Open Science at the Douglas

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    The term Open Science has as many definitions as means of implementation. Open Science comprises a broad spectrum of practices, including Open Access publishing, open data sharing and knowledge translation. What unites all these practices and many others is the removal of barriers for worldwide collaboration through increased transparency and open sharing of research outputs. Individual researchers and institutions are encouraged to develop Open Science approaches tailored to their realities.

    The Douglas Research Centre (DRC) is the first research organization entirely dedicated to mental health to adopt Open Science at the institutional level in Canada. After a 1-year buy-in project supported by the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute (TOSI), the DRC announced five guiding principles for Open Science implementation. These principles were defined through an extensive needs assessment with the DRC community, and reflect our desire to broadly share our knowledge while safeguarding sensitive data from research participants. With ongoing support from TOSI and the Douglas Foundation, we now embark onto the implementation phase of our Open Science program.

    Our Open Science Principles

    Principle 1: Publicly release research outputs* following fair principles
    • Openly share new research outputs following FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).

    • Support access to sustainable OS-enabling platforms, by developing in-house digital infrastructure and facilitating the use of external OS tools.

    • Integrate the Douglas’ research platforms into the OS initiative.

    • Offer support, through dedicated personnel, for sharing research outputs and identifying OS practices that best fit individual research projects (e.g., animal-based vs. human-based).

    • Develop institutional policies and best practices that facilitate and guide sharing research outputs.

    • Develop tools to monitor our progress on sharing research outputs.

    (*) Research outputs include but are not limited to raw data, articles, code, software, methods, research tools, reagents, materials and biological samples.

    Principle 2: Facilitate the use of shared research outputs for educational, health, and societal impact


    • Reduce barriers to access and use of research outputs, by actively promoting them in appropriate forums and sharing them in ways that enable their modification, remixing, adaptation and adoption.

    • Curate, translate and adapt research outputs and knowledge for greater accessibility and use by clinicians, teachers, research participants, service users, policy-makers, the general public and other potential users.

    • Collaborate with other institutions – including educational, non-profit, industrial, philanthropic and governmental organizations – to promote public education and knowledge mobilization.

    • Make our processes and results available to the provincial ministry of health and social services to inform measurement-based care initiatives.

    Principle 3: Prioritize the well-being and privacy of research participants and services users
    • Guarantee that service users have the right to decline to participate in OS research, with no repercussions on the quality of the clinical care they receive at the Douglas.

    • Ensure that research participants and service users have the necessary information to understand our OS practices and the mechanisms regulating future usage of open data and other research outputs.

    • Adapt consent processes and research ethics frameworks to allow for OS practices while ensuring the privacy, dignity and confidentiality of research participants and service users.

    • Develop a data management policy with the provincial Ministry of Health and Social Services, to define conditions and processes for sharing service user data.

    Principle 4: Respect researcher autonomy while recognizing open science activities
    • Document and publicize all steps of our OS journey, to actively support culture change at the Douglas and serve as role-models for collaborating institutions.
    • Support the autonomy of internal stakeholders, including but not limited to researchers, staff and trainees, by recognizing their right to decline to participate in OS activities.

    • Create awards and incentives to reward, encourage and enable OS activities.

    • Develop and adapt researcher evaluation criteria to incentivize OS practices while accounting for the variety of researcher profiles and research programs.

    • Establish a community of practice and train a new generation of scientists well-versed in OS.

    Principle 5: Minimize the use of restrictive intellectual property protection on research outputs
    • Apply appropriate open licenses to research outputs as often as possible, including licenses that require proper attribution.

    • Provide full institutional support for researchers wishing to pursue research, collaboration, innovation, and mobilization strategies that explicitly forgo restrictive intellectual property.

    • Diligently consider in a transparent manner when restrictive intellectual property protection may be appropriate to maximize the impact of our discoveries and innovations on the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.

    • Incorporate OS practices into partnerships and research contracts with commercial, governmental, non-profit, and philanthropic partners.

    Our Team and Services Offered

    The Open Science team can currently support you with Open Access Publishing and provide individual consultations to help you find ways to incorporate Open Science practices into your research project or grant applications.

    Data management and liaison with the MWI-IUHSSC

    Geneviève Morin
    Open Science Program Manager

    Open Access publishing and data sharing

    Isabel Bacellar
    Open Science Program Coordinator