The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: federal funding

PubMed Central Comes to Canada (or vice-versa?)

PumMed Central LogoIf you ever read scientific publications, but you don’t have institutional journal subscriptions, you definitely know and love PubMed Central, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) online repository of free-access full-text papers. Well, get ready for So You Think You Can Publish Canada PubMed Central Canada!

CIHR and the NRC’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information are partnering with NLM to establish PMC Canada, which follows UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) as PubMed Central expands internationally:

“PMC Canada will be a national digital repository of peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature, including research resulting from CIHR funding. This searchable Web-based repository will be permanent, stable and freely accessible. … PMC Canada will include a manuscript submission system to enable CIHR-funded researchers to deposit articles that are accepted for publication by peer reviewed journals.”

This initiative has been under way for some time, but it serves as a way to implement CIHR’s recently announced Policy on Access to Research Outputs, under which grant recipients are required to ensure that their peer reviewed publications are freely accessible online within six months of publication.  The NIH has a similar policy, with a 12-month window.

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Canadian Science Funding Update — Open Letter From Canadian Scientists Generates Equal, Opposite Open Letter from Gary Goodyear

Canadian scientists, dismayed by cuts of $113 million to the three primary granting agencies in this year’s federal budget, sent an open letter of protest to PM Harper last week that collected 2,000 signatures.

The response, from Minister of Industry Tony Clement, was certainly better pitched than the response at budget time from the government’s initial spokes-o-practor, Gary Goodyear.   Mr. Goodyear also responded to the protest letter — penning a letter to Nature — and succeeded in not igniting any additional controversy.

I have three points in reaction to the budget and the protest letter:

  1. The federal government clearly chose an investment in infrastructure and training at the expense of basic research, but is clearly embarrassed to say so in light of peer country decisions.  The U.S. has prominently featured major increases in research funding, and the UK has pledged not to let science be a victim of the economy (though we will see Wednesday if they put their money, or their foot, where PM Brown’s mouth is).
  2. The Ontario government has done significant work to close the gap in research funding and infrastructure matching funds left by the federal budget
  3. We are starting to see local impacts of the funding decisions generate pressure on individual MPs.  For example, the federal minister of public works, Christian Paradis, was “angry” and said he will do everything he can to ensure that the famous Mont Mégantic Observatory, which is in his riding of Mégantic-L’Érable east of Montreal, receives funding to remain open.  The NSERC, which decided to drop the observatory’s funding, has cut a number of projects to cope with a $70-million drop in its budget.

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Restoring Scientific Integrity to Government Decision Making

In addition to Obama’s announcement today lifting the ban on federal funding of stem cell reasearch, he also issued a presidential memorandum

To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions.

To which I can only say: thank goodness. 

Read the full memorandum after the jump…

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