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Thursday, November 10 • 10:30 - 12:00
Open Research / La recherche ouverte

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A critical communication gap exists between the research community and the Public, around the world. The Public is not sufficiently informed about research outcomes, except for the little they can glean through popular media. Researchers typically publish their outcomes in channels such as journals and conferences, which are meant for fellow researchers. Unfortunately, neither popular media nor journals and conference publications capture the details of the research processes that could engage the Public. The Public, as the receptor sector, rarely participates in the research cycle when researchers propose ideas, apply for funding, investigate ideas through various processes, reach outcomes, and drive new research directions. Thus, one could conclude that contemporary research practices unintentionally and unreasonably marginalize social awareness of the Public in research matters. This oversight is particularly noteworthy for research sponsored by public funds.

Certain data indicates that the Public wants to be involved in research. For example, in a recent report on the Public’s attitude towards research [http://v-a.se/downloads/varapport2015_6_eng.pdf], 90 per cent of the sample population supported public involvement, while public trust in university researchers fluctuated between 60 and 90 per cent. This strongly suggests that a significant majority of the public want to understand, question, utilize, influence, and engage in research processes, especially for publicly funded research. Consequently, a compelling justification and opportunity for developing a culture of open research unveils.

An open research culture offers many benefits. A Public that has access to research processes will be empowered in many ways. For example, people can engage in informed discussions on science -- drawing from direct involvement in evidence-based research, rather than relying on cultural beliefs, blind trust, basic intuition and media representations [https://www.upf.edu/pcstacademy/_docs/155.pdf].

For many nations, expanding the number of active researchers is a goal, especially as the ratio of the number of researchers to research spending remains highly unsatisfactory [http://data.uis.unesco.org]. Awareness of research processes will also help the Public understand certain data, such as why the top 96 Canadian researchers [http://www.stic-csti.ca/eic/site/stic-csti.nsf/eng/00088.html] are among the top 1% researchers in the world. Once initiated, this involvement could spark greater interest, motivating the public to get involved on a more fundamental and academic level.

Open Data [http://globalopendatainitiative.org/; http://open.canada.ca/en/open-data] allows for transparent sharing of information. Open Science [https://english.eu2016.nl/latest/news/2016/04/05/eu-action-plan-for-open-science; http://cos.io] supports integrity and growth in science research. Open Research allows for transparency in research processes, under the investigative scrutiny of the Public. The Public can raise questions about validity and applicability, as well as audit studies for quality, and test for replicability, using open datasets.

Important and necessary marketplace and regulatory policies could help improve the Public’s attitude towards research. Greater integrity could spark healthier private sector competition and more investment in research -- facilitating R&D by business enterprises and countering concerning observations, such as those of a recent benchmark report [http://www.stic-csti.ca/eic/site/stic-csti.nsf/eng/00088.html] on business R&D expenditures as a share of GDP.

As an extension of the "Open Government" initiative of the Government of Canada (http://open.gc.ca), this panel will deliberate the need for open research including citizen engagement, the standards for open research, and the proposed policy to guide researchers to adhere to open research standards.

avatar for Vivekanandan Kumar

Vivekanandan Kumar

Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology,, Athabasca University
Vivekanandan Kumar is with the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University, Canada. Vive’s research focuses on developing anthropomorphic agents, which mimic and perfect human-like traits to better assist learners in their regulatory tasks. 
avatar for Joy Romero

Joy Romero

Vice-President, Technology and Innovation, CNRL
Joy Romero, P.Eng is Vice President of Technology Development for Canadian Natural Resources Limited. She was the Chair of the Governing Council of Athabasca University. She is also an advisor to the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and holds a post-graduate diploma from the University.
avatar for Donna Romyn

Donna Romyn

Associate Vice-President Research, Athabasca University
Donna Romyn is the Associate Vice President, Research at Athabasca University. She is also a Registered Nurse and most of her career has been devoted to nursing education. Her research interests centre on philosophic issues of concern to nursing.

Thursday November 10, 2016 10:30 - 12:00
Room 209

Attendees (13)