2012 was a year of Open Access advocacy for me. I published a ton of posts that year generally around the loose theme of making the scholarly communications ecosystem fairer and more open. In 2013 I did a little of that too, for sure.
But with a lot of the effects of the Conservative government’s 2012 omnibus Bill C-38 coming home to roost with numerous cuts and closures and yet more policy changes, the thing that really motivated me to blog in an otherwise very slow blogging year was Canadian science policy.
More precisely, advocating for a fairer, more just system of government funded research and evidence-based decision making.
Most significant was my post The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment. I updated it with new items twice and a third significant update is forthcoming. I also chronicled the impact that post had in the wider world, which is another post that’s in need of updating as the original post has continued to have a significant impact. I probably need to add another 30-40 items to the impact list. The post is also now well over the 50,000 page view mark. By far, the Chronology post is the most significant contribution of my professional career.
While not large in number, here are the 2013 blog posts on Canadian science policy advocacy.
- The Canadian war on public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information
- Reading Diary: Keystone XL: Down the Line by Steven Mufson
- Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value
- The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment
- The Canadian War on Science: National Research Council’s new focus ignores how science works
- Some #AltMetrics for a blog post on Canadian science policy
- Reading Diary: The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future
- The Canadian War on Science: Updates to the chronology of the Conservative government’s anti-science actions
- Reading Diary: The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada by Chris Turner
- iPolitics series on Canadian science policy
- Canadian Science Policy Advocate Interviews: Dak de Kerckhove, Ph.D. candidate, University of Toronto
For other science advocacy things I’ve been involved with that grew out of my Chronology post (media interviews, etc.), please see the Altmetrics post.
What is in store for 2014? For one, I plan to continue the series of interviews with Canadian science policy advocates, beginning with my fellow contributors to the iPolitics series and expanding from there. More posts are in the works, probably first will be something on Department of Fisheries & Oceans libraries. I’ll also be doing some retrospective work on the Chretien/Martin era to see how things have evolved since the early 1990s.
And since it’s isn’t all just me me me…
Here are some key documents, events, organizations and people from 2013, to give a flavour of what the year was like as a whole for Canadian science policy advocacy. I’m excluding most of the things I’ve been directly involved in from the list below as they are already mentioned above.
- Allan Gregg’s 2012 article 1984 in 2012 – The Assault on Reason sets the stage.
- Rick Mercer for telling the government to stop muzzling scientists. (And other rants too)
- Democracy Watch for telling the government to stop muzzling scientists. And documenting it too.
- The Information Commissioner for investigating the government muzzling scientists.
- Margrit Eichler and Scientists for the Right to Know for their event-based advocacy including this debate and this panel discussion.
- The unmuzzledscience: Musings of A Canadian government scientist from behind the muzzle blog
- The Canadian Science Writers’ Association’s Let Canada’s Scientists Speak campaign
- The Canadian Association of University Teachers Get Science Right! campaign and events.
- The SavePEARL campaign.
- Katie Gibbs and Evidence for Democracy‘s Science Uncensored campaign and Stand Up for Science and Death of Evidence rallies.
- Kennedy Stewart of the Federal NDP for parliamentary motions on public science, un-muzzling scientists and creating a science adviser.
- Diane Orihel and Save ELA for advocating for the Experimental Lakes Area in 2012 and 2013.
- David Schindler advocating for the ELA on CBC’s As it Happens.
- The Canadian Science Policy Conference for creating a place to talk.
- Stephen Bede Scharper for writing in the Toronto Star about government policies and the environment, like here and here.
- The amazing work of journalists such as Mike DeSouza and Margaret Munro, chasing down every leak, story and detail. Even Paul Wells.
- David Suzuki for the Science Matters column, among many other things.
- ROM Contemporary Culture and Carbon 14: Climate is Culture for The Trial of David Suzuki.
- Sarah Boon for organizing the iPolitics series on Canadian science policy with a group of amazing contributors.
- Huffington Post Canada with their extended Stifling Science series.
- Coverage at Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Rabble.ca and elsewhere.
- Elizabeth May goes to Warsaw climate summit conference as delegate for Afghanistan to draw attention to Canada’s climate record. (More info here and here)
- Even the Guardian (and here) and the New York Times notice what’s going on here. Nature and Science too. The Economist doesn’t think Canada is cool anymore either and neither does Foreign Policy who use the term “rogue petrostate.”
- Chris Turner‘s The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada book and accompanying extensive list of book tour events.
- The Agenda on TVO for their debate Silencing Scientists.
- The Terry Project on Silencing the Scientists
- The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada for surveying government scientists about being muzzled — and finding a lot of fear and silencing.
- The Tri-Agencies for their Draft Open Access Policy.
- Stephen Strauss for a nice year-end summary.
- The CBC’s Fifth Estate is kicking off 2014 with a story on silencing scientists.
Of course, I’m forgetting a bunch of significant items and events, forgetting a bunch of important people. Please let me know in the comments what I’ve missed. In particular, if I’ve missed significant events and publications outside Toronto where I’m based, I’d love to hear more.
Also, I call out a bunch of people in the list above. On the one hand, credit where credit is due to the leaders of the various movements and organizations. On the other, all the organizations I mention have numerous other members who contribute enormously to their activities. All their contributions are equally valued. At the end of the day, individual people can make a huge difference and that is worth recognizing. As above, if you think someone not mentioned deserves recognition for their efforts, please let me know in the comments or at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or dupuisj at gmail dot com.
Final words? 2013 was a great year for Canadian science policy advocacy and we should all be proud of the work that has been done. But the next election is in October 2015 so 2014 and 2015 need to be even better years.