Why Does Research Data Management Matter?


On July 15, 2016, Canada’s three federal research granting agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – adopted the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management. Serving as a step towards strengthening research data management in Canada, the Statement promotes a data culture of use, sharing, and long-term access.

Building upon the principles outlined in the 2016 Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management, the Tri-Agencies released a DRAFT Research Data Management Policy in May 2018. As per the draft policy, “the agencies believe that research data collected with the use of public funds should be responsibly and effectively managed and belong, to the fullest extent possible, in the public domain and available for reuse by others.” The agencies plan to achieve these ends by 1) requiring institutions administering tri-agency funds to create an institutional data management strategy; 2) mandating that all grant proposals submitted to the agencies include data management plans; 3) requiring grant recipients to deposit digital research data, metadata, and code into a recognized digital repository.


The video below, by NYU Health Sciences Library (2012), clearly articulates the implications of not properly managing your research data over the course of a research project:

In short, effectively managing your research data will benefit you by:
  • Allowing you to meet granting agency or publisher requirements for data sharing or data management planning
  • Improving research efficiency, since well-managed data will be better understood, as well as more findable, usable, and shareable
  • Reducing risks like accidental data loss, breaches of data security, and mismanagement of intellectual property
  • Increasing potential research impact through data sharing, data preservation, and strategies to maximize access to data.