Workshops to dive into research data management plans, data privacy

With new government funding guidelines on the horizon, the Brock University Library is hosting two workshops that will discuss sensitive research data and offer resources for managing and analyzing data to create research data management plans.

Beginning this spring, the Tri-Agencies — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada — will require researchers seeking funding to follow the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, which includes parameters for data management plans and digital repositories.

In preparation of changing funding policies such as this, Isaac Williams, Acting Librarian Head for the Map, Data and GIS Library, has been increasing the number of research data management offerings and online resources available to Brock researchers.

Williams said although data management plans are becoming a requirement of funding requests, they shouldn’t be thought of as another box to check on an application.

“Research data management plans should be prepared well in advance of research and used to help organize and guide research and plan for contingencies,” he said. “The document is prepared by the research team and should explain how they will collect, describe and format the data. It’s important to figure this out in advance of your research rather than when you’re in the middle of it and data formats aren’t working out.”

The first of two workshops Williams is leading will discuss data privacy and how to de-identify sensitive data so subjects cannot be identified. Introduction to Confidential and De-Identified Research Data Management will take place Tuesday, March 1 from 11 a.m. to noon via Microsoft Teams. The workshop will also discuss the limits of de-identification and strategies to minimize the risk of re-identification.

“The workshop is designed to help researchers develop an understanding of the identification process and to think critically about what kinds of data might be revealing,” Williams said.

A second workshop offers a Practical Guide to Research Data Management in Ontario. It will review research data management resources available at Brock as well as provincial resources, such as Scholars Portal Dataverse and Compute Ontario, that can help researchers analyze and manage their data. The workshop takes place Tuesday, March 15 from 11 a.m. to noon via Microsoft Teams.

Both workshops are part of a series of events hosted by the Brock University Library Digital Scholarship Lab. To register for upcoming workshops, visit ExperienceBU.

Questions about research data management plans can be directed to Williams at

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