The Canadian War on Science 2013: A year in advocacy

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.

Somewhat related are my Open Access in Canada resource post and the Death of Evidence mock funeral I helped organize here at York University.

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.

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.


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Excellent. All the things I wanted to know in one place.

By Michael V Marsh (not verified) on 05 Jan 2014 #permalink

Are you in a position to contact the scientific community in order to request that Library and Archives Canada step in and stop the destruction of the Fisheries and Oceans materials? Many of us regular folk support some action but are not in a position to initiate it.

By Susan McLoughlin (not verified) on 09 Jan 2014 #permalink