data Program: This program aims to increase transparency surrounding local affairs by facilitating access to Data pertaining to the city of Hamilton.
  • Ontario Open Data Catalogue: This catalogue facilitates search on a provinicial scale for open data sets. There are several useful limiters to help sort and organize results. 
  • Government of Canada Open Data: A federal level data repository featuring 10,000 + datasets.
  • Borealis Dataverse Repository: The Ontario Council of University Libraries hosts Dataverse through Borealis, the Canadian Dataverse Repository, which allows individuals and institutions to access and share data.
  • Re3 stands for: "the Registry of Research Data Repositories", and indexes more than 2,000 data repositories to help users locate the appropriate repository for accessing or sharing data. 
  • Google Dataset Search: Google brings the power of their search engine and algorithms to search through open data sets featured in 10,000+ data repositories. 

Research Data Management for Busy People

Portage Network's Brief Guide for Research Data Management

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