Collaboration has always been a central principle for re3data. This is reflected in the fact that research communities, repository providers, and other relevant stakeholders contribute significantly to the completeness and accuracy of the re3data metadata as well as its further technical and conceptual development. As the world's largest directory of research data repository, re3data currently describes over 3000 infrastructures on the basis of a comprehensive metadata schema. The service was launched in 2012 and therefore has recorded information on the repository landscape for over 10 years.

Within the international research data community, the Discovery and Metadata Expert Group (DMEG), part of the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, has led by example to improve the visibility and discoverability of research data repositories. DMEG assists data creators, curators, and other professionals in the planning, creation, management, and dissemination of descriptive metadata to enable effective discovery and reuse of research data across a broad range of disciplines.

The Canadian Data Repositories Landscape Working Group

Among other activities, DMEG established the short-term Canadian Data Repositories Landscape Working Group in April 2021. The group reviewed and updated existing Canadian repository records in re3data, and identified new repository candidates to be added into the registry. This work built on previous fruitful collaborations to index and map the Canadian repository landscape in re3data. The re3data registry was selected as the preferred central reference point for information on Canadian data repositories because of its strong editorial practices, broad coverage, and integrations with global digital research infrastructures.

The project group established inclusion criteria for indexing Canadian research data repositories in the light of re3data’s registration policy. Based on these criteria, new repository candidates were identified and communicated to re3data so that they could be added to the registry. According to the recently published project report of the working group, 153 potential repositories were submitted for review to the re3data editorial team.

The repository suggestions were pre-structured in similar batches (e.g. by institutional repositories in case of university repositories or by region in case of governmental repositories) for more effective processing. The pre-filled fields were examined and extended piece by piece by re3data’s editorial board. In addition to new suggestions, all existing entries of Canadian repositories were checked for consistency, whereby re3data provided support on the best possible application of its schema.

The re3data team benefitted from insights into the diversity of the Canadian repository landscape and its networks. Especially for areas that the International Editorial Board cannot cover comprehensively, this information is esential for achieving high-quality metadata.

Recommendations for repository operators

The project also aimed to highlight the value of re3data for different stakeholders within the Canadian research data management community. Recommendations have been developed on how to improve the discoverability and accuracy of Canadian data repositories via re3data:

  • Operators of Canadian repositories not yet indexed in re3data should consider submitting a registration request in order to help researchers discover and use the unique research data sets they disseminate.
  • Operators of Canadian repositories should notify re3data of any major changes to access policies for research data offered through their platforms via the “Submit a Change Request” form linked at the bottom of each individual registry entry.

Looking ahead

The DMEG working group recommends that an inventory of the Canadian data repository landscape be conducted every three years. The group also suggests that the Canadian research data community be reminded annually of the added value that re3data provides to repository operators seeking greater visibility and discoverability.

Both re3data users and repository operators benefit from accurate and complete information in repository registries. Achieving this goal can be accomplished through an active community that contributes updates and additions. Therefore, the re3data team is committed to enter into further collaborations with repository networks, consortia, and other research data communities to review repository descriptions.

With the upcoming implementation of the latest schema update for re3data, a new property "r3d:profile" will provide the option to identify a subset of the repositories indexed in re3data based on criteria developed in the community. Each profile must include a URL that outlines the selection criteria. This feature is intended to further lower the threshold for community contributions to the re3data database.

Get in touch!

Please get in touch with our team if you are interested in working with re3data to ensure that registry information about research data repositories relevant to your community is complete and up-to-date. For bulk ingests, such as in the case of the Canadian Data Repositories Landscape Working Group, please contact us at


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