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Open science - helping make science accessible for all Canadians

What is open science?

Open science is not the way science has historically been conducted. Tradition, culture and incentives have created an environment where scientific inputs, outputs and processes are either closed, accessible for a fee, or only available to the researchers and/or collaborators. Open science is a movement to make scientific processes and practices, including research methodology and outputs, more open and transparent.

On this website, “research” and “researchers” refer to scientific work and individuals that work with and in science. Open science can happen at all stages of the research lifecycle. First, scientists start with the creation of research questions (Ideation). Then, they collect data on the research question and determine if it supports the scientists' predictions (Data Collection & Analysis). The third stage is the publication of the results (Publication), and the fourth and final stage is about communicating with knowledge users so they can utilize research results to make informed decisions (Knowledge Mobilization). Knowledge mobilization then feeds back into the first stage by informing research questions.

The open science lifecycle

Figure 1: Circular diagram depicting four, sequential and cyclical broad categories of open science. Example practices from each category appear in an outside ring.

Figure 1: Circular diagram depicting four, sequential and cyclical broad categories of open science. Example practices from each category appear in an outside ring.

Open science aims to make each of these stages more inclusive and accessible to other scientists and Canadians. The open science life cycle includes:

  1. Tackling innovation challenges and engaging the community during ideation
  2. Encouraging citizen science and integrating open methods and open data during data collection and analysis
  3. Encouraging access to publications prior to peer review (preprints) as part of the publication process
  4. Using open access publications to exchange and communicate data and information during the final stage of knowledge mobilization

The Government of Canada is committed to making federally funded science open by helping to generate research ideas, making data and publications readily available, and making research understandable and useful. The objective of open science initiatives in the federal government is to provide Canadians with greater accessibility to learn about and participate in scientific processes and research while maximizing the health and well-being of the country.

Roadmap for Open Science

Recognizing the need to push for open science, the Government of Canada included an Open Science Commitment in both the Third and Fourth National Action Plans (NAP) on Open Government. One of the milestones in the Fourth NAP Open Science Commitment called for the development of a Roadmap for Open Science (the Roadmap), to provide a plan for greater openness in federal science and research activities. The Roadmap was published by the Chief Science Advisor of Canada on February 26th, 2020.

The Roadmap states “Open science is the practice of making scientific inputs, outputs and processes freely available to all with minimal restrictions. Scientific research outputs include (i) peer- reviewed science articles and publications, (ii) scientific and research data and (iii) public contribution to and dialogue about science. Open science is enabled by people, technology and infrastructure. It is practiced in full respect of privacy, security, ethical considerations and appropriate intellectual property protection.”

Open science resources

Click on the resources below to find out more information about the open science initiatives happening in the Government of Canada.

Departmental Open Science Action Plans
Action Plans from Science Based Department and Agencies on how to achieve the recommendations of the Roadmap on Open Science

Other Open Science Documents
A plan for greater openness in Federal Government science and research activities

Links to Federal Science Library and publications from the Federal Government on open science

Datasets and Portals
Links to open data sets, government data and information portals

Policy documents related to open science


Results and information on public engagement sessions on open science

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