Research Data Management

Research data management (RDM) is at the very heart of daily activities for researchers, institutions, libraries, and research funding organizations. In fact, the ubiquitous nature of digital instrumentation and increasing precision of computer models have led to an explosion in the quantity of data produced. Consequently, this data brings forth new research inquiries, new approaches to problem solving, and new challenges.

RDM Techniques allow:

  • File naming, data quality control, and quality assurance. 
  • Data access and documentation; metadata creation and controlled vocabularies; data storage, archiving, and preservation; and data sharing and reuse.

FRDR Service Overview

In 2016, Compute Canada (CC), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), and the Portage Network  joined forces to create the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR).

FRDR addresses a longstanding gap in Canada’s digital research infrastructure by providing:

  • a scalable platform for large research data to be deposited, curated, processed for preservation, discovered, cited, shared, and reused.
  • a scalable platform for large research data to be deposited, curated, processed for preservation, discovered, cited, shared, and reused.
  • a robust federated discovery and access layer, based on metadata harvested from government, institutional, and domain repositories.
  • tools to help researchers publish and manage their data, prepare their research data for long-term preservation, and comply with institutional and funding agency data management requirements.

FRDR will launch in full production as a national data discovery service and repository option for all Canadian researchers in January 2021.

Who Can Use FRDR?

All researchers at Canadian postsecondary institutions can use FRDR to publish their data openly without cost, up to a certain threshold. Anyone can find and download research data hosted in FRDR directly from the platform. For more information, visit  FRDR FAQ page.

FRDR Features

Repository Services
  • Repository platform
    • Fast and efficient data upload and download for large datasets through Globus File Transfer, as well as web browser transfers for smaller datasets
    • A fully-bilingual user interface and robust documentation available in English and French
    • DOI registration for datasets provides a persistent identifier that can be used for data citation
    • Support for multiple authentication providers, including Compute Canada, ORCID, and a growing list of Canadian postsecondary institutions
    • Optional embargoes on data and metadata records
    • Allows multiple people to collaborate on a submission
    • Support for Special Collections by research groups with organizational branding and links to external web content
    • A responsive support service with business hours coverage across Canada
    • Planned feature extension, scheduled releases, and updates
  • Managed Storage Services
    • Managed repository storage spread across multiple Compute Canada Federation hosting sites
    • Secure repository storage for a minimum of 10 years after deposit
    • Regular backups and geographically distributed storage for research data
    • On-site system administration and ongoing hardware maintenance
  • Curation Services
    • Create and review documentation and metadata to explain and contextualize data
    • Perform quality assurance through metadata inspection, file audit, and code review
    • Link research data documentation to author PIDs (e.g., ORCIDs) and, where relevant, grant information
    • Link research data documentation to other research products, e.g., data management plans, data papers, journal articles
Discovery Services
  • Metadata harvesting and indexing of Canadian research data repositories, including datasets hosted in FRDR’s repository platform
  • Discovery interface with text-based search functionality supported by Globus search
  • Openly available OAI-PMH feed of harvested metadata
  • Geodisy: geospatial search interface using GeoBlacklight (currently in beta)
Preservation Services
  • Preservation processing of research data via parallelized Archivematica instances:
    • Checksum generation
    • File identification, characterization, and validation
    • Format conversion of files via policy registry to future-friendly formats
    • Archival Information Package (AIP) creation
  • Long-term preservation storage:
    • Transfer of AIPs to partnering Preservation Service Providers


FRDR began as a software development project that started in January 2016, following an earlier pilot project that identified scalability and preservation as key elements needed in a future RDM service. Alpha testing of user interfaces was started in late 2016 thanks to the contribution of discovery interface code developed by the University of British Columbia. Beta testing was started in April 2017 and, as of September 2017, FRDR has been operating in limited production supporting an increasing number of Canadian researchers.

FRDR was developed through a partnership between Compute Canada and CARL Portage — the former providing technical capacity and development and the latter providing RDM expertise, curation, and consulting for researchers.

To learn more about the project’s development, please refer to the Publications page.

Questions and Additional Information

For more information, visit FRDR website.For all questions or comments on the FRDR platform, please write to the DRDR support team.