You are currently browsing the archive for the academia category.

Researchers use OpenData to inform their work, and are also producers of data and software that can be re-shared with the public.  In Canada, much university research is supported by public funds and an argument can be made that the results of that research should be accessible to the public.  The research at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre will be featured as will community based social policy research in Ottawa.  In Canada some data are accessible, but mostly data are not, and if they are, cost recovery policies and regressive licensing impede their use.  The talk will feature examples where data are open and where opportunities for evidence based decision making are restricted.

1. Event: Open Access Week 2010, Carleton University, October 21, Noon to 1PM.

2. Event: Open Access Week, Université d’Ottawa, Apps4Ottawa Showcase, October 21, 5-7PM.

  • Title: OpenData & Public Research
  • Abstract: Researchers use OpenData to inform their work, and are also producers of data and software that can be re-shared to the public.  In Canada, much of university research is supported by public funds and an argument can be made that the results of that research should be accessible to the public.  The research at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre will be featured as will community based social policy research in Ottawa.  In Canada some data are accessible, but mostly data are not, and if they are, cost recovery policies and regressive licensing impede their use.  The talk will feature examples where data are open and where opportunities for evidence based decision making are restricted.

3. Event: Statistical Society of Ottawa 8th annual seminar – Our Statistics Community on Monday the 25th of October.

  • Title: The Real Census informs Neighbourhood Research in Canada
  • Abstract: Ms. Tracey P. Lauriault will discuss neighbourhood scale research using Census data.  She will introduce the The Cybercartographic Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness created at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research and will feature community based research used to inform public policy as part of the Canadian Social Data Strategy (CSDS).  She will feature maps and data about social issues in Canadian cities & metropolitan areas (e.g. Calgary, Toronto, Halton, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Montreal, & others) and will focus on the importance of local analysis and what the loss of the Long-Form Census could mean to evidence based decision making to communities in Canada’s.

Tracey P. Lauriaut and Hugh McGuire have an access to data in Canada chapter in the following newly published book:

Access to public sector information : law, technology and policy: Volume 1 , Editor: Brian Fitzgerald, Sydney University Press

On the back of the growing capacity of networked digital information technologies to process and visualise large amounts of information in a timely, efficient and user-driven manner we have seen an increasing demand for better access to and re-use of public sector information (PSI). The story is not a new one. Share knowledge and together we can do great things; limit access and we reduce the potential for opportunity.

The two volumes of this book seek to explain and analyse this global shift in the way we manage public sector information. In doing so they collect and present papers, reports and submissions on the topic by the leading authors and institutions from across the world. These in turn provide people tasked with mapping out and implementing information policy with reference material and practical guidance.

An online free version should be accessible  shortly.

Access to public data is one of the most popular VOTE topics in the submissions on the Digital Economy Consultation site. Here are the VOTING submissions that ask for open data, open access and open government.

1. Open Access to Canada’s Public Sector Information and Data is looking for some votes.

2. Improved access to publicly-funded data associated with research data Require open access to results of research funded by the Canadian taxpayer

3. Open Access to Canadian research

4. National Archives Content Online

5. Créer une licence « Creative Commons » du Canada

6. Protect and enhance digital freedoms for education

There has also been some writing about the consultation:

Michael Geist: Opening Up Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy

David Eaves: Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy: Two quick actions you can take

Take a few minutes to login and vote! If you can, provide a comment about how access to data has improved or will improve your work.

The City of Vancouver will soon vote on a Motion to have:

  • Open Standards
  • Open Source
  • Open Data
  • CBC News: Vancouver mulls making itself an ‘open city’, by Emily Chung

    Via: Digital Copyright Canada

    /The World of 100

    Tony Ng

    Tony Ng

    via: FlowingData

    Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) is

    Canada’s national science library and leading scientific publisher, provides Canada’s research and innovation community with tools and services for accelerated discovery, innovation and commercialization.

    CISTI delvers science data and information to Canadians online, in the Depository Service and as paper delivery service to researchers in Universities.  But its days of doing that are numbered…

    CISTI has just suffered very serious budget cuts – 70% cut – that affects scientific innovation, access to scientific data, the dissemination of Canadian Science and open access publishing.

    The Government of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada have decided that the journals and services of NRC Research Press will be transferred to the private sector.

    Privatization? In a sense they are a victim of their own success.  The NRC frames it as follows in a letter to their clients (e.g. Depository Service Program):

    this transformation is not the development of a “new business” but the movement of a successful program into a new legal and business environment. It is our belief that this new environment will afford us more flexibility to manage our publishing activities.

    More flexibility to reduce services to Canadians more like it since the Depository Services Program (DSP) and the delivery of online access to journals to Canadians cannot be funded by an entity outside of the Federal government, and it is expected that the termination date to journals delivered in this way will be sometime in 2010.

    This means less access to scientific journals to Canadians. Research Canadians have paid for!  CISTI journals deposited in the DSP were important, since the DSP’s:

    primary objective is to ensure that Canadians have ready and equal access to federal government information. The DSP achieves this objective by supplying these materials to a network of more than 790 libraries in Canada and to another 147 institutions around the world holding collections of Canadian government publications.

    In addition, hundreds of government jobs – scientists, librarians and researchers are expected to be lost.  The budget cut is $35 million in annual expenditures.

    This plan includes a reduction in NRC’s a-base funding totalling $16.8 million per year by 2011-2012 (announced in Budget 2009) as well as reductions in revenue-generating activities.

    Hmm! Wonder what our current Federal Minister of State for Science and Technology’s thoughts are about science?

    Here are a couple of articles:


    Here are a few articles:

  • NRC cuts could affect 300 positions, The Ottawa Citizen
  • Access to CISTI Source to End
  • Action:

    I have been neglectful of this wonderful space and am now getting back to it!  As a warmer upper, Hugh, suggested that I post the following that I sent to the list.  I have been doing lots of thinking in this area, and I have decided to pursue a PHD on the topic of data access in Canada and hope to share some of my readings & findings as I go along.

    In addition, I have been reading lots of great data laden reports in public health, on the topic of quality of life, and collecting data from a multitude of sources that I will get to talking about at some point.  Until then you can read some of the documents and reports that I have tagged here and here.

    Thinking about data

    So these days I have to write a proposal, and it involves data, infrastructures, and geographic imagination. And as I was reading an article about criminological data models, governmentality, and biopolitics I came across this fellow Ian Hacking.

    Prof. Hacking wrote about how:

    • statistical probability came to be in the 17th century;
    • the science of prediction and probability shaped categorizations of people into this and into that,
    • those categories that did not exist before the statistical analysis, came to become social realities and
    • probability can allow you to predict occurrences within a population according to a set of probabilities but alas at the scale of the individual things are totally random!

    Ian Hacking is a Canadian Philosopher and a fellow at the College de France – the only anglo accepted thus far – same schools as Michel Foucault.

    Why do I care and why am I sharing this?  Well, it has to do with access to data and who is creating the categories we come to live by and believe, what it means when government rationalization comes in the form of statistics discussing populations, and that only the government and wealthy organizations have access to the means to those rationalizations.

    During the course of proposal writing I re-read the Chapter on the Census, Map and Museum in Benedict Anderson’s Book Imagined Communities.  He discusses how these three institutions were instrumental at framing the colonial gaze in Asia.  He also explained that these institutions told us more about the colonial mentalité and less about those they being counting, mapping and whose artifacts got collected.  Finally, he demonstrated how these institutions and the categories, territories and anthropoligies eventually got believed by the local, re-puporsed, acted and performed in reality, eventually, becoming ancestors.  Bref – manufacturing an odd imagination of who one is.  Those who counted, mapped and assembled got to tell the stories.  And it is these stories that left traces.

    After reading about Ian Hacking’s work, I listened to a CBC ideas interview with him.  Brilliant! He discusses taming chance, statistical thinking, normativity, wanting to be normal and adapting to categories which make up people and shape a type of social reality.  Access to data I think is about enabling more than a few to question, assess and shape reality.  It is also about questioning who has the monopoly on the data that allow us to interpolate the terrain of our geographic imagination – who we are, our identity, issues, how we see ourselves.

    Andrew Pickering, who studies the sociology of science, was also interviewed by Paul Kennedy in the same Ideas program, and he brought up Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of nomad science vs royal science.  The latter a science that continues to support the known and accepted ways of doing things the former a more distributed form of science out of the academe.  I think web 2.0, open access, open source, open data are about nomad science – which i will explore a little more.

    I then listened to Brian Wynne, a Prof. of Science Studies in the same ideas series but a different show who discussed how science and technology somehow are beyond the realm of politics.  He discusses in his work on The Public Value of Science how some sciences are imagined, how these are delusions, and are provocations and how these are constructed in the public mind.

    I am trying, in my own work, to get at the idea that data help us form a picture of reality, and the more of us that get the opportunity to play with them, learn about them, value them, the more pictures we may create that may invert, contest and change something, question what we are currently being told in an educated way, wonder about what we are not told, what is silenced or worse just plain ignored, how our imagination is shaped, ways we may want to shape it and some new social realities we may want to aim for.

    Or to use a term from a lecture given by Darin Barney, I think data are part of the means by which we can do citizenship, doing citizenship involves judging and acting on that judgement, and I believe that data are an integral part of making good judgement upon which to act.


    as an FYI The entire CBC lecture series on How to Think about Science is just plain great.

    This paper includes an awesome table (p.003) which outlines attributes related to research data sharing in academic health centres.  The table includes determinants of data access from the perspective of data storage, controls on access to data, and who determines access permissions.

    The paper also includes 7 recommendations for Academic Health Centres (AHC) to encourage data sharing which I think can be modified to suit other contexts:

    1. Commit to sharing data as openly as possible, given privacy constraints.  Streamline institutional review boards, technology transfer, and information technology policies and procedures accordingly.
    2. Recognize data sharing contributions in hiring and promotion decisions, perhaps as a bonus to a publication’s impact factor.  Use concrete metrics when available. [I like that they understand the incentive structures of this group]
    3. Educate trainees and current investigators on responsible data sharing and reuse practices through class work, mentorship, and professional development.  Promote a framework for deciding upon appropriate data sharing mechanisms.
    4. Encourage data sharing practices as part of publication policies.  Lobby for explicit and enforceable policies in journal and conference instructions, to both authors and peer reviewers.
    5. Encourage data sharing plans as part of funding policies.  Lobby for appropriate data sharing requirements by funders, and recommend that they assess a proposal’s data sharing plans as part of its scientific contributions.
    6. Fund the cost of data sharing, support for repositories, adoption of sharing infrastructure and metrics, and research into best practices through federal grants and AHC funds.
    7. Publish experiences in data sharing to facilitate the exchange of best practices.

    I have not looked at this literature in a while, but my sense is the discourse is moving away from problems to providing solutions.  Most importantly in the case of this paper, they are culture shifting since, in a sense they a pushing toward an open access ideology by creating an environment conducive to sharing by hiring the right people, providing the appropriate incentives, marketing successes, changing publication practices, educating and promoting open access within.  This is most interesting as this is the medical profession, a bastion of commerce and privacy concerns that is moving to open access faster than our Statistical Agency in Canada!

    The full paper is available for free in myriad formats!

    Piwowar HA, Becich MJ, Bilofsky H, Crowley RS, on behalf of the caBIG Data Sharing and Intellectual Capital Workspace (2008), Towards a Data Sharing Culture: Recommendations for Leadership from Academic Health Centers. PLoS Med 5(9): e183

    The publisher, PLoS Medicine:

    PLoS Medicine believes that medical research is an international public resource. The journal provides an open-access venue for important, peer-reviewed advances in all disciplines. With the ultimate aim of improving human health, we encourage research and comment that address the global burden of disease.

    PLoS Medicine (eISSN 1549-1676; ISSN-1549-1277) is an open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal published monthly online by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), a nonprofit organization. The inaugural issue was published on 19 October 2004.

    Ready or Not, Here Comes Open Access: Sure, you’d rather focus on science than on debates about open access. But the decisions made today about publishing models are relevant not only to your work, but also to the future of biomedical research. So pay attention.

    November issue of Genome Technology focuses entirely on Open Access openly available under a CC license.  The articles discussed both data and publications.  Wonderful! See page 40 of the journal to read Ready or Not, Here Comes Open Access.

    Via: SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition


    « Older entries § Newer entries »