CASRAI Canada chapter - progress and next steps


I am delighted to take on the role of the CASRAI Canada Steering Committee (SC) Chair from my colleague Kristina Ohrvall (McGill University), who will be continuing as Past Chair.

We are delighted that Dr. Sushanta Mitra has stepped into the role of Deputy Chair – welcome aboard Sushanta and thank you for our commitment to the CASRAI Canada Chapter. Sushanta is moving into a new role starting August 1 as Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) ( – congratulations Sushanta! Sushanta is currently Associate Vice-Principal Research at York University in Toronto.

Below is an update on recent activities and events that the CASRAI CA SC has organized, or has participated in, and a summary of upcoming activities and timelines, which includes activities with which we need the involvement of the CA members and partners … yes, we are requesting as much “rolling-up-of-sleeves” from our stakeholders as you can afford to volunteer!

Upcoming CASRAI Canada Steering Committee and Partners teleconference calls are already scheduled for September 14 and November 30 and we hope the majority of you can join us. The CASRAI office will soon send calendar invites to you all for the remaining (bi-monthly, hourly) calls to get us through to the next Reconnect in June 2018. Please let us know if you think bi-monthly is to frequent, i.e., January, March, and May of 2018.

We see the next 12 months as an opportune time for the Steering Committee members, Funders and Associations to play very active and reinvigorated roles in the business of the CASRAI Canada Chapter – the momentum is building! We hope that all will find areas/activities to engage where your strengths and interests align. That said, we are mindful of everyone’s very busy schedules and appreciate the time you volunteer to the mission and vision of CASRAI.

Speaking of momentum … the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) has just released a report on the Academic Recognition of Team Science that includes significant references to CASRAI CReDiT … see the announcement here

Please note that we are rolling out a new mailing list that is integrated with our new web Forum. The new Forum has proven a very helpful and popular collaboration platform on our recent Open Review (, and it is also the platform we are starting to use to support all CASRAI groups and committees.

If you have any news/events to report that are of relevance to CASRAI that are not captured here, we look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to post them as replies to this community post.

Open Calls: 2016 and 2017

The Open Call from Autumn 2016 ( resulted in four primary Working Groups (with a fifth open call for cross-cutting aspects), specifically:

  1.  IRIDIUM Standard Glossary for RDM: (led by Canada chapter);
  2.  Standard Glossary for Open Access: (led by UK chapter);
  3.  Standard Taxonomy for Academic Career Levels: (led by UK chapter);
  4.  Standard Template for Research Impacts data collection: (led by UK chapter);
  5.  Standard definitions for cross-cutting Terms: (via CASRAI Editor).

The next Open Call for the planned upcoming cycle of work in all chapters is scheduled to launch at the end of July 2017/beginning of August. The goals of the Open Calls are to (a) encourage further community consultation, (b) expressions of support/endorsement for the priorities, and © source volunteers for the resulting Working Groups. For the proposed Canadian priorities, thus far, we have the following:

  1.  A Polar Data, Indigenous perspective added to the existing IRIDIUM Working Group (WG);
  2.  A new set of RDM terms, picklists, and exchange templates from the Portage RDM online tool added to the IRIDIUM activity;
  3.  A SSH perspective (in collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities) and new glossary terms added to the Impact activity;
  4.  Facilitated Community Discussion on Key Terminology

The CASRAI office is developing short summaries for each of the above priorities, which will be added to the webpage soon. We will notify you once the webpage is ready such that you can promote the Open Call through your networks.

Reconnect 2017 Conference a Success – Solving Old Problems Together in New Ways!

The conference program included three very stimulating Partner Roundtable discussions:

(i) partnering associations thoughts on the opportunities of collaborating in the CASRAI space;

(ii) research funder perspectives on challenges and opportunities; and

(iii) post-secondary sector perspectives on challenges and opportunities.

It is very clear that universities’, funders’ and associations’ operations vary depending on our clients, goals, and priorities; however, we are all dependent on quality research administration information for making decisions and running our organizations.

A very big thank you to all who participated in the roundtable discussions!

We were especially delighted to have Martha Crago , PhD, Member of the Naylor Panel and incoming Vice Principal Research and Innovation, McGill University, deliver the keynote address. My “take-aways” from Dr. Crago’s keynote included the reality that universities have to tell their stories and the impact of the research emanating from our institutions – we need to be doing this before the next budget is fixed in November 2017. We need to invest in our communities and work with our communities in a true partnership. Finally, we need provide our undergrads with more multi-disciplinary educational experiences: Canadian institutions are deep and narrow, which does not promote multi-disciplinarity. In addition Martha stressed the expectation by the government of increased coordination and cooperation among the federal funding agencies going forward.

LCDRI Summit: June 27, 2017

Janet Halliwell and I attended the LCDRI Summit (Cdn. Leadership Council for Digital Research Infrastructure) – thank you Janet for sharing your thorough Summit notes for this summary!

The initial welcome and overview of the day was provided by Feridun Hamdullahpur, Chair, LCDRI, and President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. Next, Robbin Tourangeau, Executive Director LCDRI, “set the stage” and suggested a metaphor, LCDRI as an “architect” – the group that would help lead development of a clear vision as to what functions should be in the DRI building and what the building looks like.

In the morning, there were three breakout groups, which was followed by a “report back” of all groups. The topics of discussion were: Advanced Research Computing; Data Management; and Coordination.

I attended the Coordination breakout group comprising a presentation and discussion of the commissioned TBG MacNiven consultant report on LCDRI governance. Three governance options were presented: (1) establish a DRI Deputy Minister Coordinating Committee reporting to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; (2) establish an arms-length Digital Research Infrastructure transfer payment NFP Corporation to enable decision making, chaired by a highly respected and innovative leader; (3) Expand the mandate of the Canada Foundation for Innovation to supplement funding research infrastructure to include coordination of DRI ecosystem. There was plenty of discussion and there appeared to be broad-based agreement that Option 2 is the most favourable option.

Following lunch, Kevin Fitzgibbons, Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Policy, NSERC, and Matthew Lucas, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy and Performance, SSHRC, provided an update on the Tri-Agency Data Management Policy Initiative, which was generally well received, but recognized the need for research data management resources at funded institutions to facilitate policy implementation.

There were three afternoon breakout sessions including the one I attended titled “Whose responsibility is it?,” which was moderated by Steven Liss (VP Research and Innovation, Ryerson). Three speakers – Alison McDermott (ISED), Allison Barr (Office of the Ontario Chief Science Officer), Steve Cundy (UBC) – provided federal, provincial and institutional perspectives. There was full agreement that the federal government needs to establish an overarching policy; there should be cost sharing; and different levels play different roles.

It was during this session that there was brief discussion of a missing element – management of “research administration data”, or “research management information” – which has the potential to make the overall research system more efficient and is aligned with the mission and vision of CASRAI.