Integrity, justice, and inclusion in science

Interference in science: Documenting scientists’ perspectives on their ability to communicate and conduct environmental research in Canada

Partners: Evidence for Democracy, Dr. Don Driscoll (Deakin University)

In recent years in Canada, accounts of muzzling of scientists, particularly those studying the environment and natural resource issues, led to a nationwide outcry. The result: public and political campaigns calling for scientists to be able to communicate their work freely, and the federal government instituting science integrity policies in its departments in 2019. Yet, there are continued concerns with the integrity of government-led science in Canada, and a recent Australian survey of environmental scientists found widespread interference with the communication and conduct of their work.

We aim to document the phenomena of interference in science in Canada by surveying professionals in environmental studies and sciences about their experiences with interference in science. Given that people from equity-denied groups often experience more negative workplace outcomes than their peers, we bring a justice and equity lens to this work. We also seek to determine if experiences of interference in science differ for scientists in different career stages, across different organization types, and whether they identify as a member of one or more equity-denied groups (racialized persons, LGBTQ2S+ persons, gender minorities). Follow this project on ResearchGate.

Funders: Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship

Making environmental and natural resource research and management more effective by building respectful, inclusive partnerships

Fig. 2

The arena in which environmental research and management takes place in Canada is complex, and carries ongoing legacies of colonialism. To be effective in achieving one’s research goals, it is essential to understand the interrelationships of those in the arena and to build respectful, inclusive partnerships. Recognizing this challenge, a group of professionals from industry, academia, Indigenous perspectives, advocacy, law, and non-profits joined forces to provide guidance. The result was the publication Toward actionable, coproduced research on boreal birds focused on building respectful partnerships. Ongoing workshops support environmental researchers to think deeply about the objectives of their work, its applications, the colonial legacy of western science, and the relationships they have with their research partners and those who may be affected by their work.

A small subset of the original group is continuing this work by expanding upon the ‘Questions to ask yourself before engaging in research‘ portion. We aim to provide tools for researchers and managers to use in improving the inclusiveness of their work and decolonizing their approaches.