College & Research Libraries Report

An Evening with the Experts: Research Data Management

By Emily MacKenzie & Paul Grewal

On March 26, 2015 the College and Research Libraries section hosted our spring event entitled “An Evening with the Experts: Research Data Management”.

The first presenter for the evening was Kathleen Shearer. Among her many roles, Kathleen is the Coordinator of Project ARC (Portage); a Research Associate with CARL and Research Data Canada; Co-Chair of the Research Data Alliance Long Tail of Research Data Interest Group and RDA Libraries for Research Data IG; Executive Director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories; and Partnership Consultant with the Association of Research Libraries.

In her talk, entitled “Research data management: Charting a new course for libraries in the 21st century,” Kathleen highlighted the many issues surrounding this exciting and timely topic. Her talk explored three major themes essential to research data management, which include policies, culture, and infrastructure. The emerging and existing trends in funding agency policies and requirements drive the need for RDM for researchers; culture plays a role in addressing the question of willingness of researchers to share their data; and infrastructure is required in order to provide guidance and support to researchers in managing their data sets. She also put in context Canada’s progress in research data management support by comparing services available for researchers here and internationally.

Our second presenter was Edward Bilodeau, who is the Coordinator, User Experience and Support within the Digital Initiatives group at McGill University Library.

Edward’s talk, “Faculty perspectives on research data management,” began by asking the audience to consider the issue from the perspective of users, namely the faculty members who plan research projects. He outlined the steps of the research data lifecycle, pointing out that researchers have historically developed ways to manage many steps in the process essential to complete their research, including creation, processing and analysis of data. Service opportunities certainly exist for libraries to help researchers and can be found later in the data lifecycle. They include the preservation and sharing of research data, and these steps are becoming increasingly important with changing policies and expectations surrounding research data and open access.

We wish to thank both Kathleen and Edward for their excellent presentations, which provided many points of discussion for our members, as well as Concordia University Libraries for providing the venue for the event.