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Research Data Management

Guiding Principles

OCAP Principles

The following is quoted from First Nations Information Governance Centre (2014) "Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP™): The Path to First Nations Information Governance" pg. 4-5.


The notion of ownership refers to the relationship of a First Nations community to its cultural knowledge/ data/ information. The principle states that a community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns their personal information. Ownership is distinct from stewardship. The stewardship or custodianship of data or information by an institution that is accountable to the group is a mechanism through which ownership may be maintained.


The aspirations and inherent rights of First Nations to maintain and regain control of all aspects of their lives and institutions extend to information and data. The principle of ‘control’ asserts that First Nations people, their communities and representative bodies must control how information about them is collected, used and disclosed. The element of control extends to all aspects of information management, from collection of data to the use, disclosure and ultimate destruction of data.


First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities, regardless of where it is held. The principle also refers to the right of First Nations communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding who can access their collective information.


While ‘ownership’ identifies the relationship between a people and their data, possession reflects the state of stewardship of data. First Nation possession puts data within First Nation jurisdiction and therefore, within First Nation control. Possession is the mechanism to assert and protect ownership and control. First Nations generally exercise little or no control over data that is in the possession of others, particularly other governments.

CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

The following is quoted from the Research Data Alliance International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group, (September 2019), “CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance,” The Global Indigenous Data Alliance,

Collective Benefit 

Data ecosystems shall be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous Peoples to derive benefit from the data for inclusive development and innovation, improved governance and citizen engagement, and equitable outcomes.

Authority to Control

Indigenous Peoples’ rights and interests in Indigenous data must be recognised and their authority to control such data be empowered. Indigenous data governance enables Indigenous Peoples and governing bodies to determine how Indigenous Peoples, as well as Indigenous lands, territories, resources, knowledges and geographical indicators, are represented and identified within data.


Those working with Indigenous data have a responsibility to share how those data are used to support Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination and collective benefit. Accountability requires meaningful and openly available evidence of these efforts and the benefits accruing to Indigenous Peoples.


Indigenous Peoples’ rights and wellbeing should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle and across the data ecosystem.

Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Resources for Indigenous Data Sovereignty

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