Compute Canada and Portage leveraged the Globus Platform to build a system for easier publication and discovery of Canadian research data.

FRDR Compute Canada

Compute Canada enables excellence in Canadian research and innovation by providing a state-of-the-art advanced research computing platform and software solutions to researchers across the nation. Portage, an initiative of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), is a national, library-based research data management (RDM) network that aims to coordinate and expand existing expertise, services, and infrastructure so that all academic researchers in Canada have access to RDM support.

To fulfill a need among Canadian researchers for an easy, reliable way to find and share data, Compute Canada partnered with Portage to spearhead the development of a research data management solution: The Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR). FRDR is designed to ensure Canadian research data is curated, preserved, and accessible. The project's goal is to provide researchers with the option of using a robust, national RDM platform, into which data can be ingested, curated, and preserved, and through which data can be discovered, cited, and shared.

One of the biggest challenges in this effort was the scale: building a national-scale federated data repository is no small task and required a proven and sustainable platform upon which to develop the solution. In addition, given that Compute Canada and Portage’s mission is to support all Canadian researchers across all fields, the platform needed to support a large volume and variety of datasets.

Compute Canada and Portage chose Globus as the platform upon which to build the Federated Research Data Repository. FRDR provides a single platform through which research data can be ingested, curated, prepared for preservation, discovered, cited, and shared by any researcher in Canada.  FRDR is secured using the Globus Auth platform, and the solution scales to large datasets seamlessly by leveraging Globus transfer and sharing services with a design pattern that decouples the data access mechanism from the publication portal. FRDR can also be used to automatically convert data into preservation-friendly formats, bundle these data with associated metadata, and create 'Archival Information Packages' (AIPs) suitable for long-term preservation.

Use of Globus also enabled Compute Canada and Portage to include a federated search service within the FRDR platform that helps researchers across Canada, and around the world, to discover and access data collections hosted in FRDR and other existing data repositories. FRDR uses a metadata harvester to enable the discovery of Canadian research data stored across many repositories from a single portal. FRDR also provides support for faceted search and other advanced search options.

As of September 2017, FRDR has launched in limited capacity and will be working with a select number of research groups to make their data discoverable, and, if desired, publicly accessible. When FRDR launches in full production in 2018, Canadian researchers will be able to store and manage their data in compliance with emerging institutional and funding agency requirements. Individual Canadian institutions or organizations will even be able to store data and collections locally by simply connecting their storage into FRDR, an easy process with Globus.


  • “The Federated Research Data Repository addresses a longstanding gap in Canada’s research infrastructure -- now Canadian researchers have a single repository where data can easily and securely be accessed, searched and shared.”
  • “This solution makes it easier for our researchers to collaborate and share data, which means faster time to results and to innovation.”
  • “Many Canadian researchers already use Globus for data transfer and sharing, so it was a natural fit to develop the FRDR with Globus as the platform.”
  • “Since it’s built on the Globus platform, the system will scale to accommodate Canada’s rapidly growing base of advanced computational researchers and the vast amounts of data they store.”
  • “Globus is a service that Canadian users find extremely valuable -- we see it as a tool that can accelerate their research.”
  • Security, usability and scale can be hard problems to solve together. The Globus platform was able to do that for us.”