How bad is it in other government departments?

A while ago now I presented the recent changes to the publication approval procedures in the Central and Arctic region of DFO, which has received a fair amount of attention in the media- collaborators are getting panicky about what this means to them reporting their work in a timely fashion, and many are wondering what it means for us as government scientists actually being able to report our findings in the scientific literature (let alone communicate it to the public).

It’s got me wondering what the situation is like elsewhere- is it the case that no one had noticed how relaxed things were in this particular region, and now we’re being brought into line with other regions? How does this process work in Pacific region? Maritimes? What about other government departments- Environment Canada, Parks Canada, Natural Resources Canada, National Defense- what are your publication procedures like? Are they worse than what we’re experiencing? Not as bad?

I would appreciate any insights as comments below- I’ll remind everyone that the identifying fields are not required to leave a comment here, you can do so safely anonymously.

The best I can do so far is some (unconfirmed) rumors I had heard swirling about that one office in Environment Canada where no one was in a director position to sign off on any publications- due to retirement of that person or something- that this situation left no mechanism to obtain approval from anywhere else, and that this was holding up all kinds of work from coming out, until someone else was in the position permanently. This seems totally outlandish, so I’m hoping someone can give me the actual story.

Stopping the science before it starts

Dave Burden, Director General of Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, explaining the new policy in the region for seeking external research funds.

Dave Burden, Director General of Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, explaining the new policy in the region for seeking external research funds.

I’ve received some questions on my contact me page regarding my earlier post on recent departmental changes in Central and Arctic region that require us to ask permission to even apply for external funding at least 3 months before the proposals are even due. Remember, most government scientists rely almost exclusively on external funding to do their work as there’s little to no internal support for research.

The changes are outlined in an e-mail to staff sent out early February, and also appear on a page on the Central and Arctic DFO intranet site “Polaris”. Because it’s an intranet site, I can’t provide a link. So, here are some images of what the outlined changes are. The highlighting and emphasis was put there by the person who wrote it, not me.

New DFO policy on requesting permission to apply for funding

New DFO policy on requesting permission to apply for funding, page 1

new form outlining permission to seek funding, page 2

new policy outlining permission to seek funding, page 2

And here’s the actual form we’re supposed to fill out- before we even apply for the funding, to seek permission to do so.

RDS C&A pre-approval form

RDS C&A pre-approval form