Shifting Horizons: A Literature Review of Research Data Management Train-the-Trainer Models for Library and Campus-Wide Research Support Staff in Canadian Institutions




Objective – In consideration of emerging national Research Data Management (RDM) policy and infrastructure, this literature review seeks answers to the following questions:

1) What is the most effective way for a Canadian research university to build capacity among library and campus-wide research support staff, with a view towards providing coordinated RDM support services for our researcher community?
2) What international training models and course offerings are available and appropriate for a local context?
3) What national guidelines and best practices for pedagogical design and delivery can be adapted for a local context?

Methods – This literature review synthesizes a total of 13 sources: 9 articles, 2 book chapters, and 2 whitepapers. The whitepapers were selected for a narrative literature review because of their focus on case studies detailing train-the-trainer models. Within the 13 sources we found 14 key case studies. This review serves as a supplement to the 2017 CARL Portage Training Expert Group white paper, “Research Data Management Training Landscape in Canada,” the focus of which was to identify RDM training gaps in order to recommend a coordinated approach to RDM training in a national environment.

Results – The narrative review of case studies revealed three thematic areas. Firstly, pedagogical challenges were identified, including the need to target training to RDM support staff such as librarians and researchers, as they comprise distinct groups of trainees with divergent disciplinary vocabularies and incentives for training. Secondly, the case studies cover a broad range of pedagogical models including single or multiple sessions, self-directed or instructor-led, in-person or online instruction, and a hybrid of the two. Finally, RDM training also emerged as a key factor in community building within library staff units, among service units on campus, and with campus research communities.

Conclusion – RDM training programs at local institutions should be guided by a set of principles aligned with the training methods, modes of assessment, and infrastructure development timeline outlined in a national training strategy. When adapting principles and training strategies to a local context, the following trends in the literature should be considered: librarians and researchers must have meaningful incentives to undertake training in RDM or to join a community of practice; disciplinary-specific instruction is preferable to general instruction; a librarian’s own training opportunities will influence their ability to provide discipline-specific RDM instruction to researchers; in-person training opportunities improve learning retention and produce beneficial secondary effects, whereas online instruction is most effective when paired with an in-person component; generalized third-party RDM training should be adapted to local context to be meaningful. Future directions for RDM training will integrate into open access and digital scholarship training, and into cross-disciplinary, open science communities of practice.


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Author Biographies

Dr. Felicity Tayler, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Research Data Management Librarian

Maziar Jafary, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PhD Candidate and Part-Time Professor , School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies




How to Cite

Tayler, F., & Jafary, M. . (2021). Shifting Horizons: A Literature Review of Research Data Management Train-the-Trainer Models for Library and Campus-Wide Research Support Staff in Canadian Institutions. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 16(1), 78–90.



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