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Canadian Science Policy Center CSPC 2017

Our Panel description

Canada hosts some of the most ambitious pilot projects in open science and open innovation. The problem is that all these initiatives are poorly known and understood, especially those that did not emerge within traditional institutions, which are in fact the most disruptive ones. In this Case Study panel we discuss a few special open science projects that have originated within open innovation networks, and have been conducted in collaboration with forward-looking academic labs. The panelists will present the methodologies, the infrastructure for collaboration and the governance that have been employed, the resulting benefits, and will analyse some of the problems encountered. These cases constitute a great example of how academia can interface with open networks and communities.

Online communities and networks have become environments buzzing with scientific and technological activities. It is nowadays normal for a graduate student to work in a lab by day and contribute to online communities by night, or spend their evenings in open innovation spaces such as fablabs, makerspaces, and hackerspaces. It is also not a secret any more that students turn to their online peers for technical questions and advice, rather than to their lab colleagues and professors. The most prolific students are those who maintain complex relationships outside of the immediate academic circle. The boundaries of academia are becoming very fuzzy, but there is very little effort to formalize these exchanges between academic labs and online communities/networks, and open innovation spaces.

The cases that will be presented and discussed during this panel will show how interfaces between academia and open innovation communities/networks accelerate scientific discovery and technological transfer.
By presenting and discussing these cases we hope to stimulate other labs to experiment with relations with open innovation networks. At a higher level, we also hope to influence Universities to put in place pilot programs to begin formalizing these kind of relations. SENSORICA affiliates can work with different academic players to transfer their knowledge and know how.



The panel on Open Science was split into two sections, The Scientific and Economic benefits of Open Science and Open Science and Innovation (our section). 

During the first part of the session, Guy Rouleau (Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University) spoke about MNI and their bold action to move to open science. The open science concept in the first part was presented as a more open collaboration between academia and the private sector, where no patents were pursued. This is  the institutional view of open science, a more top down approach, supposing that scientific development comes from academia and the private sector puts new scientific knowledge into practice. A representative of the multinational pharmaceutical Merck was part of this first panel, testifying why large companies are interested in open science and open innovation. In essence, for rare medical conditions that don't represent a large market, Merck is happy to work in an open way to reduce the costs of treatment development, while hoping to monetize the solution. 

During our part, we extended the definition of open science beyond open publication and the creation of commons and of open source technologies. These concepts are captured in a presentation that we made for MNI in 2016. We also approached the question from a practical perspective, presenting Breathing Games and some of the SENSORICA's past projects. But most importantly, we established the existence and the importance of open networks (the crowd/people) as new socioeconomic agents with a very important role in science and innovation, proposing private-public-people partnerships. We introduced the button up view, advocating for a better interface between the crowd (open networks) and the public and private sectors.