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Canada

Open Science (CA0068)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Canada Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the Chief Science Advisor; Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs)

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Data, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: Canada Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

5. Open science
Issue to be addressed
Public access to science conducted or collected by the federal government has great potential
value, but government-funded science is sometimes hard to access. This is because it is not
open, easy to find, or communicated in a way that resonates with Canadians. Many Canadians
also do not know how to find information about federal scientists who are working on issues of
interest to them.
Commitment
The Government of Canada will make federal science, scientific data, and scientists more
accessible. We will:
• develop a Canada Open Science Roadmap to provide a plan for greater openness in
federal science and research activities
• provide a platform for Canadians to find and access open access publications from
federal scientists
• raise public awareness of federal scientists’ work and of open science
• promote open science and solicit feedback on stakeholder needs
• measure progress in implementing open science and the benefits it can provide
Lead department(s)
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC); National Research Council Canada (NRC);
Office of the Chief Science Advisor; Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other
science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs)
Milestones
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
5.1 Develop an Open Science
Roadmap for the Government
of Canada
(Office of the Chief Science
Advisor, with support from
SBDAs)
A Canada open science roadmap is
developed to provide a plan for greater
openness in federal science and research
activities. It is shared with the
science-based departments and agencies
(SBDAs)
July 2019
Science-based departments and agencies
(SBDAs) have released their action plans
March 2020
29
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
in keeping with the Canada open science
roadmap
5.2 Pilot an open science portal
to provide access to open
access publications from
federal scientists
(NRC, Office of the Chief
Science Advisor; and TBS, with
support from SBDAs)
A roadmap for the future of the Canadian
Federal Science Repository prototype is
published, including post-pilot next steps
August 2019
A pilot portal for open access federal
science publications is launched
March 2020
Report on options for integrating
federally funded open science into the
pilot portal
June 2020
5.3 Launch a platform allowing
Canadians to more easily:
• find National Research
Council science
professionals
• find and access
publications and pre-prints
they have published
• understand what they are
working on
• connect with them via
social media networks
(NRC)
An online, searchable directory of NRC
scientists that other departments can join
is in operation by fiscal year 2019 to 2020
March 2020
The platform leverages existing digital
identification systems, such as ORCID iD
March 2020
Options are explored to link the NRC
directory to the existing Government of
Canada directory, which is led by
Innovation, Science and Economic
Development Canada
May 2020
5.4 Promote open science and
actively solicit feedback from
stakeholders and federal
scientists on their needs with
respect to open data and open
science
(ECCC)
10 open science engagement sessions
held with federal scientists and invited
stakeholders across Canada
5 by June 2019
10 by June 2020
A report on identified user needs is
published and used to inform ongoing
and future open science efforts
June 2020
5.5 Measure the Government
of Canada’s progress in
implementing open science,
Indicators for measuring the benefits of
open science for Canadians are
developed and published
June 2019
30
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
and the benefits open science
can provide to Canadians
(ECCC, with support from
SBDAs)
Indicators report on the benefits of open
science for Canadians is published
June 2020
Yearly reporting on progress against
existing metrics measuring
implementation of open science by
SBDAs.
Reports released
in June 2019 and
June 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Open Science

The Government of Canada will make federal science, scientific data, and scientists more accessible. We will:

  • develop a Canada Open Science Roadmap to provide a plan for greater openness in federal science and research activities
  • provide a platform for Canadians to find and access open access publications from federal scientists
  • raise public awareness of federal scientists’ work and of open science
  • promote open science and solicit feedback on stakeholder needs
  • measure progress in implementing open science and the benefits it can provide

Milestones

5.1 Develop an Open Science Roadmap for the Government of Canada (Office of the Chief Science Advisor, with support from other science-based departments and agencies)

5.2 Pilot an open science portal to provide access to open access publications from federal scientists (National Research Council Canada, Office of the Chief Science Advisor, and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, with support from other science-based departments and agencies)

5.3 Launch a platform allowing Canadians to more easily:

  • find National Research Council science professionals
  • find and access publications and pre-prints they have published
  • understand what they are working on
  • connect with them via social media networks

(National Research Council Canada)

5.4 Promote open science and actively solicit feedback from stakeholders and federal scientists on their needs with respect to open data and open science (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

5.5 Measure the Government of Canada’s progress in implementing open science, and the benefits open science can provide to Canadians (Environment and Climate Change Canada, with support from other science-based departments and agencies)

For more details about the commitment text, milestones, self-identified success criteria, and estimated completion dates see, https://open.canada.ca/en/content/canadas-2018-2020-national-action-plan-open-government#toc3-4

Start Date: August 2019

End Date: Varies according to milestone

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

Commitments on open science have been present in Canada’s last three action plans. The current commitment carries forward the open science initiatives of Commitment 14 [31] from Canada’s third action plan that marked a shift away from applying restrictive communication policies on federal government scientists. [32] As written, the commitment is built around a proposed course – making “federal science, scientific data, and scientists more accessible” – but offers no indication of the state of affairs prior to the commitment’s launch or the targeted change that is meant to emerge from its implementation. According to representatives from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Commitment 5 emerges from:

(i) an observation that shifts in the conducting of national science were not well reflected across government, and that many of Canada’s peers were ahead of it on this front; and

(ii) a political drive to make science available to, and better communicated with, the Canadian public.

It must also be noted that the science the commitment speaks of making more accessible is that which is conducted within federal departments; it does not include science and research that is federally funded through Canada’s three major research granting councils. [33]

The commitment aligns with the OGP values of Access to Information, and Technology and Innovation. The extent to which the five milestones align with OGP values, however, is mixed. Milestones 5.2 and 5.3 are relevant to the OGP values of Access to Information, and Technology and Innovation with both involving the creation of online platforms to facilitate the public release of information about federal scientists was well as their scientific publications. The extent to which the engagement mentioned in Milestone 5.4 pertains to augmenting civic participation is unclear. The wording used in both the milestone and its associated success criterion is ambiguous.

Milestone 5.1 was a late addition to the action plan. It was not included in the draft commitment on open science released for public comment in July-August 2018, nor was the MSF consulted about its addition to the commitment. [34] The open science roadmap initiative was launched earlier in 2018 by the Office of the Chief Science Advisor. Working with senior leaders from federal science-based departments and agencies and with three funding councils, the aim is to create a guidelines for ensuring that government science is accessible to the public, reversing the effects of earlier government policies restricting the ability of government scientists to speak publicly about their research and science, [35] and to assist Canadian researchers in keeping step with the global open science movement. [36] The development of a reference tool to facilitate the role out of open science within the Government Canada is an important undertaking. However, given that it is a tool principally designed for internal government use, the extent to which the exercise set out in milestone 5.1 aligns to OGP values is less clear. The same conclusion applies to milestone 5.5. Although measuring the progress of the Government of Canada in implementing open science is both a worthwhile and necessary undertaking in terms of assessing the impact of the GoC’s open science initiatives on the public good, it is unclear how measuring progress, as a stand-alone milestone, aligns with any of the four OGP values.

The milestones are all sufficiently specific so as to be easily verifiable insofar as either the proposed activities take place, or they do not.

The transformative step of opening science in Canada took place under the auspices of Commitment 14 in the third action plan. The current government’s work in opening science marks a notable continuation of efforts aimed at changing the culture in which federal scientists operate. These efforts are making positive incremental step in this policy area. As such, Commitment 5 is deemed as having a minor potential impact on open government in Canada.

Next steps

The implementation of Commitment 5 will contribute to the GoC’s ongoing efforts at making information about federal science activities and outputs, was well as federal scientists, more accessible to Canadians. What is unclear, and will likely remain so for some time, is the types of dividends arising from its implementation. Science is being made more accessible to Canadians but the matters of which Canadians, and the extent to which Canadians will avail themselves of emergent open science resources, is less clear. Equally ambiguous is how, and the degree to which, the existing commitment actually enables citizens to engage with government in terms of influencing decision-making in this domain.

In moving forward, three important facets of open science related decision-making requiring on-going consideration will include:

(i) Determining who are the intended audiences for these resources because the demands and resource needs of intended beneficiaries vary significantly – e.g., the types of information and resources most useful to experts differ from those needed for non-experts. Resource demands and needs across scientific disciplines are likewise highly variable;

(ii) Determining what is the optimal allocation of resources for ensuring open science is contributing to the public good in a context wherein the most effective mechanisms for moving forward with transparency, accountability, and citizen participation vary within and across the natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, and health sciences;

(iii) Identifying the most effective mechanisms and channels for ensuring open science is having a demonstrable impact on the public good.

(iv) Developing appropriate communication and messaging strategies for science-based departments as government science becomes more open. To date the GoC’s approach to open science has been anchored in informing Canadians about what federal scientists know. However, and as noted by Scott Findlay, Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa and Researcher in Residence at the federal Office of the Chief Science Advisor, if a principal objective of open science is to contribute to creating an informed citizenry, it is equally important for Canadians to understand what federal scientists do not know. This has direct implications for communicating knowledge gaps and enhancing science literacy.

The IRM researcher recommends carrying forward the open science commitment, albeit with a more challenge/issue/problem specific focus. This might, for example, involve a commitment focusing specifically on one or more of the challenges of climate change or microplastic pollution that brings to bare the tools and processes of open science and open data to assist both in tackling pre-identified knowledge gaps and in supporting policy-making relating to these multidimensional issues.

[31] Government of Canada. Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership (2016-18). http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Canada_AP3.pdf
[32] See, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (2013). The Big Chill: Silencing Public Interest Science. A survey, http://www.pipsc.ca/portal/page/portal/website/issues/science/bigchill; Magnuson-Ford, Karen, & Gibbs, Katie. (2014). Can scientists speak? https://evidencefordemocracy.ca/sites/default/files/reports/Can%20Scientists%20Speak_.pdf
[33] Collectively known was the Tri-Councils, the three entities are: 1. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) < http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/about-au_sujet/index-eng.aspx>; 2. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) <http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/index_eng.asp>; and 3. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIRHR) <http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/193.html>. In 2015, the three councils implemented the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requiring that publications arising from research they have funded be made freely available within 12 months.
[35] Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (2018). Defrosting Public Science https://www.pipsc.ca/sites/default/files/comms/Defrosting-report-e_v4%202_1.pdf.
[36] Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada (2018). Annual Report of the Chief Science Advisor. Ottawa. https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_97756.html

Commitments

  1. User-Friendly Open Government

    CA0064, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Financial Transparency and Accountability

    CA0065, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Corporate Transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  4. Digital Government and Services

    CA0067, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  5. Open Science

    CA0068, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Healthy Democracy

    CA0069, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  7. Access to Information

    CA0070, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue

    CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Reconciliation and Open Government

    CA0072, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Open Government Community

    CA0073, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Enhance Access to Information

    CA0042, 2016, Access to Information

  12. Streamline Requests for Personal Information

    CA0043, 2016, E-Government

  13. Expand and Improve Open Data

    CA0044, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Provide and Preserve Open Information

    CA0045, 2016, E-Government

  15. Define an Approach for Measuring Open Government Performance

    CA0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Develop Open Government Skills Across the Federal Public Service

    CA0047, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Embed Transparency Requirements in the Federal Service Strategy

    CA0048, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections

    CA0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Enhance Openness of Information on Government Spending and Procurement

    CA0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Increase Transparency of Budget and Other Department of Finance Information

    CA0051, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Starred commitment Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding

    CA0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Improve Public Information on Canadian Corporations

    CA0053, 2016, E-Government

  23. Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data

    CA0054, 2016, Access to Information

  24. Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)

    CA0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0056, 2016, Access to Information

  26. Align Open Data Across Canada (Open Data Canada)

    CA0057, 2016, Access to Information

  27. Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act

    CA0058, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  28. Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives Around the World

    CA0059, 2016, Access to Information

  29. Engage Civil Society on Open Government

    CA0060, 2016, Public Participation

  30. Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making

    CA0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Promote Open Government Globally

    CA0062, 2016, Access to Information

  32. Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services

    CA0063, 2016, Access to Information

  33. Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0030, 2014, Access to Information

  34. Starred commitment Open Data Canada

    CA0031, 2014, Access to Information

  35. Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0032, 2014, Access to Information

  36. Open Data for Development

    CA0033, 2014, Access to Information

  37. Open Data Core Commitment

    CA0034, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Starred commitment Open Science

    CA0035, 2014, Public Participation

  39. Starred commitment Mandatory Reporting on Extractives

    CA0036, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  40. Open Contracting

    CA0037, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  41. Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures

    CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Openness

  42. Digital Literacy

    CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building

  43. Open Information Core Commitment

    CA0040, 2014, Access to Information

  44. Consulting Canadians

    CA0041, 2014, Marginalized Communities

  45. Starred commitment International Aid Transparency Initiative: Publish Plan to Make CIDA Activities Available and Accessible

    CA0010, 2012, Aid

  46. International Aid Transparency Initiative: Implement Plan

    CA0011, 2012, Aid

  47. Opening Government of Canada Records: Increase Access to Archived Federal Documents at Library and Archives Canada

    CA0012, 2012, Records Management

  48. Opening Government of Canada Records: Issue New Mandatory Policy on Document Classification

    CA0013, 2012, Records Management

  49. Opening Government of Canada Records: Make Classified Information Available Online

    CA0014, 2012, E-Government

  50. GCDOCS: Deploy Wave One of Electronic Record and Document Management Solution

    CA0015, 2012, E-Government

  51. GCDOCS: Deploy Across Federal Government

    CA0016, 2012, E-Government

  52. GCWEB: Develop Consolidated Web Presence

    CA0017, 2012, E-Government

  53. GCWEB: Implement New Platform

    CA0018, 2012, E-Government

  54. Data.Gc.Ca: Expand Number of Datasets Available

    CA0019, 2012, Access to Information

  55. Data.Gc.Ca: Implement Data.Gc.Ca Portal

    CA0020, 2012, Access to Information

  56. Data.Gc.Ca: Improve Standardization of Data

    CA0021, 2012, Access to Information

  57. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish Resource Management and Performance Data

    CA0022, 2012, Access to Information

  58. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance Search and Data Tools

    CA0023, 2012, Access to Information

  59. Consulting Canadians: Develop New Platform for Consultation

    CA0024, 2012, E-Government

  60. Consulting Canadians: Develop Standard Approach to Use of Social Media

    CA0025, 2012, E-Government

  61. Consulting Canadians: Pilot a Crowdsourcing Initiative

    CA0026, 2012, E-Government

  62. Consulting Canadians: Enable Use of Common Online Tools

    CA0027, 2012, E-Government

  63. Open Regulation: Federal Regulators to Post Forward Regulatory Plans

    CA0028, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  64. Open Regulation: Simplify Engagement Activities

    CA0029, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  65. Open Government Directive: Issue Directive on Open Government

    CA0001, 2012, E-Government

  66. Open Government Directive: Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0002, 2012, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Issue Open Government Licence

    CA0003, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  68. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Adopt Open Government Licence

    CA0004, 2012,

  69. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of Online Request and Payment Service

    CA0005, 2012, Access to Information

  70. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution

    CA0006, 2012, Access to Information

  71. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make Completed ATI Request Summaries Searchable

    CA0007, 2012, Access to Information

  72. Virtual Library: Begin Design of Virtual Library

    CA0008, 2012, E-Government

  73. Virtual Library: Launch Virtual Library

    CA0009, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership