Federal Initiatives on Open Science

Although directed towards government scientists, we present the following federal initiatives on Open Science to show that data sharing is a task of enough importance to be addressed on a national scale.

Canada’s Commitment to Open Science

In an open letter, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat discusses the concern that federal scientists funded by the federal government cannot discuss their work openly, based on the outcome of the survey on scientific integrity by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).

To address this, they have undertaken the following key initiatives:

  • Created a new Directive on the Management of Communications (2016) aimed at “fostering greater openness, transparency and accountability, and clearly stating that subject-matter experts, including scientists, may speak publicly on their own areas of expertise and need not be explicitly designated to do so.”
  • In August 2016, letters went out to all Ministers and departments to reiterate the commitment to ensure government scientists are allowed to speak publicly about their work.
  • The Government has also recently announced significant additional investments to make basic science a priority, including $540 million for the National Research Council and significant investment for new and renewed federal research infrastructures.

Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government

In section 5 of Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government titled “Open Science”, the plan indicated the following concerns:

  • Scientific research is often not open, accessible by, or appropriately communicated with the general public.
  • Members of the public are not aware about how they can get in touch with scientists conducting research on issues that are relevant to them.

To address this, the government aims to:

  • make improvements to open.canada.ca
  • help Canadians learn more about the Government of Canada’s work on open government
  • improve the quality of open data available through open.canada.ca
  • expand the Open by Default pilot project
  • provide tools for government and citizens to work together
  • develop open data privacy guidelines

Other relevant documents: