Increase openness of federal science activities (Open Science) - Commitment 14


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Lead implementing department(s)
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
Reporting period

Mid-term (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017)

Other actors involved: Science-based departments and agencies

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Scientific research and data that have been produced by the Government of Canada are often difficult for citizens to access. The Government of Canada undertakes a wide range of scientific activities, making significant investments in scientific research and knowledge creation that are essential for informing policy choices or decision making, providing services to Canadians, and ultimately supporting sustainable economic growth. At the same time, the Government highlighted its commitment to ensuring that government science is fully available to the public, consistent with its broader pledge for openness and transparency.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will take appropriate steps to make the science performed in support of Government of Canada programs and decision-making open and transparent to Canadians.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Horizontal implementation of the federal open science initiative began in 2012. Under the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP, the Government of Canada is building on past work by taking bold steps to make government-funded science open and transparent to Canadians. Reflecting the importance of citizen engagement and collaboration, deliverables are focused on increasing the accessibility of government science, helping to ensure Canadians are informed of opportunities to engage in federal science and technology (S&T) activities, and exploring ways to enhance the impact of government data and information.
Underscoring the Government’s commitment to open science at the meeting of G7 Science and Technology Ministers in 2016, Canada supported a recommendation to establish an international working group on open science. This group is focused on sharing open science policies, exploring supportive incentive structures, and identifying good practices for promoting increased access to the results of publicly funded research, including scientific data and publications.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP values of transparency and public accountability.

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

Science-based Departments and Agencies

  1. Create a Chief Science Officer mandated to ensure that government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientific analyses are considered when the Government makes decisions.
  2. Increase the public availability of data and publications produced from federal (S&T) activities.
  3. Increase engagement with Canadians on federal S&T activities, including, as appropriate:
    • Enhanced communication of scientific participation opportunities in support of federal S&T activities; and
    • Targeted consultations on best practices for increasing the impact of federal S&T activities.
  4. Develop metrics to track collective federal progress on open science activities.

Granting Councils and Grants and Contributions

  1. Develop and implement an open access policy for scientific research funded through grants and contributions.
  2. Work toward the development of policies on digital data management for research funded through the Granting Councils.

Expected result

Canadians will have better access to publications and data related to federal science activities. They will also have more engagement opportunities and more avenues to contribute to federal science activities.

Description of results

  1. The selection process for the Chief Science Adviser candidate is completed. A decision is forthcoming.
  2. Most science-based departments and agencies have posted their lists of peer reviewed publications (2012-15) on They have also posted their inventory of datasets, including science data, on Many science-based departments and agencies have posted new or updated scientific datasets to

    Guidance documents on various topics, common to science-based departments and agencies have been developed.

    The Federal Science Library was launched in March 2017 as a one-stop, self-serve web portal that makes government research and resources visible to all Canadians by connecting them with the collections of seven departmental libraries. View the news release.

  3. A consultant report on public engagement was developed and shared with the science-based departments and agencies community. Some science-based departments and agencies are developing guidance and training to support scientific communications to the public. Many departments are using social media and plain language communication in order to enhance scientific communication with the public.
  4. A consultant report on metrics was developed and shared with the science-based departments and agencies community.
  5. A scoping paper was developed and shared within Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and the science-based departments and agencies community. Together, they are working on an inventory of grants and contributions that support scientific research to inform further discussion on scope.
  6. Following the release of the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management in June 2015, consultations on the development of a Tri-Agency Policy on Research Data Management began in the spring of 2017 and will continue throughout the summer with key stakeholders in research community and research ecosystem.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. Next steps regarding the role of Chief Science Adviser related to federal science accessibility to June 2018 include:
    • Talks between Treasury Board and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada are occurring to implement science integrity elements in the collective agreements for federal scientists. The Chief Science Adviser will likely be asked to help with monitoring the implementation of these agreements and any other measures to support science integrity.
    • The Chief Science Adviser will be expected to promote a positive dialogue between federal scientists and academia, both in Canada and abroad, and to raise awareness of scientific issues amongst the Canadian public. As such, the Chief Science Adviser’s early stakeholder engagement will need to include key decision-makers and senior scientific advisors within science-based departments and agencies, as well as key players within Canada’s major research universities and institutions.
  2. Science-based departments and agencies will continue to release datasets through

    Open Science considerations will be incorporated into the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Mandatory Procedures for Publishing Open Government Resources document.

  3. Science-based departments and agencies will continue to pilot public engagement approaches including social media, webinar, and events.
  4. A draft set of metrics will be proposed to science-based departments and agencies for their review.
  5. Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and science-based departments and agencies will continue to refine the scope and expectations leading to the development of an open access policy or guidelines by June 2018.
  6. Continue with consultations within Canada and internationally (e.g., Research Data Alliance Plenary in Montréal, September 2017). Host an online consultation on the draft policy text in the fall 2017). Develop, approve and post of final policy, targeted for the spring of 2018.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Substantial
  3. Limited
  4. Substantial
  5. Limited
  6. Substantial

Additional information

Environment and Climate Change Canada launched a new science communication tool, Science Access, to make S&T products (e.g. preprints of journal articles, conference presentations, etc.) openly available to external stakeholders.

Science based departments Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada are two of the four Government of Canada departments providing a backstage pass to their work through the Open by Default pilot project.

Following the launch of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications in 2015, the Granting Councils are exploring and developing compliance monitoring mechanisms, updating the frequently asked questions document, and continuing community engagement and awareness.

Canada participated in the G7 Open Science Working Group meetings in November 2016 and March 2017. The Working Group has submitted its consensus expert report to the G7. The expert report is part of the input to the September 2017 G7 Science Ministerial Meeting.

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