University of Michigan library

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Adding Diversity to the Data Mix

Three people of color siting around a table in discussion at what appears to be a professional conference.

The University of Michigan Library has always harnessed data to solve big problems. Now, with a recent LYRASIS grant, they will partner with the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and collaborate with Data Driven Detroit (D3) to develop a toolkit for diversity scholars.

As a part of the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund, the Open Data Toolkit Based on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEI&A) Principles will provide guidance on best practices in collecting, managing, utilizing, sharing, and curating research data for the public good.

“Sharing one's data with others outside of the project is a relatively new expectation and one that many researchers may be unprepared to tackle,” says Rachel Woodbrook, Data Curation Librarian at Michigan Publishing and lead PI. “Additionally, there is a tragic legacy of extracting data from communities without care or concern for the consequences of having done so or the rights of people to have access to information about themselves that could benefit them.”

That’s why, in addition to addressing data management and sharing, the toolkit will incorporate DEI&A principles into the entire fabric of research from the beginning. This includes addressing responsible reuse of data, planning consent for future data sharing, structuring data so that it is shareable and understood more easily, and returning data to the communities in which it originates in usable forms.

Laura Sánchez-Parkinson, the Program Manager for Research at NCID, sees it as an opportunity to include marginalized voices in the conversation.

“The data collection process and data sharing practices can be particularly sensitive for projects that include populations who are vulnerable,” Sánchez-Parkinson said. “The Open Data Project allows us to further understand the data practices of diversity scholars and how open data can be leveraged to build on existing work and foster collaboration among scholars.”

The University of Michigan Library sees this grant as creating new areas for discussion in a practical, actionable way and demonstrates Michigan's continued leadership on areas such as diversity.

Project Partners

U-M Library at the University of Michigan

National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) at the University of Michigan

Data Driven Detroit (D3) was founded in 2008 to serve as a one-stop shop for data on Detroit and the region and to provide accessible high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.

LYRASIS was created by its members to help libraries, archives and museums tackle wide-reaching challenges with a collective strength.