ARCHIVED - Preserving Canadian research data

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February 02, 2009— Ottawa, Ontario

Pam Bjornson, Director General of the NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information

Pam Bjornson, Director General of the NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information

Canada's national science library is coordinating a nationwide initiative to help ensure that the high-value data generated by Canadian researchers is preserved, and can be easily accessed and re-used for other research endeavours.

"The enormous growth of research data has serious implications for the long-term preservation of Canada's record of science," says Pam Bjornson, Director General of the NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) in Ottawa. "Data needs to be both accessible and usable for current and future generations to ensure that our researchers remain at the leading edge of R&D in Canada and around the world." 

"Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued or preserved," adds Bjornson. As a result, researchers often miss out on opportunities to re-analyze or re-evaluate Canadian data in the context of new knowledge, and essentially lose the chance to get additional value from the data.

To address the challenges surrounding the access and preservation of Canadian research data, NRC-CISTI is chairing the Research Data Strategy (RDS) Working Group. This multidisciplinary group of universities, institutes, libraries, granting agencies and individual researchers have a shared recognition of the pressing need to deal with Canadian data management issues.

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"These issues can't be solved in isolation," says Bjornson. "They must be addressed from a national perspective with the participation of all parts of the research community, including researchers who create and use this data."

NRC-CISTI will contribute to the RDS initiative by providing metadata expertise and developing a gateway website that provides access to Canadian scientific data sets and other important data repositories. So far, three task groups have been formed to explore issues related to: policies, funding and research; infrastructure and services; and capacity (skills, training and reward systems). In the coming year, the RDS Working Group will host a consultation around these issues to gather input and develop an action plan.

For more information about this initiative, visit: http://data-donnees.gc.ca/eng/index.html

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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