October 2018 Newsletter

blog arrowPosted on: Oct 11, 2018

Welcome to the October edition of the RDC Newsletter, a periodic update on research data news from the RDC stakeholder community and beyond. If you would like to make a suggestion or comment about the contents, or get involved in RDC activities, please contact RDC’s Executive Director, Mark Leggott (mark.leggott@rdc-drc.ca). You can view past issues on the RDC website, and subscribe to the news feed.

News from RDC

Committees and Working Groups

The August meeting of the RDC Steering Committee was a busy one: the highlights are listed below. You may also want to take a look at the Executive Director’s Update that was presented at the meeting.

  • The Committee approved a document providing feedback on the Tri-Council’s (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) “DRAFT Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy“, through the Policy Committee, which facilitated feedback from the full stakeholder community in a series of discussions. The RDC community was very supportive of the draft policy, but did have some recommendations on a number of changes that was felt would improve the draft. RDC will continue to work with the Tri-Councils going forward, as well as the broader research community, in developing a fulsome response to the policy when launched.
  • Reviewed a draft document that provides feedback on the ISED Discussion Paper on the allocation of Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) funds (including RDM) announced in the recent federal budget. The document highlighted the key role RDC should play in defining a national RDM strategy and program. ISED continues to work with the provinces and territories, as well as stakeholder groups like RDC, and we expect to hear more details in the coming months.
  • Approved the charter for the RDC-DRC Best Practices Designation (BPD), which will recognize RDM best practices in the Canadian community. A Working Group is currently being formed to develop the details of the project, and move forward with an initial pilot. If you are interested in participating in the Working Group, please let Mark know.

The RDC National Data Services Framework (NDSF) Working Group (part of the Infrastructure Committee) has started regular meetings to plan the 2nd NDSF Summit, which is tentatively scheduled for January 24-25 2019 in Ottawa. More details will be forthcoming, but you may want to pencil in the dates and they will be confirmed shortly. This version of the NDSF Summit will highlight Canadian efforts in developing software infrastructure to support good data management practices (viewed via the lens of the FAIR Principles: Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reproducibility), and participants will work to develop a national vision for the next five years. The Summit will be followed by a half-day strategic planning meeting of the RDC Steering Committee which will discuss next steps for the NDSF.

CANARIE’s Research Advisory Committee and Software Technical Advisory Committee met together last month and made recommendations for nine projects to be funded under the new RDM Call, and these have been approved by the CANARIE Board. The results will be made public in October once contracts are in place with the project teams. The nine projects are a mix of generic and domain-specific projects, and are a reflection of the feedback received as a result of the Public Consultation

Communications and Special Events

RDC Webinar Series

RDC’s webinar series continues to provide the community with updates on a variety of RDM topics, and the webinars are archived. The next scheduled webinar is Sep 27, 13:00 Eastern:

Title: Data Deidentification and Anonymization: An Introduction

Description: This webinar will introduce the concepts of deidentification and anonymization of research data, including direct identifiers and quasi-identifiers, risk assessment, and common strategies to reduce risk. The session will also demonstrate Amnesia, a graphical data anonymization tool that allows researchers to remove identifying information from data and transform secondary identifiers so that individuals cannot be identified in the data.

Speakers: Kristi Thompson (University of Windsor), Manolis Terrovitis (Institute for the Management of Information Systems, Greece)

Colleges and Institutes Outreach

With the impending launch of the Tri-Council’s Data Management Policy, institutions will need to understand the impacts, including for their industry partners, and how best to respond. Given this evolving landscape, RDC will be working with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and Centennial College, to facilitate a day-long workshop for colleges, institutes and polytechnics. A key goal is to review the draft Tri-Council data management policy, and facilitate the development of individual institutions’ approaches to the policy and data management in general. The Summit will include updates on other issues in the digital research infrastructure file, including cybersecurity and intellectual property. The event is for senior administrators in applied research offices, computing/IT, and libraries. A formal invitation will follow with additional details and registration information. For more information contact Mark Leggott. Date/Time: December 7, 2018. 7:30-15:30. Location: Centennial College, Toronto ON

News from RDC Stakeholders

As mentioned earlier, the draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy was released, and the deadline for consultation was extended to the end of September 2018. A number of organizations besides RDC have responded, and some have posted their feedback documents (RDC’s is linked above), including:

1. CARL Portage (English/French)
2. Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL)
3. Le Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI) 

In September CANARIE announced the recipients of funding who will adapt their existing research platforms (also known as Science Gateways or Virtual Research Environments) so that they may be re-used by other research teams, including those working in different research disciplines. More details on the five funded projects (which includes platforms in bio/health sciences, environmental science, digital humanities, and engineering) is available on the CANARIE website.

The September issue of University Affairs featured a piece by Steven Liss on CARL Portage, which provides a comprehensive summary of what is happening in that national network, which is supported by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and academic librarians.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has a great online resource for RDM called Health Research Data, which includes News and Events, Stories, Strategies and Policies, as well as other resources, and is well worth a regular scan.

The annual BCNET Conference, which is a great IT-focused conference, is moving to a new venue for 2019: the Sheraton YVR Airport Hotel, April 30 – May 2. As with the 2018 event, this one will also feature a Research & Innovation track, which will include sessions on RDM and related topics.

International News

Conferences and Special Events

The next Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary is the 12th, and is taking place in Gaborone, Botswana, and is part of International Data Week, Nov 5-8. Registration is now open, so if you are planning to attend I would recommend registering and booking your accommodation soon. I will be attending, so if you have specific interests you would like me to follow-up on and report back, please let me know.

The 3rd annual PIDapalooza conference is scheduled for January 23-24 at Griffith Conference Centre, Griffith College in Dublin Ireland. This is a premiere event for discussion of all things related to Persistent Identifiers, and it does sell out pretty early, so if you are interested in attending you may want to register soon.

Open Science Conference 2019 is taking place in Berlin, March 19-20, and the call for submissions is now open, with a deadline of October 12. Project presentations and other contributions are encouraged for topics including (but not limited to):

  • Recent innovations in infrastructures, technologies, and tools supporting open science practices
  • Best practices dealing with open science implementation and education
  • Empirical studies and use cases about the application, acceptance, establishment, and improvements of open science practices
  • Quality assurance in an open science system, e.g., in the context of ‘predatory science’

New Products and Services

Google released their Dataset Search product on September 5th (see the Nature article for some background), although the effort has been in the works for a long time (see the original blog postthat generated substantial buzz in January 2017). This will provide a huge benefit to the promotion of open data and data sharing, especially if Google finds a way to create links from Google Scholar.

There are a couple of recent and emerging free online courses and MOOCs (Massively Open Online Course) dealing with the topic of Open Science. I would recommend trying one as an excellent way to get an overview of the ecosystem on your own schedule: you may also want to get involved by providing feedback or joining the development efforts.

This PLOS Biology article by Ulf Toelch and Dirk Ostwald provides a good summary of the content and issues in delivering a course on open science with a bioscience focus, as well as integrating open science into an existing curriculum.

Finally, a selection of RDM-focused books, reports, and papers from the last couple of months:

Research Data Canada is supported by CANARIE, an organization dedicated to advancing Canada’s knowledge and innovation infrastructure.