Research data are an important asset to our University and our researchers. Thus, we want to support robust data management and documentation practices that ensure long term-access and re-use of Harvard research data.

This is why we have launched a new initiative to coordinate all the research data management efforts across Harvard, find the areas in which we can collaborate across Schools, and then improve our support for research data management for all Harvard researchers. This includes bringing useful data to Harvard to be available for internal research, making data from Harvard researchers available to others, providing the appropriate resources and tools to support the data lifecycle, encouraging best practices while working with data, and ensuring compliance with internal and external data policies and regulations.

We plan to achieve this by 1) establishing a research data management faculty advisory committee, which represents a diverse set of research fields, methods, and data types, 2) setting up several working groups with staff members from various Schools, each group focusing on improving a specific aspect of research data management (e.g. data use agreements, data curation, training in best practices, data management and analysis tools), and 3) working together with the Office of Vice Provost for Research, the Harvard Library, and Harvard University Information Technology to deliver what is needed.

One of our goals is to align with national and international research data efforts - as well as with federal agencies, philanthropic organizations, journals and publishers - to make research data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and as open as possible, while as protected as needed. In addition, towards supporting Harvard’s own research growth, our goal is to provide access to more and better-quality data, that are well-managed and easily usable within and across research groups.