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Open Science & the Decolonization of Knowledge


In partnership with the Canadian Commission of UNESCO and the Co-Chairs in Community-Based Research and the Socially Responsibility University, the Open Science & Decolonization of Knowledge project seeks to support the development of a sustained global network for the implementation of Open Science. This will include research, community mobilization, capacity building, policy advocacy, and implementation support.


Open Science Beyond Open Access: For and with communities. A step towards the decolonization of knowledge

In response to UNESCO’s consultations on the international Recommendation on Open Science, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO invited Knowledge Equity Lab Director Leslie Chan, as well as co-authors Budd Hall, Florence Piron, Rajesh Tandon, and Lorna Williams to publish Open Science Beyond Open Access: for and with communities, a step towards the decolonization of knowledge.

The paper explores the following questions:

• Why and how should science be “open”? For and with whom?
• Is it simply a matter of making scientific articles and data fully available to researchers around the world at the time of publication, so they do not miss important results that could contribute to or accelerate their work?
• Could this openness also enable citizens around the world to contribute to science with their capacities and expertise, such as through citizen science or participatory action research projects?
• Does science that is truly open include a plurality of ways of knowing, including those of Indigenous cultures, Global South cultures, and other excluded, marginalized groups in the Global North?

Open Science & the Decolonization of Knowledge International Webinar Series

International Webinar Series

Informed by the Open Science Beyond Open Access: for and with communities, a step towards the decolonization of knowledge briefing paper, CC-UNESCO and the Co-Chairs of Community Based Research & Socially Responsible University co-organised eleven multilingual and multi-regional webinar series on Open Science and the Decolonization of Knowledge.


Synthesis Report

The webinar series was well attended, with 1524 registered participants and 1162 active attendees across 24 countries. It sparked rich conversations about the diverse cultural and regional nuances in the conceptions of Open Science. KEL is working on producing a synthesis report to document the major themes and areas of debate.


OCIC Innovation Lab

In partnership with OCIC’s 2021 Innovation Lab, we were paired with a group of youth to develop an innovative, multimedia report to highlight some of our project activities and showcase impact beyond the traditional Results Based Management.

The result is this innovative map of select quotes from the webinar series and their locations.


Unsettling Knowledge Inequities

Season 2 of the Unsettling Knowledge Inequities podcast explores key themes from the ‘UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science’, and features diverse participants and stakeholders who contributed to the development of the recommendations. Conversations highlight efforts to: advance open, equitable, community-driven infrastructure; cultivate knowledge democracy and plurality; nurture bibliodiversity and multilingualism; and amplify Indigenous and early-career knowledge perspectives — across different cultural, organizational, and geographic contexts.

CS&S Event Fund

Decolonizing Open Science: A Design Sprint for Inclusive Knowledge Infrastructure

With support by the Code for Science & Society Event Fund, the Knowledge Equity Lab will be organizing a multi-day Design Sprint for Inclusive Knowledge Infrastructures around the theme Decolonizing Open Science in 2022.

We will explore implementation challenges of sustaining open knowledge infrastructure, and hope to invite participants from diverse communities to co-design concrete, actionable strategies to sustain local and interoperable infrastructures free from corporate control and technical standards imposed by global north institutions. The anticipated outcome would be a number of use cases, along with potential funding support, partnership and sustainability plans.