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Research Data Management

A guide to finding, planning, and sharing research data.

Indigenous Data

Indigenous-owned Data includes data collected from Indigenous People, Indigenous lands, water, and ice. Researchers must receive consent from the affected Indigenous community leaders to share data. This applies to all research conducted with Indigenous-owned Data both in Canada and internationally. 

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Indigenous Data and Tri-Agency

The Government of Canada's Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy acknowledges the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty and RDM principles that recognize and respect self-determination for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. The policy states that data related to research by and with Indigenous communities must be managed in accordance with data management principles developed and approved by these communities.

Further information about the agencies' plans to advance Indigenous RDM are outlined in Setting New Directions to Support Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada 2019-2022, which has been extended to 2026 

Adapted from Research Data Management Guide, University of Lethbridge Library 

First Nations Principles of OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access, Possession)

The First Nations principles of OCAP® assert that First Nations have control over data collection processes, and that they own and control how this information can be used. OCAP® refers to ownership, control, access, and possession. 

Ownership: The relationship of First Nations to their cultural knowledge, data, and information. This principle states that a community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns his or her personal information.

Control: First Nations, their communities, and representative bodies are within their rights to seek control over all aspects of research and information management processes that impact them. First Nations control of research can include all stages of a particular research project-from start to finish. The principle extends to the control of resources and review processes, the planning process, management of the information and so on.

Access: First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities regardless of where it is held. The principle of access also refers to the right of First Nations’ communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding access to their collective information. This may be achieved, in practice, through standardized, formal protocols.

Possession: While ownership identifies the relationship between a people and their information in principle, possession or stewardship is more concrete: it refers to the physical control of data. Possession is the mechanism by which ownership can be asserted and protected. (FNIGC)

Adapted from Research Data Management Guide, University of Lethbridge Library 

CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

The Global Indigenous Data Alliance, or GIDA, has provided the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance to govern the appropriate use and reuse of Indigenous data. CARE complements the existing FAIR principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability) encouraging open and other data movements to consider both people and purpose in their advocacy and pursuits.

Teal coloured poster that says Be FAIR- Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable and CARE -Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, Ethics

Collective Benefit: Data ecosystems shall be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous Peoples to derive benefit from the data.

Authority to Control: Indigenous Peoples’ rights and interests in Indigenous data must be recognized and their authority to control such data be empowered. Indigenous data governance enables Indigenous Peoples and governing bodies to determine how Indigenous Peoples, as well as Indigenous lands, territories, resources, knowledges and geographical indicators, are represented and identified within data.

Responsibility: Those working with Indigenous data have a responsibility to share how those data are used to support Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination and collective benefit. Accountability requires meaningful and openly available evidence of these efforts and the benefits accruing to Indigenous Peoples.

Ethics: Indigenous Peoples’ rights and wellbeing should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle and across the data ecosystem. (CARE Principles)

Adapted from Research Data Management Guide, University of Lethbridge Library and Research Data Management Guide, University of the Fraser Valley Library

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