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Open Research Data Initiative - Proposals document

We encourage applicants to refer to the proposal outline as they read the following information.


IDRC’s Open Data Statement of Principles articulates its support for open research data. The sharing and reuse of data for research purposes has been shown to accelerate scientific discovery, promote collaboration, validate research quality, and increase the visibility of research, among other benefits.

The process of making research data open, however, is not without its challenges. As the Statement of Principles makes clear, IDRC intends to support the research community we fund to make its research data open.

As part of its efforts to make research data publicly available, IDRC invites researchers to participate in the process of planning, describing, and openly publishing their IDRC-funded research data. This funding opportunity will build the data management expertise of applicants while making previously closed data open. IDRC expects that applicants invited to participate in this project will benefit from their interactions with data editors and curators, other researchers in the cohort, and IDRC program staff involved in the project.

Overview and objectives

A cohort of up to 24 researchers will receive guidance and support for the following activities:

  • Developing a data management plan
  • Publishing a data article
  • Curating and depositing research data in an open access repository

In the first phase, applicants will develop a data management plan (DMP) for project data. This is a short summary of the applicant’s research data that highlights elements such as the nature of the data, how data is collected and stored, and ethical considerations. Researchers will receive a DMP template and guidance on how to complete their DMP. Experts in the field of open data will provide feedback and once DMPs are finalized they will be shared with the cohort.

In the second phase of the project, applicants will expand on their DMPs to write a data article. Academic publishers have created data journals for authors to profile their open research data. Quoting the goals of one journal, Scientific Data, it “primarily publishes Data Descriptors, a new type of publication that focuses on helping others reuse data, and crediting those who share. [The journal] welcomes submissions from a broad range of research disciplines, including descriptions of big or small datasets, from major consortiums to single research groups.”

Experts in scientific publishing will provide support to applicants throughout this phase. Via webinars, these experts will introduce data sharing concepts and tools to help researchers prepare their data articles and organize their datasets. Researchers in the cohort will be invited to draw on additional support from IDRC staff and experts from data repositories. IDRC will organize a review of the finalized papers and engage experts to provide support to curate the associated data. IDRC seeks to publish the data articles in a suitable open access journal and their corresponding datasets in an open data repository.

The third phase includes depositing datasets in appropriate open data repositories. Experts from data repositories in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will guide researchers by providing advice on publishing datasets and suggesting appropriate open repositories for data deposition.

Finally, applicants will be invited to one of three workshops in either Montevideo, Uruguay; Nairobi, Kenya; or New Delhi, India. These workshops will situate the mechanics of data management and sharing within national/regional contexts. The workshops will involve interactive sessions to distil insights from the data management phases and provide training on data publishing. Recognizing that different cultures, infrastructure, and policies shape data sharing practices across countries, the workshop will also seek to generate suggestions for how IDRC, and potentially other agencies, can support researchers who wish to openly publish or share their research data. 

Project activities and timeline

This timeline is provided for planning purposes only. Exact dates will be communicated to successful applicants.




Notification of funding


Finalize grant agreement


Webinar #1 and start DMP


Webinar #2 and start data article


Complete DMP


Data article writing and support


Submit manuscript and dataset to research data journal


Workshops: Montevideo, Nairobi, and New Delhi


Grant agreement ends


IDRC supports publication of articles and datasets and finalizes associated payment


Each successful applicant will receive the following budget allocations:

  • Travel: CA$3,150 to attend one of the three workshops (to cover transportation, accommodation, and living expenses).
  • Research support: CA$6,000 to assist with writing an article and data curation. Funds may be used to support research assistants, professional/research staff at your home institution, and/or support your research time.
  • Indirect costs: CA$1,190 (or 13% of travel and research support costs).
  • Publishing costs: IDRC will make up to CA$5,000 available to cover processing fees to publish the data article and the cost of data deposition. These funds will be held by IDRC and paid directly to the publishers or repositories.

Selection process and criteria

The IDRC selection committee will rate each application using the assessment criteria below. The top eight proposals from Africa, Asia, and Latin America will be recommended for funding. In order to support data management and sharing in different research domains, if too many top-ranked proposals cover a similar field of research, IDRC may invite a lower-ranked proposal with data from another field.  Top ranked applicants may be asked to respond to questions prior to finalizing the selection process.

Assessment criteria

Weight %

Data Availability

  • Access to and right to publish the data
  • Likelihood that the data can be made openly available or at least available to other researchers on a restricted access basis

(Narrative Description A of the proposal)


Data Reuse

  • Likelihood that the data would be useful to others — potential users are identified and the reasons  for potential reuse by others are explained (e.g., relevance, completeness, uniqueness, novelty)

(Narrative Description B of the proposal and related publications)


Team composition and stated benefits to the research team

  • Clear learning objectives and interest
  • Note: expertise in data management or data publication are not assessment criteria

(Narrative Description C of the proposal and CVs)


Comments may be provided to unsuccessful candidates.

How to apply