In the past year I’ve been working with the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) as a member of the Working Group on Protecting Public Advice within the RSC’s Task Force on COVID-19. In February my co-authors (Julia Wright, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Matthew Herder and Howard Ramos) and I published our final report, which has also been accepted for publication as an article in FACETS.

The report focuses on the threats and risks that researchers face when they step into the public domain to share their research and provide advice to policymakers and the general public, especially in the context of today’s chaotic, competitive and combative information ecosystem. We make a series of recommendations to help address this problem, focusing on the need to better measure the problem and on the importance of developing easy to access supports for researchers who are threatened. Most importantly, we call on researchers, those that fund and govern them, as well as the general public, to engage in conversation about what we hope to achieve from scholars’ public engagement, and how to achieve these objectives without jeopardizing the safety of researchers.

The full report is available here.

We also did a webinar to discuss our findings.

And, we wrote an op ed summarizing our argument in the Globe and Mail. 

It was an absolute pleasure to co-author this work with the Royal Society and with such an insightful and engaged interdisciplinary group of scholars. I look forward to pushing ahead the policy changes we recommend in our study.