U of G Getting High-Security Data Research Centre

May 11, 2011 - News Release

A new high-security centre that will give researchers access to master data files from Statistics Canada surveys will open this week at the University of Guelph.

The Branch Research Data Centre (BRDC) is located on the second floor of the McLaughlin Library in a specially built room that prevents data from being picked up electronically from outside. The centre’s computers will allow no Internet access.

To use the room and its data, researchers must apply, undergo security clearance and agree to a code of ethics, including swearing an oath. Approved researchers gain access to surveys through a server connection to Statistics Canada in Ottawa.

Researchers may make notes or print materials inside the centre but cannot remove anything from the room. Notes must be either shredded or stored in a filing cabinet approved by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Researchers may take in computer programs for data analysis, but those programs must be vetted by Statistics Canada before they can be removed from the centre.

“We’ll have yellow paper for note-taking, and no yellow paper can leave the room,” said Michelle Edwards, co-ordinator of the University’s Data Resource Centre (DRC).

Before users can remove completed data analyses from the centre, those analyses must be reviewed by a Statistics Canada analyst at the Southwestern Ontario Research Data Centre in Waterloo. That review will ensure that completed analyses contain no confidential information.

Until now, researchers needed to travel to the research data centre at the University of Waterloo. “We already have three projects waiting for us to open,” said Edwards, “and more are planning to move here from Waterloo. We’ll be busy from Day 1.”

During an official opening at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sylvain Charlebois, associate dean of research, College of Management and Economics, will speak about the importance of the BRDC to the University.

The opening is part of “Researcher Day” on campus sponsored by the library, the DRC and Computing and Communications Services (CCS). This event will bring together researchers from across campus, beginning at 9 a.m.

“Both the library and CCS want to look at how they support research,” Edwards said. “This day gives researchers an opportunity to talk about their struggles and accomplishments, and we’ll be able to take some direction from their discussions.”

Wayne Johnston, the library's head of research enterprise and scholarly communications, and Kent Percival of CCS will discuss research data management services. Several campus researchers will discuss their projects and challenges.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, dhealey@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1