Robust & Accessible Information

Number of Canada’s threatened watershed basins (23) with high quality open access water data hubs


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Story Behind the Curve

By drawing on the collective wisdom of members of the freshwater community, the belief is that while some sub-watersheds are served by an open access data hub, the number needs to increase across the country.

What are the stories that help us understand why there are not more open access data hubs across the country? OLW Network members who work on this impact measure shared the causes they believe are at work, both negatively and positively, with respect to the existence of open access data hubs in Canada:

  • Perceptions of "data"
  • Political will
  • Questions around 'knowledge', especially different forms of knowledge
  • Government liability and repercusions
  • Property interests (legal constraints)
  • Technology constraints
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Academic propriety
  • Scientific timelines/processes/purposes
  • Quality control (and perceptions of quality)
  • Data sharing agreements
  • Gaps in knowledge/data
  • Constraints on 'openness'
  • Data that fits a particular narrative - sometimes people don't want data to be public
  • Trying to be a one stop shop
  • Fear of misinterpretation of data / concern over what data 'says'
  • Capacity needed to collect, analyze, and share
  • Costs
  • Shift in interdisciplinary learning
  • Indigenous led Data/ monitoring
  • Challenge of what to do with 'raw data'
  • Human slowness
  • Permissions
  • Community based monitoring

Who are the partners that can support us in doing better against this impact measure? The following are many of the partners who have a role to play (although the list is not exhaustive):

Indigenous partners; Local groups; Governments (Fed/Prov/Terr/Indigenous); Agencies like CCME and IJC; Groups that have tried and failed to build hubs; Academia; Tech sector; Schools; Youth

Ranking the Actions

Based on the stories behind the curve and the partners who have a role in supporting us doing better, a number of potential actions were brainstormed and then ranked based on two criteria:

  1. Leverage (L): This is the most important criterion. How much difference will the action make on our impact measure? Will this actually help turn the curve? E.g. handing out pamphlets at a community event isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it's probably low leverage.
  2. Reach (R): That is, “is it within our reach”? Is it feasible and affordable? Can it actually be done and when? No-cost / low-cost actions rank highly here. Action that require new significant resources rank lower. Is there a clear lead person (higher), or does nobody want to take it on (lower)?

The top four actions brainstormed are as follows (in order of how they were ranked)

  • Create Atlantic DataStream and work to create other similar open access data hubs
  • Develop a model ‘data sharing agreement’ statement which can be included in contribution agreements (from a variety of funders). This model statement would require data generated from a project to be shared into a publicly accessible open access data hub as a condition of funding.
  • Networking existing communities of practice that are working on open access data hubs and accessible data
  • Work on a policy statement on data and community based monitoring for the most relevant federal departments (e.g. ECCC) - and other ministries in other levels of government - to adopt that sets data to be open and available by default.

There is a great deal of action being taken by OLW Network members to ensure more open access data hubs emerge across the country.

No action has been taken to date on developing a model 'data sharing agreement' statement. If this is something that you are doing (and we do not know about) or is something you are interested in doing, then please contact us.

Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy