Research Data Management

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Research Data

It is beneficial to all researchers to manage data so that it remains understandable and discoverable over time. Data is an important foundation of research infrastructure, and has intrinsic value as a crucial component of research, along with publications and other research outputs. Canadian funding agencies are beginning to put structures in place that would require grant recipients to curate or actively manage their research data.

Research data is the data created or collected as part of a research project. Data can take the form of images, oral interviews, tabular data, music, text transcripts, video and audio recordings.

"Research data management concerns the organization of data, from its entry to the research cycle through to the dissemination and archiving of valuable results. It aims to ensure reliable verification of results, and permits new and innovative research built on existing information." (from Whyte, A., Tedds, J. (2011). ‘Making the Case for Research Data Management’. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online)

As you are collecting and generating data throughout your research project, please keep in mind the following:

  • Funding agency or journal requirements
  • Increasing visibility and impact for your research
  • Ensuring your data safety, accuracy, and reliability
  • Preserving your data for medium or long term
  • Making research data reusable and reproducible
  • Ensuring the confidentiality of your research participants and respecting ethics approval policies

Research Data Management Services by SFU Library

The Library can assist you with all of points listed above, and supports data management planning by providing consultations, workshops, and tutorials. For more information, Please check SFU Data Management PlanningData Management FAQs, and SFU’s research data repository Radar. For assistance with research data management, contact data-services@sfu.ca.

Research Data Management Policy at SFU

  • When feasible, all original primary data are to be retained by the SFU Principal Investigator
  • Accepted practices for retaining data vary among disciplines and depend on the perishability, nature, and logistics of retaining each type of data
  • Primary data should be reserved for seven (7) years, if there is no requirement in Award Document.

Record Keeping

Research Services has its own policies with respect to record keeping.

Applicants for research funding are required to provide Research Services with a copy of any formal research funding proposal, application or letter of intent as part of the university approval process. The SFU Funding Application Signature Sheet must be used when obtaining university approval for applications directed to either internal or external sources.

Many research funding applications include extensive illustrations, bibliographies, and curriculum vitae. Copies of such documentation is not retained by Research Services. Research Services requires from the applicants only an abbreviated version of most applications. The exception is those grant applications directed to industry, in which case, Research Services requires the complete document.

For all other grant submissions, Research Services maintains on electronic file pending receipt of the funding outcome, the following limited pages.

  • SFU Research Funding Application Signature Sheet
  • Agency's title page
  • Signature page(s)
  • Participant and/or partner pages
  • Summary or brief description of the proposed research
  • Detailed budget and all accompanying financial information
  • Copies of certificates (e.g., Research Ethics, Animal Care, Biosafety, etc.) which pertain to the proposed research
  • NSERC form 101
  • Appendices to NSERC forms
  • Letters of support or commitment from Chairs, Deans, collaborating companies or institutions, etc.

If an application is funded, Research Services keeps electronic copies of the above documentation in its database. Please note that Research Services does not keep paper copies of SFU Signature Sheets or applications.  However, Research Services will keep paper copies of executed contracts and documents where the sponsor requested wet signatures. These documents are stored under the University Records Retention Schedules. These schedules and Disposal Authorities pertaining to Research Services can be found at the Directory of University Records (DUR).