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Research Data

The proliferation, management, and preservation of research data is one of the most pressing challenges facing research libraries. ARL works with members, funders, and partners to advance FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) data principles by aligning institutional policies with funder mandates and best practices in scholarship and digital stewardship.


photo of open hand with networked points of light in sunriseRealities of Academic Data Sharing (RADS) Initiative

Public access to research data is critical to advancing science and solving real world problems. In recent years a number of funding agencies have required the management and broad sharing of research data and other related research outputs to accelerate the impacts of their investments.


Recent Reports

cropped cover of Implementing Effective Data Practices reportImplementing Effective Data Practices Toolkit

This communication toolkit draws upon the outcomes of a 2019 conference, “Implementing Effective Data Practices: A Conference on Collaborative Research Support,” convened by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), California Digital Library (CDL), Association of American Universities (AAU), and Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and sponsored by the US National Science Foundation (NSF).

ARL/CARL Joint Task Force on Research Data Services

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL)/Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Joint Task Force on Research Data Services was formed in early 2020 with a two-fold purpose: (1) to demonstrate and commit to the roles research libraries have in stewarding research data as part of institution-wide research support services and (2) to guide the development of resources for the ARL and CARL memberships in advancing their organizations as collaborative partners with respect to research data services in the context of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) data principles and the US National Academies’ Open Science by Design framework.


Related Resources

SPEC Kit 354: Data Curation (May 2017)

This SPEC Kit explores the infrastructure that ARL member institutions are using for data curation, which data curation services are offered, who may use them, which disciplines demand services most, library staffing levels, policies and workflows, and the challenges of supporting these activities.

SPEC Kit 334: Research Data Management Services (July 2013)

SPEC Kit 334 surveys ARL member libraries on their activities related to access, management, and archiving of research data at their institutions. The survey explores the organization of research data management services (including a few questions on broader data support services), how they are staffed and funded, and what services they offer and to whom, among other questions. It includes examples of research data policies, data retention policies, data management plan tools, job descriptions, data needs assessment tools, data archive web pages, and staff resources.

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