Category: News

Portage Participation in May & June 2016 Conferences

August 9, 2016 – In May and June of this year, representatives from Portage presented at a number of national and international conferences, engaging in lively discussions with researchers and other research data stakeholders on issues related to data management and planning.

1. Portage Presentations at CARA and CAREB

As part of the conference of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) in Vancouver, May 1-4, Jeff Moon, Chair of the Portage DMP Expert Group, and Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, led a half-day workshop introducing DMPs and providing research scenarios that participants used to prepare a DMP. Kathleen Shearer, research associate with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), joined Jeff and Chuck for a conference session dedicated to managing the research record.

Susan Babcock, Acting Executive Director of the Research Ethics Office at the University of Alberta, organized a workshop as part of the conference of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB), May 25-28 in Toronto. This workshop focused on research data management and research ethics that included presentations from Portage, Chairs of Ethics Boards, and researchers. Susan and Chuck also spoke during the conference on Turning Statements on Ethics and Research Data Management into Best Practices. They argued that incorporating data management plans within research ethics applications strengthens an ethics review and fulfills expectations about research data expressed in a trilogy of policy documents: (i) Tri-council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, (ii) the Tri-agency Responsible Conduct of Research Framework, and (iii) the Tri-agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management.

2. Research Data Management at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) organized two sessions at Congress 2016, held at the University of Calgary from May 28 to June 3, that focused on emerging research data management (RDM) policies. Representatives from twenty-four scholarly societies and associations attended these sessions to hear about the latest developments and to express their positions on the topic. Each session provided perspectives from the viewpoint of a research funding agency (SSHRC), an RDM service provider (Portage), an institution (University of Calgary), and a researcher from the Digital Humanities. The recently adopted Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management identifies the RDM responsibilities of several stakeholder groups, including the research communities represented by scholarly societies and associations. These two sessions at Congress 2016 initiated an important conversation about shared RDM roles that is expected to continue into the future.

3. Portage at CANHEIT/HPCS 2016

The Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers (CUCCIO) and the High Performance Computing Symposium (HPCS) hosted a joint conference at the University of Alberta from June 19 to 22, 2016. Portage and Compute Canada joined forces to organize five sessions on research data management on June 21 as part of the HPCS program. Among these sessions, Linda Naughton from Jisc in the UK spoke about their pilot for a national data service. Mark Leggott, Executive Director for Research Data Canada, presented a model for a scholarly metadata ecosystem and its relationship to research data. Alan Darnell, Director of Scholars Portal, described his organization’s provision of services and infrastructure for research data. A panel chaired by Lori MacMullen, Executive Director of CUCCIO, and consisting of Dugan O’Neil, Chief Scientist for Compute Canada, Bo Wandschneider, Queen’s CIO, and Chuck Humphrey, Director of Portage, addressed the challenges of providing RDM infrastructure in Canada and the collaborative work being undertaken by Compute Canada and Portage. Alex Garnett from SFU and Todd Trann from the University of Saskatchewan demonstrated the progress made in developing a federated research data repository and its data discovery system. Other speakers in RDM sessions included Eugene Barsky and Jamie Rosner from the University of British Columbia and Frédérick Lefebvre and Florent Parent from Calcul Quebec.  

4. Research Data Management at IATUL

Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian at Queen’s University, and President of CARL, and Donna Bourne-Tyson, University Librarian at Dalhousie University and Vice-President / President-Elect for CARL, presented at the International Association of University Libraries (IATUL) Conference (June 5-9 in Halifax, NS). Their paper, Multi-Stakeholder Engagement in Research Data Management, described approaches taken to aligning RDM services across multiple stakeholder groups in Canada and the various factors to be considered in such collaborations.

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About Portage:
Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact:

Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries
chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca

DMP Assistant Receives an IT Excellence Award

August 8, 2016. – Portage is pleased to announce that the data management planning tool DMP Assistant has been awarded an IT Excellent Award by the University of Alberta.

Mike MacGregor, Vice Provost and Associate Vice President of Information Services and Technology at the University of Alberta, announced that the development team for DMP Assistant was selected for the University’s 2016 Information Technology Excellence Award. This award recognizes innovative uses of software technology to enhance research, teaching, and administration. DMP Assistant is a national, open, bilingual web service for data management plans adapted from the UK Digital Curation Centre’s DMPonline. Weiwei Shi from the University of Alberta Libraries led a development team consisting of local application and system analysts and of contributions from Diane Sauvé and Marie-Hélène Vézina at the Université de Montréal and from the members of the Portage DMP Expert Group, chaired by Jeff Moon from Queen’s University.

Data management plans are an internationally accepted best practice in research and were incorporated as early as 2007 in Canadian-funded research through the International Polar Year. Genome Canada has also adopted DMPs and recently the Tri-agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management identified such plans as an essential research practice. Portage is currently working with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to introduce data management plans in research that they fund. The International Development Research Centre of Canada is now conducting a pilot project that uses DMP Assistant.

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About Portage:
Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact:

Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries
chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca

Portage Network Releases White Paper on Research Data Discovery in Canada

OTTAWA, July 26, 2016 ­— The Portage Network has just released a white paper entitled Research Data Discovery and the Scholarly Ecosystem in Canada, written by members of the Portage Data Discovery Expert Group: Eugene Barsky (University of British Columbia), John Brosz (University of Calgary), and Amber Leahey (Scholars Portal, Ontario Council of University Libraries).

The Portage Data Discovery Expert Group was created to ensure that Canadian research data is comprehensively described through the use of appropriate standards and indexed in suitable tools to support its discovery, facilitate its access, and inform researchers of its potential reuse in a wide variety of contexts and by a broad range of users.

Supporting data creators and curators in planning, producing, and managing descriptive metadata for effective discovery across a wide variety of disciplines, this group also supports the integration of descriptive metadata with web-based discovery, alerting services, and administrative research systems as part of the lifecycle of scholarly research and research data. The group promotes standards for metadata and data that support both machine-to- machine and human-to- machine discovery activities.

One of the first tasks for this group was to produce a white paper for the broad research data management community that provides an environmental scan of the systems supporting data discovery today and explores options for the design of a coordinated, national discovery service for research data in Canada. We see this white paper as an invitation to begin discussions with other stakeholders in research data management about the challenges and solutions to data discovery in Canada. This paper will also help direct the Discovery Expert Group in undertaking specific projects within Portage to improve data discovery.

The full white paper is available in both official languages from the Portage website. Update [July 29, 20169]: The French version of this document is now available. 

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About Portage:
Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact:

Eugene Barsky, Chair, Portage Data Discovery Expert Group
eugene.barsky@ubc.ca

Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries
chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca

Portage Releases DMP Assistant Institutional Customization Guide

OTTAWA, July 26, 2016 ­— The Portage Network is pleased to announce the release of version 1.0 of the DMP Assistant Institutional Customization Guide, which allows institutions to develop a template for questions and guidance content within the DMP Assistant that reflects their specific needs and to adopt a look and feel that reflects that of the institution.

This guide was developed by members of the Portage DMP Customization Working Group (a subset of the Portage DMP Management Expert Group): Jay Brodeur (McMaster University), Talia Chung (University of Ottawa), Carla Graebner (Simon Fraser University), Alex Guindon (Concordia University), Amber Leahey (Scholars Portal), Anthony Petryk (University of Ottawa), and Weiwei Shi (University of Alberta).

DMP Assistant is a national, open, bilingual data management planning tool that provides specialized guidance to all researchers in Canada, taking them step-by-step through a series of questions to help them achieve research data stewardship.

The first iteration of this customization guide is currently available in English from the Portage website; please contact us if you have any questions.

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About Portage:
Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact:
Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries
chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca

Weiwei Shi, Digital Initiative Applications Librarian, University of Alberta
weiwei.shi@ualberta.ca

Portage Council of Chairs Hold Inaugural Meeting

OTTAWA, July 20, 2016. – The Portage Network’s Council of Chairs held their inaugural in-person meeting earlier this month in Toronto.

Portage-chairs

The Portage Council of Chairs consists of the Chairs of all active expert groups. Currently these focus on data management planning, curation, preservation, discovery, research intelligence, and training. These Chairs, along with the Portage Director, the Executive Director of CARL, CARL’s Research Associate, and the President of CARL, met on Friday, July 8, 2016 in the Gerstein Science Information Centre at the University of Toronto. Discussions covered a review of Portage accomplishments over the past year, plans for each expert group going into 2017, and budget items associated with each group’s planned activities.

More information about the Council is available on the Portage website.


Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca).

Collaborative Research Intelligence by Portage Network and Partners

July 18, 2016 – Portage is developing a number of initiatives and partnerships in order to study the research data management needs of Canadian researchers in a wide range of disciplines.

Research Intelligence on Data Management in Canada

Portage has launched a new expert group dedicated to producing, collecting, and disseminating evidence about research data management practices in Canada. The Research Intelligence Expert Group (RIEG) will organize and publish materials describing the state of research data management in Canada and will provide a clearinghouse for resources useful to institutional support of RDM. Inquiries about this expert group can be directed to Dylanne Dearborn (University of Toronto Libraries), who is the Chair of RIEG, or Chuck Humphrey, Director of Portage.

The Research Data Management Survey Consortium Joins with Portage

A consortium of university libraries consisting of Dalhousie University, McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo, has agreed to work with Portage to organize and share surveys on research data management. Based on a University of Toronto study of researchers in engineering and the sciences, the Consortium members agreed to replicate this RDM survey on their campuses and then to pool the results.

Portage has agreed to provide this Consortium with organizational support by providing a clearinghouse for its materials and by helping other Canadian universities administer the survey at their institutions. More information on the Research Data Management Survey Consortium is available on the Portage website.

Survey to Discover Research Data Management Needs of Social Sciences and Humanities Researchers in Canada

The Portage Research Intelligence Expert Group is working with members of the Research Data Management Survey Consortium and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to identify the research data management needs of this research community. The results from these surveys will inform SSHRC about the current RDM practices and requirements of researchers who apply for funding from their agency. Combining the lessons learned from these surveys with the directions set in the policy framework provided through the recently adopted Tri-agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management, SSHRC will be better positioned to introduce new data stewardship requirements for data produced through public funding.


Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca).

Tri-Agency Statement on Digital Data Management

July 18, 2016 – A Tri-agency working group, in consultation with the research community, has published a statement of principles on digital data management. The Portage Network welcomes the announcement of these principles, which were officially posted on the Government’s Science website on June 15, 2016 and provide guidance for data policies that address data sharing, the reproducibility of research findings, open science practices, data access, digital stewardship, and data preservation.

The practice of data management plans was listed as a research expectation that considers the state of data across all stages of the research lifecycle. The Portage DMP Assistant is a bilingual, free web service open to the whole research community to prepare data management plans.


Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

For more information, please contact Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca).

CARL Response to Open Government consultation

July 15, 2016 – Last week, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and Portage submitted a response to the June 2016 consultation on the draft new plan on Open Government. Specifically addressing the plan’s commitment to increased openness of federal science activities, five recommendations were made that together promote a vision of open science where infrastructure and services are distributed across institutions and departments, yet community governed. While institutions and departments manage content locally, these collections interoperate through the adoption of common, open standards and shared platform services. This model fosters organizational flexibility and innovation, while increasing the sustainability of an open science ecosystem.

Select “Submit” in order to be taken to this response (PDF) on the CARL/ABRC website.

New website for the Portage Network

OTTAWA, April 18, 2016 ­— The Portage Network has just launched a website that will support the various components and communities central to the shared stewardship of research data in Canada.

As Portage develops and as our various expert groups continue their work, this site will grow, with new content expected in coming months.

The Portage Network is dedicated to:

  • Developing a national research data culture;
  • Fostering a community of practice for research data;
  • Building national research data services and infrastructure.

Launched in 2014 by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Portage works within the library community to coordinate expertise, services, and technology in research data management, seeking to collaborate with other research data management stakeholders.

The full Portage website is available at https://portagenetwork.ca

Portage’s data management tool, DMP Assistant, released in October 2015, can now be accessed at: https://assistant.portagenetwork.ca 

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has also recently releasing its redesigned and reconfigured website at http://carl-abrc.ca.

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For more information, please contact Chuck Humphrey, Portage Director, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (chuck.humphrey@ualberta.ca) or Lise Brin, Project Officer, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (lise.brin@carl-abrc.ca).


Portage is a national research data management initiative to assist researchers and other research data management stakeholders through a library-based network of expertise on RDM and national platforms for planning, preserving, and discovering research data. Portage is managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).

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