Last month, our friends Jay Brodeur (McMaster) and Lee Wilson (ACENET/Portage) from the Portage Network organized the first Canadian Data Curation Forum held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario October 16-18, 2019. Cynthia Hudson Vitale and Lisa Johnston were invited to give a talk and share in this exciting development. We also taught a mini-workshop on specialized data curation as a pre-workshop to the event!

News from Portage

The forum brought together individuals from a wide range of stakeholders, including domain based repository curators, funders, and academic library data specialists. Their goal? To develop a vision and roadmap for a national approach to data curation in Canada. Of course, this sounds like a great idea to us, but what was really exciting was to see this effort backed by a $2 million grant to CARL-Portage and partners. The new funding will help Portage continue to develop in three existing areas:

  1. Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR)– It looks like this national repository built for large data not only searches across 45+ data repositories, but will soon open its doors for deposit from any researcher affiliated with a Canadian institution.
  2. Scholars Portal – the Canadian Dataverse offers institutionally-branded instances of a robust repository platform.
    • Wow, a really great Data Curation Tool was introduced at the event – this is used to clean, visualize, and refine tabular data.
    • Portage is also discussing a single dataverse platform called Dataverse North
  3. Data Management Planning Assistant – No news here, except that the funders in Canada do not YET require DMPs, so this area is built in anticipation. Nice!

See some detailed slides about these efforts below and all the materials from the Canadian Data Curation forum are posted at

Also at the forum, several keynote speakers highlighted the challenges that Canada faces as they move toward national data repository infrastructure. Mark Leggot (Research Data Canada) spoke about the need for greater automation in data curation. Executive director of Portage, Jeff Moon, spoke about the role of curation in the expanding research data management space. Brad Covey and Reyna Jenkyns, curators from Ocean Networks Canada gave a presentation on their domain repository experiences, highlighting how they are using ISO standards for dataset quality control: check out the QARTOD standards.

Erin Clary Joins Portage!

Finally, it was announced that our own DCN curator Erin Clary (Dryad) will be joining Portage as their new Data Curation Coordinator. We wish Erin all the best in this exciting new role and are thrilled that she will still be in the profession! The DCN has no borders and it will be exciting to see the many ways in which we can work with the new network getting started in Canada!

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