The Portage Network is an initiative of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) with support from the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) and funding from Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).
Membership in the Portage Network spans universities and research institutions across Canada. Portage’s work is made possible by collaborations with local, regional, national, and international partners.
CARL is the voice of Canada’s research libraries. Its members include Canada’s twenty-nine largest university libraries and two federal institutions. CARL enhances its members’ capacity to advance research and higher education; promotes effective and sustainable knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation; and advocates for public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information. Portage was launched by CARL in 2015 to contribute to the shared stewardship of research data and to address specific gaps in national research data management (RDM) infrastructure in Canada.
The New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that supports a researcher-focused, strategic and sustainable Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem. Established in 2019, NDRIO is a key initiative of the national $572.5-million DRI Strategy, initiated by the Government of Canada through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). NDRIO works with partners and stakeholders across Canada to give scholars and scientists the digital tools, support, services and infrastructure they need to conduct leading-edge research that benefits society and enables Canada to compete on the world stage. NDRIO’s membership is composed of more than 140 of Canada’s top universities, colleges, research hospitals and institutes, and other leading organizations in the DRI space. Funding for Portage is administered through NDRIO, to help continue its stewardship of research data management in Canada. Portage and NDRIO share a singular focus of serving the Canadian research community.
The Portage Data Management Planning Expert Group and a Technical Group work with the University of Alberta on developing and maintaining the DMP Assistant, a national, open, bilingual web service for developing data management plans. DMP Assistant will receive ongoing support from Portage and the University of Alberta, with enhancements to improve services to researchers and those providing research services or funding.
Portage partnered with Compute Canada in 2016 to develop a national platform to support the curation, access, discovery, and preservation of research data. The resulting Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) is a scalable, federated platform for digital research data management (RDM) and discovery. FRDR addresses a longstanding gap in Canada’s infrastructure for digital research data management by improving access to and control over large amounts of data.
The University of Saskatchewan is partnered with Portage in developing and delivering the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR). The University of Saskatchewan is home to the existing FRDR development team and has the expertise and capacity needed to provision and operate FRDR on a national scale.
Simon Fraser University is an established Compute Canada Federation host site for the Cedar advanced research computing system and is the primary host site for the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR). They also host a FRDR developer, and work with Portage to provide storage and associated technical support for FRDR.
The University of Waterloo is an established Compute Canada Federation host site for the Graham advanced research computing system, and works with Portage to provide storage and associated technical support for FRDR.
The University of Toronto partners with Portage in hosting a national instance of the Dataverse data repository platform through their Ontario Council of University Libraries’ Scholars Portal initiative. As hosts for Dataverse to universities across Canada, they share Portage’s vision for a national instance of Dataverse in Canada. They also support the development of FRDR’s preservation pipeline, which includes AIP generation, dedicated AIP storage, and connections between FRDR storage and preservation service providers.
The University of British Columbia hosts the Geodisy team – Geodisy is an open-source spatial discovery platform for Canadian open research data, developed by a team at UBC in collaboration with CANARIE, UBC Advanced Research Computing, GeoBlacklight, Dataverse, ScholarsPortal, and Portage. UBC also supplies the codebase for FRDR discovery through UBC Open Collections.
CRKN empowers researchers, educators, and society with greater access to the world’s research and Canada’s preserved documentary heritage, now and for future generations. The DataCite Canada Consortium, managed by CRKN and Portage, is a collective of organizations and institutions minting DOIs in Canada through DataCite.
Portage and Scholars Portal are collaborating with support from NDRIO to develop a national Dataverse service for researchers across Canada. A national Dataverse service will create opportunities for researchers to collaborate and enhance knowledge creation and innovation by ensuring that data, metadata, and code are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). Through this partnership, Scholars Portal will host and operate the service, and Portage will facilitate national RDM community oversight and coordination.
FAIRsFAIR is playing a key role in the contribution to policies and practices for broader adoption of FAIR practices and in the development of standards for FAIR certification of repositories. Through an Open Call run between July and August 2019, FRDR was one of six tester repositories chosen by FAIRsFAIR to participate in designing implementation features that will enable and increase repository interoperability. Six of the repositories will be involved in the development and the other six will be involved in testing solutions.
The Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) is working with the European Union’s OpenAIRE initiative by providing a clean metadata feed to the OpenAIRE Research Graph, ensuring that Canadian research is represented in this global research aggregator. OpenAIRE provides interoperability services to connect research and enable researchers, content providers, funders and research administrators to easily adopt open science. The OpenAIRE Research Graph is one of the largest open scholarly record collections worldwide, providing access to Open Access research outputs.
Key members of the research community:
As publicly-funded organizations, Canada’s federal research agencies are strong advocates for making the results of the research they fund as accessible as possible. 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) (the agencies) developed a draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. This policy outlines their fundamental expectations regarding research data management and the responsibilities of researchers, research communities, research institutions and research funders in meeting these expectations. Portage engages with the Federal Tri-Agencies to ensure that any data policy requirements adopted by them are reflected and supported by Portage.
Portage works closely with Research Data Canada (RDC) to align the activities of both organizations in their support for research data management. RDC and Portage share complimentary missions – RDC is a forum for stakeholders to champion national policies and funding initiatives in research data management, while Portage provides operational support for data management nationally. Portage is represented on the Research Data Canada Steering Committee and has members on a number of RDC Committees. RDC has a representative on the CARL Directors’ Portage Steering Committee.
Research service offices provide institutional support to researchers, assisting them with the administration of grant applications and awards and with legal and ethical requirements. As funding agencies introduce data policies as part of the administration of grants, the professionals in research offices will find certain aspects of research data management requiring their attention. Portage can help the staff in research service offices meet these administrative requirements through a coordinated exchange of information from data management plans and services. The Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) has representation on the CARL Directors’ Portage Steering Committee.
Research Ethics Boards guide researchers through a review process to ensure compliance with ethical standards. With increasing expectations on researchers to make their data available for new uses or for reproducing published findings, ethics boards are confronted with new challenges around the management and stewardship of sensitive information. In the case of research with human participants, information is needed about how data will be prepared, managed, shared, and archived while protecting the participants’ information from disclosure, harmful use, or inappropriate linkage with other personal data. Portage and the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB) are collaborating to standardize the gathering and exchange of information on data management and stewardship that is needed in the ethics review process. CAREB has representation on the CARL Directors’ Portage Steering Committee.
- Council of Atlantic University Libraries (CAUL)
- Council of Pacific and Prairie University Libraries (COPPUL)
- Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL)
- Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI)