Compute Canada (CC) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL and its Portage Network) are collaborating to build a scalable federated platform for digital research data management (RDM) and discovery. Using best practices and techniques, research data will be transferred, ingested, curated, preserved, discovered, and shared. This partnership’s pan-Canadian platform will provide tools and services to support researchers across our country in a range of disciplines to have improved access and control of large amounts of data. Furthermore, it addresses a longstanding gap in Canada’s infrastructure for RDM.
The federated research data repository and discovery service (FRDR) are not intended to serve as a monolithic solution for all of Canada’s research data needs. Rather, it is meant to provide a framework that allows existing and future data repositories to be federated within a coherent system. At the same time, it will provide a flexible repository and preservation system for Canadian researchers and institutions who do not have an existing solution. RDM practices increase accountability for use of public funds, improve the completeness and understandability of data that is retained, improve the veracity of research findings by permitting other researchers to reproduce the results, improve the discoverability of data by other researchers, and ultimately accelerate new research outcomes.
The Federated Research Data Repository makes extensive use of tools operated by Globus. Globus is a non-profit project out of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Globus is a partner in the delivery of the FRDR service.
FRDR is currently in a software development phase.
The Portage Network of CARL will assist with the requirements for and design of a national platform service, providing metadata and data workflow solutions and testing the platform. Compute Canada will provide project management and software development expertise and necessary computational power.
The next phase (starting April 2017) is to conduct Beta testing of both the interface and the underlying functionality of the software. This testing will incorporate a broader range of users to increase the diversity of subjects and datasets, as well as to test the user reactions with varying degrees of familiarity with RDM and data repositories. In this case, a user support function is required to help beta testers and to begin learning about the amount and type of support users will need. Also during this phase, the technical and support environment for both the pilot phase and for production needs to be finalized.
The Pilot phase is scheduled for the fall of 2017 and will be tested with a limited number of users to gain an understanding of the technical platform and the service organization needed once production starts. The pilot phase is intended to debug the technical systems supporting the structure. It will include a production-candidate software version, the production hardware environment and a support team.
The FRDR schedule plans to be ready to launching FRDR as a service to Canadian researchers at the beginning of 2018.
The Steering Committee for the development project comprises representation from Compute Canada and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries: