The University of Toronto’s mission relies upon the adept and efficient use of institutional data. In recognition of data as an institutional asset, the University seeks to appropriately manage, protect and use data. The Institutional Data Governance Program enables the University to strategically harness data to achieve institutional goals while maintaining the trust of those who provide, interact with, and use data.

What is Data Governance?

Data Governance, in the University of Toronto context, is the process that both establishes and provides consistent and clear guidance around creating, accessing, using, and defining the University’s institutional data, while managing the associated risks, responsibilities, and legal obligations.

What are institutional data?

Institutional data comprise all of the data that are held by the University for the purpose of supporting its administrative operation, broadly understood. For the purposes of the Institutional Data Governance Program, research data are data that are held at the University for conducting scholarly research, and are outside the scope of the Institutional Data Governance Program.

What is the Program’s goal?

The goal of the Data Governance Program at the University of Toronto is to promote and support the responsible use of high-quality institutional data, to facilitate informed and insightful use of these data, and to increase their value to the University community and beyond.

What are the Program’s desired outcomes?

The primary, long-term objective of the Institutional Data Governance Program is to create a culture in which everyone who collects, manages, or uses institutional data follows good Data Governance principles and practices. Adopting these principles and practices will improve data quality and promote responsible use.

High Quality Institutional Data

The Institutional Data Governance Program will improve the quality of the University’s institutional data by systematically addressing accuracy, interpretation, completeness, and reliability. For example, inconsistency or ambiguity in data definitions can make analysis unreliable and impedes collaboration. A good Institutional Data Governance Program will include attention to metadata, promoting broad agreement and clarity on how key variables in institutional datasets are defined and used.

Responsible Institutional Data Use

Good data governance also promotes responsible data use. Institutional data should be managed securely throughout their lifecycle (collection, storage, access, transfer, retention, and destruction) and in compliance with relevant laws. Access to institutional data must be governed by appropriate procedures, with clear guidance as to the conditions for accessing data and the nature of their use. Access also needs to be timely. Responsible data use includes endorsing recognized standards for data literacy, data analytics and reproducibility.

Foundational Reports

Towards an Institutional Data Governance Program Report is a foundational document that outlines the goal, definitions, scope and guiding principles for the institutional Data Governance Program at the University of Toronto.

Implementation of an Institutional DG Program builds upon the first report by describing the partnerships, decision making structures, the role of the Institutional Research and Data Governance office and other support required to implement the Institutional Data Governance Program.