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Survey Results: Coastal and Ocean Data Management Best Practices Research

An online survey was circulated during the preliminary research stage of the project to ensure the best practices guide responds to the needs of the ENGO community. Survey participants included maritime-based ENGOs, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) employees working with data related to marine environmental quality. Participants had varying knowledge of data management best practices and were involved in a number of data management activities including reporting, field work, analysis, and equipment management. The survey results gathered insight on existing knowledge of data management practices and capacity, identified areas of least proficiency and needs going forward, and assessed the level of interest in training workshops that COINAtlantic can develop.

A total of 27 participated in the survey.

Survey results suggest that a best practices guide would be valuable in dealing with data management within ENGOs. The majority of participants stated they would be likely to use a data management best practice guide, and further there is existing interest in attending a webinar on the topic. All participants indicated their data management needs are expected to increase within the next decade, sparking a need for improved data collection, research, and organization. Participants suggested that more education and training materials could improve data management practices - particular interest was shown for data publishing, and data quality management. The majority of organizations share final product deliverables to a variety of external data sourcing channels, including academia; however raw data is more carefully guarded.

Results do not pinpoint a single area of least proficiency among participants. Instead, proficiency levels are dispersed. Participants attributed their areas of poor proficiency to lack of time and lack of knowledge. Survey results show approximately 50% of the participants’ organization either has a data management policy in place, or has one in the process of being developed. Participants’ organizations that do not have a data management policy in place pointed to not collecting enough data to benefit from a data management plan, not having the knowledge to begin development, and being unsure of the time commitment. Participants noted that those familiar with data management are often more interested in further education on the subject than those lacking in familiarity.

COINAtlantic is working with the Clean Foundation on this project and we thank the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their financial support. If you are interested in the best practices guide and training, please contact us at

Read more about the Coastal and Ocean Data Management Best Practices Guide here.


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