Archive for: June, 2013

Resources on Open Access in Canada

For various reasons, I've been collecting some resources around open access, open data and scientific and technological innovation in Canada. Since they might be more broadly useful that to just me, I thought I'd share them.

Of course, this list is incomplete. I've most likely left out whole swaths of stuff out there, both in terms of organizations and relevant posts and articles as well as institutional OA mandates and author funds I may have missed. Please feel free to suggest items in the comments.

One thing in particular I would like to add in a future iteration is a list of library/university-based OA journal publication programs. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

The HLWiki Open Access set of pages is here. There were very useful in compiling my lists below. The Open Access Directory is also a good general source.

The UNESCO Global Open Access Portal page on Canada is here.

Government of Canada (General)


Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council


Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council


Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Tri-Agency Draft Open Access Policy & Consultations: NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR


Canadian Association for Research Libraries


Canadian Research Knowledge Network


Canadian Library Association


Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences


Canadian Association of Learned Journals


Institutional Open Access Policies & Mandates (likely incomplete)


Institutional Open Access Author Funds/Institutional Memberships (likely incomplete)


Institutional & Disciplinary Repositories (likely incomplete)


Open Data


Innovation/R&D Funding in Canada


Science-Related Documents - Other Political Parties (NDP, Liberals, Greens)


Science-Related Documents - 2011 Federal Election


Selected various statements, blog posts, journal articles, etc.


Relevant International Documents/Mandates/Policies/etc. (very incomplete)


Please consider this post CC0. To the extent possible under law, I am waiving all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this post, Resources on Open Access in Canada. This work is published from Canada.


Update 2013.07.01: Added about 20 new items, including some miscellaneous articles, some OA policies and others. A new section for Canadian Association of Learned Journals also added. Most new items are courtesy of the Open Access Tracking Project. Thanks for Peter Suber for suggesting in the comments. Happy Canada Day!
Update 2013.07.03. Added section with International links & resources. Thanks to LSW for so many wonderful suggestions. Also added a few miscellaneous items.

Update 2013.11.06. Added several new items, including report on Industrial R&D in Canada and the Paradox Lost report on research strengths & innovation weaknesses.

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Around the Web: The coming apocalypse: jobs, higher ed, libraries, MOOCs

Jun 25 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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Around the Web: Tradition & Angst, SHAREs, Virtues, Mozillas, Leaders and more

Jun 22 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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Around the Web: Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (6)

Jun 19 2013 Published by under around the web, ugrad links

I have a son who's just finished his first year as a physics undergrad. As you can imagine, I occasionally pass along a link or two to him pointing to stuff on the web I think he might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps other science students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog.

By necessity and circumstance, the items I've chosen will be influenced by my son's choice of major and my own interest in the usefulness of computational approaches to science and of social media for outreach and professional development.

The previous posts in this series are here, here, here, here and here.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

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The Canadian War on Science: National Research Council's new focus ignores how science works

I know I've already posted about the changes at the NRC, but this recent David Suzuki article frames the issue so perfectly that I thought I'd post about it again.

The article is called National Research Council's new focus ignores how science works. The core issue is that recently the Canadian Federal Government's National Research Council announced that it would change it's focus from performing basic, curiosity-driven research to more applied research, preferably sponsored by Canadian industry.

From Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear's speaking points:

Ladies and gentlemen, we invest in science and technology for two reasons: to create knowledge and to exploit that knowledge for social and economic gain. Unfortunately, all too often the knowledge gained is opportunity lost.


Today, the NRC embarks on an exciting, new journey—a redirection that will strengthen Canada's research and innovation ecosystem for many years to come. And this refocused NRC, with a business-led innovation mission, is pivotal to the future of Canadian jobs, economic growth and our long-term prosperity.


The NRC will now focus on the identified research needs of Canadian businesses. The refocused NRC will support Canadian business by becoming a research and technology organization, similar to Germany's very successful Fraunhofer Institute—Europe's largest application-oriented research organization—which undertakes applied research of direct benefit to private and public enterprise and to society.

Canadian businesses in need of support to bring their ideas to market can now access the specialized technical services, extensive scientific expertise and unique infrastructure through the NRC's centres that are located in every province across the country.


The NRC is open for business. We are here to support Canadian industries in need of research support. We encourage any business—small, medium or large—to contact the NRC. You have a partner in the NRC.

This CBC article explains the basics quite well: National Research Council move shifts feds' science role.

Goodyear also pointed out that Germany's Fraunhofer Institute served as a model for the NRC's new business-oriented focus. The institute is a series of 66 smaller institutes and research units owned by the German public, the federal state and state-level governments. It undertakes research of benefit to private and public businesses as well as society as a whole.

Council president John McDougall said the NRC will become a more attractive partner for business.

"We have shifted the primary focus of our work at NRC from the traditional emphasis of basic research and discovery science in favour of a more targeted approach to research and development," McDougall said.

"Impact is the essence of innovation. A new idea or discovery may in fact be interesting, but it doesn't qualify as innovation until it's been developed into something that has commercial or societal value."


NDP science critic Kennedy Stewart called the shift in direction for the NRC "short-sighted" and said it could actually hurt economic growth in the long run, because it scales back the kind of fundamental research that can lead to scientific breakthroughs.

Stewart also warned that some of Canada's best and brightest minds might be lost to other countries that invest more heavily in pure science.

“The government has been handing pink slips to scores of NRC scientists and researchers, lowering the organization’s research capacity and devastating internal morale,” he said. “It is hard to see how business will get scientific advice from the NRC if they fire all the scientists."

And now back to Suzuki's National Research Council's new focus ignores how science works.

I believe we should support science because curiosity and the ability to ask and answer questions are part of what makes our species unique and helps us find our way in the world. Still, basic research aimed at specific outcomes can lead to game-changing applications, from transistors and pesticides to nuclear bombs, penicillin and oral contraceptives. But how do new applications flow from science?


Many scientists support a mythical notion of what makes science innovative. To be "relevant", they write grant applications as if their work will lead to cures for cancer, new energy forms or salt-tolerant plants, depending on the priorities of funders and governments. This creates the illusion that science proceeds from experiment A to B to C to solution. But we really have no idea what results an experiment will produce. If we did, there would be no point to the experiment.

It's more likely that a scientist will do experiment A leading to F then O, while another in a different area will do experiment Z leading to W then L. Maybe the two will meet at a conference or even a pub and, in talking about their respective work, realize that results O and L could lead to a new invention!


Canada's contribution to science is minuscule compared to countries like the U.S., Britain, Germany and even China. But if our top scientists are as good as any, they become our eyes and ears to cutting-edge science around the world, are invited to speak at top universities and institutes and attend meetings where the latest ideas and discoveries are shared.

If we're serious about creating partnerships between science and business, we have to support the best scientists so they are competitive with any around the world. We also have to recognize that innovation and discoveries don't always come from market-driven research. We should recognize truly internationally groundbreaking work to inspire young people who will grow up knowing they can be as good as scientists anywhere. This takes commitment from governments, more generous grants and long-term support.

There's nothing wrong with applied research. The reality is that Canadian businesses are lagging behind in R&D spending. But the solution to that problem isn't for the government to use public resources to do it for them. The solution is for private businesses to invest in the R&D they need to do themselves. The government should focus on the kind of research that businesses can't and won't do -- basic, long-term, curiousity-driven research, the work that doesn't have the immediate pay-off that businesses need to stay healthy and competitive. Sometimes basic research results in commercially-viable innovations, but mostly it doesn't. And when it does, it tends to take a long time with countless research teams each playing a small role in coming up with the breakthrough that leads to the product.

Business and government should each play their most appropriate role in the science ecosystem. It isn't government's role to risk public money to try and pick commercial R&D winners.


Some previous posts of mine that focus on Canadian science policy:

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Reading Diary: Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani

Jun 12 2013 Published by under book review, science books

First Second Books is one of my favourite publishers of graphic novels, in particular because they seem to like to do a lot of science-themed books. Jim Ottaviani's book Feynman was one of my favourite graphic novels of the last few years. Perhaps not surprisingly, First Second published Feynman.

The latest from the science graphic novel dynamic duo is Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, this time with the art by Maris Wicks. And it is certainly up to the incredibly high standards set by Feynman, if not even a little bit better.

What's it about?

Primates is the story of the long term collaboration of three women scientists -- Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas -- with their scientific mentor, anthropologist Louis Leakey. But the focus is definitely on the three women rather than on Leakey. It is the story of how they stumbled into science, worked around the establishment, how they shaped and shifted their lives around their passion, about the incredible work they did in primatology with chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans respectively. One of the things I like the most about the book, just like with Feynman, is how the life story of the women is so closely linked to the work they did. But no serious dry scholarly tome, nope, none of that. The book is also very funny, filled with warmth and even a little whimsy.

It's not hard to imagine a young woman or man reading this book and thinking to themselves, "hey, I'd love to do that too, it sounds so incredibly cool" and starting their own journey into discovery.

This is a wonderful book I recommend without hesitation. Anyone interested in science or the history of science would enjoy it. As I allude to above, I think it would be particularly appropriate for a young person. As with Feynman and other science graphic novels I've reviewed in the past, it would fit perfectly in any middle school or high school library as well as any public library of any size. Academic libraries that collect graphic novels should acquire it, particularly any that cover biology or anthropology.

Oh, yeah, and before I forget, the librarian in me needs to mention that a very nice bibliography is included at the end.

As a side note, Ottaviani has still more science biography graphic novels that I'll be reading and reviewing over the next while. You can see them all on his Amazon page here.

Ottaviani, Jim and Maris Wicks. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. New York: First Second, 2013. 133pp. ISBN-13: 978-1596438651

(Primates review copy provided by the publisher.)

Other science graphic novels I have reviewed:

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Around the Web: CHORUS & Share, Traditional librarian angst and more

Jun 11 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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Friday Fun: 25 Signs You’re Addicted To Books

Jun 07 2013 Published by under friday fun


Anyways, here are a couple. Enjoy.

25 Signs You’re Addicted To Books

"The first step is admitting it. The second step is to keep right on reading."

  • When you’re reading a good book, you forget to eat or sleep.
  • Sometimes there is yelling.
  • You’ve been traumatized by things that “only” happened in books you read.
  • You think of colors in terms of Penguin classics.
  • Rainy days > sunny days.
  • Walking by a closed bookstore is torture. (my favourite...)
  • You would never shame someone for reading. (my second favourite...)

Go read the whole list -- each item comes with a nice visual to represent that particular symptom of addiction.

Feel free to add your own symptom in the comments.

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Around the Web: Catastrophism fails angsty librarians, Open Accessapolooza and more

Jun 05 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web

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