Canadians Need Unfettered Access To Government Publications In Face Of COVID-19 – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) are calling on federal and provincial governments to make official publications more accessible to Canadians by assigning a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) to publicly available government information. We see this as a necessary and immediate response to COVID-19 and the appropriate default model for accessing government information….” 

 

States Are Suspending Public Records Access Due to COVID-19 – The Markup

“On March 4, Hawaii had no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but officials had started to take action in anticipation of an outbreak. Gov. David Ige declared a state of emergency, giving him the authority  to “suspend any law that impedes … emergency functions.” By the 16th, the outbreak had arrived: The state had 10 confirmed cases, and Ige began to act on that declaration. 

Among the statutes he suspended was Chapter 92F of something called “the uniform information practices act.” It was easy for a layperson to miss, but the change effectively blocked requests for public records in the state for the duration of the emergency. 

Hawaii is among several jurisdictions around the country that have amended or suspended access to public records as the coronavirus spreads. Governors are taking emergency action in some states, ordering changes to public records compliance during the crisis. Other states and municipalities have made legislative changes to their laws. But government-transparency advocates argue that in a time of crisis, access to public records is even more important. …”

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE): Coronavirus (COVID-19) response – GOV.UK

“Scientific evidence supporting the government response to COVID-19

The national and global response to the spread of COVID-19 continues to develop quickly and our knowledge of the virus is growing. These statements and accompanying evidence demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has evolved as new data has emerged.

This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest available evidence provided to SAGE….”

Research to Results: An Analysis of Citizen-Generated Open Data | Data-Smart City Solutions

“Once Meijer and Potjer finished their empirical analysis of the 25 cases, Meijer and Potjer concluded that citizen-generated open data can certainly provide improved information for public governance, but concurrently can also be used to challenge current power structures and city decisions. As a result, Meijer and Potjer posited that the addition of citizen-generated open data to public governance should be viewed as both “collaboration and contestation.”

For example, while citizen-generated open data produces data as a foundation for collaborative governance, it can also strengthen and work with governance by providing new checks and balances based on the data collected. Meijer and Potjer explained that to understand the role of citizens in this new environment of government with social media, is to know that the public governance will include both collaboration and conflict.

Meijer and Potjer’s second conclusion states that citizens engage in the generation of data to both collaborate with their governments and challenge current government positions and policies. There are distinctions between friendly, adversarial and neutral interactions—yet all of these interactions better inform governments on what their citizens are looking for. However, the researchers both concede that the impact of the data is too narrow and still in the exploratory phase.

In the end, despite realizing that citizen-generated open data can also challenge the positions and structure of city government, the greater amount of information and “multi-actor collaboration” utilizing that data does indeed help governments make more accurate data-based decisions for their cities by taking in both suggestions and criticism from the new form of data….”

Consumer interest and preferred formats for disclosure of restaurant inspection results, Minnesota 2019 | Journal of Food Protection

“In recent years, numerous state and local health departments have developed systems to disclose restaurant inspection results to consumers. Public disclosure of restaurant inspection results can reduce transmission of foodborne illness by driving improvements in sanitary conditions. In Minnesota, restaurant inspection results are not readily accessible for consumers to use to make decisions about where to eat. The objective of this study was to assess the consumer interest among Minnesota adults in having better access to restaurant inspection results and to identify preferred formats for disseminating this information. We conducted a survey among 1,188 Minnesota residents aged 18 years or older at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. Overall, 94.4% of respondents wanted better access to restaurantsâ?? inspection information. More than three-quarters of respondents (77.1%) stated that they would use this information to decide where to eat. Respondents wanted to see inspection results online (71.6%) and at restaurants (62.1%). Increasing public access to inspection results could reinforce efforts by public health agencies and food service operators to improve the safety of foods prepared away from home.”

 

[STM Association open letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy]

“STM publishers support all models and approaches that have the potential to lead to a more open scholarly communication environment and a greater empowerment of researchers. We continue to work diligently with stakeholders across the research ecosystem to build towards a future where quality, rigor, replicability, reproducibility, and integrity of research can be sustained while meeting the access needs of researchers and the public in an open and collaborative manner. We were therefore alarmed to learn that the Administration may be considering a precipitous move to require immediate access to any article that reports on Federally funded research, without due consideration of the impact of such a policy on research and discovery and the costs to the taxpayer of a shift to open access….”

Possible Executive Order on Open Access Alarms Academic Publishers | EdSurge News

“Academic publishers are worried about an executive order the Trump administration is said to be considering that would impose new open access requirements on federally funded science research.

Over the weekend, several draft letters addressed to President Trump circulated among and collected signatures from leaders of scientific societies and academic membership associations. One, provided to EdSurge by a representative of the nonprofit Research!America, expressed concerns about proposed changes that may require publishers to “immediately make federally funded scientific discoveries published in their journals freely available to the global market.” …”

[Open letter from a group of publishers to President Donald Trump]

“The undersigned organizations represent the leading publishers and non-profit scientific societies in the United States. We write to you with deep concern regarding a proposed policy that has come to our attention that would jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results. The role of the publisher is to advance scholarship and innovation, fostering the American leadership in science that drives our economy and global competitiveness. As copyrighted works, peer-reviewed journal articles are licensed to users in hundreds of foreign countries, supporting billions of dollars in U.S. exports and an extensive network of American businesses and jobs. In producing and disseminating these articles, we make ongoing competitive investments to support the scientific and technical communities that we serve.

As noted above, we have learned that the Administration may be preparing to step into the private marketplace and force the immediate free distribution of journal articles financed and published by organizations in the private sector, including many non-profits. This would effectively nationalize the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free. This risks reducing exports and negating many of the intellectual property protections the Administration has negotiated with our trading partners. We write to express our strong opposition to this proposal, but in doing so we want to underscore that publishers make no claims to research data resulting from federal funding….”