Irreplaceable scientific data is disappearing due to the recent consolidation and closure of many federal science libraries. Seven libraries run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have been closed along with libraries run by Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and Health Canada. Many of the books, reports and data at these libraries have already been discarded. Many of the books, reports and data at these libraries have already been discarded.
This priceless information is essential for the protection and security of Canada’s waterways. In particular, historical data and information provides the only baseline by which changes in the state of Canada’s aquatic ecosystems and fisheries resources can be evaluated. Without such trend data, assessing the impacts of policy and management decisions is impossible.
The government has said that they plan to digitize the collections and that closing the 7 libraries will save $430,000 annually. Scientists have expressed concern that much of the discarded information was not digitized and those resources that were digitized will not be readily accessible. In light of recent staff cuts to DFO and Libraries and Archives Canada, it is unclear where the resources required to digitize this material and make it available will come from.
The government has not provided the criteria used to determine which information resources would be discarded, which would be retained and which would be digitized. It has provided no estimates of the costs of digitization, no guarantee that the necessary resources will be allocated, and presented no plan to ensure that digital resources will be readily accessible.
This is just the latest instance of the erosion of federal support for public-interest science in Canada. Scientists have been speaking out about drastic funding cuts to science and the muzzling of government scientists.
You can help stop this erosion of scientific knowledge by sending a message to the federal party leaders and your member of parliament calling on them to stop closing DFO libraries and to ensure that the remaining information from the closed libraries is made available in a timely fashion.
To: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Tom Mulcair, Leader, New Democratic Party; Justin Trudeau, Leader, Liberal Party; Louis Plamondon, Parliamentary Leader, Bloc Québécois; Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party
Cc: your local MP
From: (all fields required)
- The Tyee, December 30 2013
- CBC News, January 6 2014
- The Globe and Mail, January 7 2013
- The National Post, January 7 2014
- The Tyee, January 8 2014
- The Star, January 12 2014
- rabble.ca, January 16 2014
- CBC, January 20 2014