In their efforts to push the boundaries of knowledge, researchers face many challenges – including how to manage and share research data in a meaningful way that could facilitate the research process and ensure data are being collected, recorded, and stored properly and securely.
“Effective data management is increasingly recognized as being critical for quality research,” says David Buckeridge, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health; Chief Digital Health Officer, McGill University Health Centre; Scientific Lead, Data Management and Analytics, COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. “A major reason is that ensuring the integrity and security of research data is necessary for reproducible and transparent research. Sound data management practices are also important for continued public trust and maintaining compliance with Canadian and international laws and regulations, as well as policies of funding agencies and publishers.”
RDM (Research Data Management) is both an academic discipline and a set of methodological guidelines involving the planning, organizing, describing, storing, and sharing of research data in a secure fashion. Good RDM practices help researchers become more efficient in their work and ensure timely production and dissemination of quality research to be used and reused by others.
Why should you care about RDM?
Data loss in a research project happens more often than researchers anticipate. Good RDM practices will allow researchers to prospectively plan and identify resources, anticipate roadblocks, and implement procedures for appropriate data access and backups to prevent data loss. This new online RDM learning program helps researchers plan for a variety of RDM activities, including secure data storage that could be shared among students and researchers, proper documentation within a research project and correct labelling and organization of research data files so that the research and research data can be understood and reused in months or years to come.
Who can enroll in the program?
The program is freely available to McGill Principal Investigators (PIs), research associates and assistants, technicians, research support staff and students at all levels. Each program module includes a short learning video, examples, interactive exercises, and links to available internal and external resources.
How should the program be used?
The program is entirely self-directed. The program can be completed at your own pace in sequence or out of sequence based on your research needs. If you are a PI of a research project or a director of a research centre, you may also use this learning program as training materials for your research group.
If you are an instructor who would like to use some of the contents for your course, please contact us by email. We will be able to release the content directly to your course within MyCourses.
Full list of Current RDM Learning Program Modules:
- Module 1: Basic Research Data Management
- Module 2: Data Management Plan Writing
- Module 3: Research Data Confidentiality
- Module 4: Common Practices on Documentation
- Module 5: Data Storage
- Module 6: Data Sharing and Deposit
For McGill users with a valid McGill email account, enroll directly via MyCourses here.
For users from McGill affiliated hospitals, sign up here.