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The Digital Research Alliance of Canada provides a scalable, federated platform for digital research data management (RDM) and discovery. Anyone can use FRDR to search for and download data across Canadian repositories and faculty members, or their designates, from Canadian post-secondary institutions may use FRDR to publish their data.

A demo version of the FRDR site is available for training and testing purposes. The FRDR demo can be used to learn about the platform's search and data deposit features. As much as possible, the demo will be kept up-to-date with the latest version of the FRDR platform. Please note that all data deposited into the demo will be considered "test" data and will only be available temporarily.


FRDR will address a longstanding gap in Canada's research infrastructure by providing a single platform from which research data can be ingested, curated, preserved, discovered, cited and shared.

The platform's federated search tool will provide a focal point to discover and access Canadian research data, while the range of services provided by FRDR will help researchers store and manage their data, preserve their research for future use, and comply with institutional and funding agency data management requirements.


FRDR Features

Repository Services

  • Repository platform

    • Fast and efficient data upload and download for large datasets through Globus File Transfer, as well as web browser transfers for smaller datasets
    • A fully-bilingual user interface and robust documentation available in English and French
    • DOI registration for datasets provides a persistent identifier that can be used for data citation
    • Support for multiple authentication providers, including Compute Canada, ORCID, and a growing list of Canadian postsecondary institutions
    • Optional embargoes on data and metadata records
    • Allows multiple people to collaborate on a submission
    • Support for Special Collections by research groups with organizational branding and links to external web content
    • A responsive support service with business hours coverage across Canada (
    • Planned feature extension, scheduled releases, and updates
  • Managed Storage Services

    • Managed repository storage spread across multiple Compute Canada Federation hosting sites
    • Secure repository storage for a minimum of 10 years after deposit
    • Regular backups and geographically distributed storage for research data
    • On-site system administration and ongoing hardware maintenance
    • Faculty members and their designates at Canadian post-secondary institutions will have access to a large, default allocation of repository storage. Additional storage may be provided upon request.
  • Curation Services (provided in coordination with researchers, data management support staff, and local institutional research data management contacts)

    • Create and review documentation and metadata to explain and contextualize data
    • Perform quality assurance through metadata inspection, file audit, and code review
    • Link research data documentation to author PIDs (e.g., ORCIDs) and, where relevant, grant information
    • Link research data documentation to other research products, e.g., data management plans, data papers, journal articles

Discovery Services

  • Metadata harvesting and indexing of Canadian research data repositories, including datasets hosted in FRDR’s repository platform
  • Discovery interface with text-based search functionality supported by Globus search
  • Openly available OAI-PMH feed of harvested metadata
  • Geodisy: Geospatial search interface using GeoBlacklight

Preservation Services

  • Preservation processing of research data via parallelized Archivematica instances:
    • Checksum generation
    • File identification, characterization, and validation
    • Format conversion of files via policy registry to future-friendly formats
    • Archival Information Package (AIP) creation
  • Long-term preservation storage:
    • Transfer of AIPs to partnering Preservation Service Providers


Lee Wilson, Director of Research Data Management, oversees the FRDR service.

The Steering Committee comprises representatives from the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Alliance Federation, the FRDR development team, FRDR host sites, and a representative from the RDM Network of Experts. Current membership includes:


  • Lee Wilson, Director of Research Data Management, Digital Research Alliance of Canada


  • Susan Haigh, Executive Director, CARL
  • Greg Lukeman, CEO, ACENET
  • Suzanne Talon, CEO, Calcul Québec
  • John Simpson, Chair, Science Leadership Council / Humanities & Social Sciences Specialist
  • Jason Hlady, Associate Director, Research and Library Technology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dugan O'Neil, VPR/international pro tem, Simon Fraser University
  • John Morton, Director of Technology, SHARCNET
  • Jay Brodeur, Associate Director, Digital Scholarship Services, McMaster University

Special thanks to Jeff Moon, Portage Network, and Umar Qasim, University of Alberta, former members of the Steering Committee.

Development and Operations Team

  • Lee Wilson, Director of Research Data Management, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Erin Clary, Curation Coordinator, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Tamanna Moharana, Curation Officer, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Laura Gerlitz, Curation Officer, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Lina Harper, Curation Officer, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Yvette Rancourt, Preservation Coordinator, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Caitilín O’Hare, Communications Officer, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Victoria Smith, Policy, Privacy, and Sensitive Data Coordinator, Digital Research Alliance of Canada
  • Mark Goodwin, Geospatial Metadata Coordinator, University of British Columbia
  • Neha Milan, Operations Lead, University of Saskatchewan
  • Todd Trann, Technical Lead, University of Saskatchewan
  • Mike Winter, Senior Developer, University of Saskatchewan
  • Adam McKenzie, Research Data Management Analyst, University of Saskatchewan
  • Joel Farthing, Developer, University of Saskatchewan
  • Paul Dante, Developer, University of British Columbia
  • Jin Zhang, Developer, Simon Fraser University

Thank you to all of our past team members: Keith Jeffrey, Melanie Parlette-Stewart, Alex Garnett, Beth Knazook, Subhanya Sivajothy, Kelly Stathis, Lucia Costanzo and Nichole DeMichelis.

Project Timeline

  • January 2016: The software development project was started, following an earlier pilot project that identified scalability and preservation as key elements of the service that was needed.
  • September 2016: Alpha testing of the user interfaces was started thanks to the contribution of discovery interface code developed by the University of British Columbia.
  • April 2017: Beta testing was started and the project was put in limited production mode with a small number of research groups.
  • August 2019: CANARIE announced $2M of funding to CARL Portage, of which a portion is going towards moving FRDR into full production.
  • September 2020: Funding in support of the development of FRDR is administered through the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO).
  • February 2021: FRDR’s repository services launched in full production!

Geodisy Project

FRDR’s map search is an open source discovery tool powered by Geodisy that allows users to find data using an interactive map. The map search only includes datasets from repositories indexed by FRDR that contain geospatial information. Data is discoverable based on its location, which is determined from bounding box metadata, place name metadata, or geospatial files. When available, individual geospatial files are previewed on record pages as visual overlays. Geospatial files can be downloaded directly and ISO 19139 metadata is made available for all records.