Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Policy on Science and Technology Publications

A. Effective date

This policy takes effect on April 1, 2019.

B. Goal

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) science and technology (S&T) publications are produced, managed and published in a manner that consistently delivers high quality research to inform the general public, the agricultural sector, and the scientific community at large, about agriculture and to advance agricultural science programs and policies in Canada. AAFC S&T publications comply with Canada’s Directive on Open Government and Open Science; the Government of Canada acts, policies and directives; AAFC’s Science Ethics Policy Framework; and principles of scientific integrity, security, privacy, and intellectual property rights.

C. Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to provide guiding principles and direction to facilitate the internal management and publishing of AAFC’s S&T publications across the department. AAFC is seeking to increase awareness of and access to the department’s high quality S&T published outputs and demonstrate that AAFC’s S&T activities provide value for Canadians.

D. Application

  1. This Policy applies to new S&T Publications to be published as of April 1, 2019.
  2. The Policy applies to:
    1. Peer-reviewed S&T publications to be published in scientific journals, books and peer-reviewed conference proceedings.
  3. This Policy applies to any S&T peer-reviewed publication for which any or all of the following situations apply:
    1. an AAFC employee is listed as the Corresponding author;
    2. an AAFC employee is listed as an author or co-author but not the Corresponding author; or
    3. the publication is produced under a procurement contract where the Crown retains copyright.

E. Policy principles

This Policy aligns with the six (6) following principles:

  1. This Policy will apply to peer-reviewed S&T publications to be published in scientific journals, books and conference proceedings, and publications produced under procurement contract where the Crown retains the copyright.
  2. The Government of Canada has embraced a policy of an open and transparent government. In support of this policy direction, through the Directive on Open Government, and the Open Science Commitment, the Government of Canada has committed to maximize the release of Government of Canada information and to "increase the public availability of data and publications produced from federal Science and Technology (S&T) activities." This policy fulfills those commitments with guidelines on authorship, journal selection and fees. See Appendix A.
  3. This Policy complies with AAFC’s obligations under laws, policies, legal arrangements and practices for sound management of intellectual property, as follows:
    1. Release of peer-reviewed S&T publications must conform to laws and policies related to national security, privacy, employment with the Government of Canada, intellectual or other forms of property or any other relevant legal obligations such as the Copyright Act and the Public Servant’s Invention Act (PSIA). See Appendix B.
  4. This Policy aims to facilitate access to and promote awareness of AAFC’s peer-reviewed S&T Publications among AAFC employees, the general public, the agricultural sector, and the scientific community at large. To this end:
    1. Every peer-reviewed publication should be catalogued in the Science and Technology Branch Science Publication System (STB-SPS), whether it was led by AAFC researchers or by collaborators outside AAFC.
    2. A short (i.e. not more than 250 words) Plain Language Summary (PLS) in both official languages must be provided for each peer reviewed publication that is released, as per the Directive on Open Government. The PLS must be submitted at the same time the paper is submitted to the publisher. The summary must be clear, accurate, and complete. The requirement for PLS also applies to publications for which AAFC is not the Lead or Corresponding author. See Appendix C on Plain Language Summary guidelines.
  5. This policy promotes good governance in S&T peer-reviewed publications:
    1. By reviewing all S&T peer-reviewed publications for explicit comments, recommendations on, or discussions about, policy matters or federal statutory or regulatory programs.
    2. By subjecting S&T peer-reviewed publications that do not contain the above, to an administrative review to ensure scientific integrity principles, found in AAFC’s Science Ethics Policy Framework, and in AAFC’s Science Integrity Policy, have been followed.
    3. By subjecting S&T peer-reviewed publications with intellectual property considerations to review by the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization.
  6. S&T’s peer-reviewed Publications are expected to align with AAFC’s Science Ethics Policy Framework:
    1. Lead or corresponding authors are responsible for obtaining permission from co-authors to publish before the release of the publication.
    2. The order of publication authors is based on the level of scientific contribution related to the project, or on the conventions common to the scientific discipline or journal. Normally, the first author being the most involved and so on. All authors should agree on the order of authors prior to submission for publication.
    3. "Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada" must be identified as the primary affiliation for all AAFC authors on all publications issued by an AAFC employee, even when the AAFC employee is not the first author. Secondary affiliations within AAFC may be used in addition to but not in place of "Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada".
    4. Any misconduct, falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, non-recognition or any other unethical behaviour must be reported to the immediate supervisor of the Lead AAFC author, or to AAFC’s Science Ethics Committee as appropriate.

F. Roles, responsibilities, delegated authority

  1. The Assistant Deputy Minister, STB is responsible for the approval and the oversight of this Policy.
  2. The Lead AAFC author is responsible for ensuring compliance with the procedures associated with the Policy. Authors should also understand the linkages to the Department’s Intellectual Property Policy, the Copyright Act, the Privacy Act, the Financial Administration Act, adherence to PLS guidelines, AAFC’s Science Integrity Policy and the AAFC Science Ethics Policy Framework. (Appendix D). Steps for Lead AAFC authors to follow when producing and finalizing AAFC S&T Publications can be found in Appendix E.
  3. DRDT’s are responsible for facilitating the publication of peer-reviewed literature by:
    1. Ensuring final versions of publication have been reviewed for non-science content (e.g., policy statements).
    2. Ensure the License to Publish (Copyright) forms have been reviewed and signed;
    3. Ensure the Plain Language Summary has been reviewed and approved before it is submitted to the STB-SPS;
    4. Working with the lead or corresponding AAFC author to ensure IP is protected (as appropriate), and engaging assistance from the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OPIC) when necessary;
    5. Verifying with the lead or corresponding AAFC author that the release of the publication is not encumbered by agreements with third parties.
    6. Assuring that the final publication is submitted to STB-SPS.
  4. The OIPC Director is responsible for reviewing and advising on efficient procedures to ensure that Crown Copyright is retained, third party information is respected, the release of the publication is not encumbered by agreements with third parties, and intellectual property is appropriately managed. OIPC personnel are available to provide advice about inclusion of intellectual property in proposed manuscripts and execution of licensing agreements for individual S&T publications, at the request of management.
  5. Strategic and Ministerial Communications Division (Public Affairs Branch) is responsible for developing and implementing effective procedures and opportunities for communicating scientific information of interest and value to the public (including media). Strategic communications (Public Affairs Branch) personnel are available to assist in navigating the Government of Canada Communications Policy, at the request of an AAFC author, or management.
  6. STB-Science Coordination Division is responsible for developing and maintaining the STB-SPS repository and for ensuring that procedures for cataloguing AAFC’s peer-reviewed publications are efficient.
  7. The Science Ethics Committee is responsible for investigating any instances of science ethics concerns regarding an S&T peer-reviewed publication, and ensuring that S&T peer-reviewed publications and Dataset Policies comply with the Science Ethics Policy Framework. The Science Ethics Committee is available to provide advice about compliance with AAFC’s Science Ethics Policy Framework, at the request of an AAFC author, or the Director of Research Development and Technology (DRDT).

G. Review of AAFC Policy on S&T Publications

The Director General, Planning and Partnerships Directorate, is responsible for maintaining this policy document. The Director General is also responsible for periodically assessing the department’s implementation of this policy, ensuring that it is communicated to staff, and identifying opportunities to strengthen compliance by recommending actions to the Assistant Deputy Minister, STB. These recommendations could include revisions to the policy, targeted additional training, changes to procedures or systems, and/or changes to delegated authorities where the need is identified. The policy will be reassessed every five years, though updates and modifications can be made whenever required.

H. Conflicts and enquiries

Any conflict or questions about this Policy on S&T peer-reviewed publications should be directed to STB, Director General, Partnership and Planning Directorate.

Any ethical issues related to this Policy will be directed to, and addressed by, the Science Ethics Committee through its divulgation mechanism. Documentation on this mechanism is available on AAFC Knowledge Workspace.

Appendix A: Guidelines for open science

The following guidelines serve to support the Directive and the Open Science commitment:

  1. Authorship

    The Guidelines for open science shall apply when at least one of the following situations is encountered:

    1. The corresponding or co-corresponding author is an AAFC employee;
    2. AAFC is responsible for fees associated with the publication;
    3. An AAFC scientist is leading the activity for which the funds have been received.

    Otherwise, when the AAFC employee is a co-author of the manuscript, the corresponding author’s institutional policies with respect to Open Science apply. However, AAFC author (s) shall discuss the AAFC policies with the corresponding author to maximize openness.

  2. Journal selection/publishing
    1. When an AAFC employee is the primary corresponding author or first author, the employee shall select a suitable journal for the subject matter and target audience.
    2. AAFC employees must select non-predatory journals. Guidance for the identification of predatory publishers can be found through the Canadian Agricultural Library Publishing Support Tools pages, and through other online resources.
    3. Where ever possible, AAFC employees should select a journal that supports Open Access publishing, self-archiving, or delayed Open Access following an embargo period of not more than 12 months. Guidance for this process can be found through the Canadian Agricultural Library Publishing Support Tools pages (accessible only on the Government of Canada network), and through other online resources.
    4. Where allowed by journal policies, AAFC authors should self-archive a copy of the pre-print manuscript on an open access AAFC repository.
    5. where ever possible, AAFC authors should publish dataset(s) that support the publication through the publisher or through an online repository while respecting privacy, ownership, or contractual obligations.
  3. Article publication charges/fees
    1. Article publication charges (APC) or fees shall be funded through allocated project budgets where possible.
    2. Open Access publishing options should be considered whenever possible in order to maximize the availability of the publication to the public.
    3. In cases where there are costs associated with Open Access publishing, and there are significant societal values and/or significant short term scientific impacts to making the publication immediately publicly available, the corresponding author should discuss funding options with the project team or with their ADRDT.

Appendix B: Intellectual Property guidelines

  1. The copyright associated with S&T publications created by AAFC employees belongs to the Government of Canada ('the Crown'). Authors are not authorized to waive, transfer, or assign Crown copyright to a publisher. Only an ADRDT, DRDT or the Director of OIPC has the authority to sign licence to publish agreements enabling the publication of the manuscript, or to approve checking on-line boxes related to copyright.
  2. S&T publications that contain or could reveal information that when released could compromise their intrinsic value as industrial trade secrets, or the capacity to be granted intellectual property right through them, must not be released.
  3. S&T publications that are not to be released must still be identified and inventoried. The reasons for the exclusion must be documented.
  4. Authors of S&T publications are advised not to waive their moral rights, which are protected under the Copyright Act of Canada (Sections 14.1 and 14.2). Moral rights protect the author’s right to attribution, integrity and association with a work, as described in the Copyright Act. Authors retain moral rights for the duration of the copyright, even if the copyright belongs to the Crown or has been licensed to another party.
  5. Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from the copyright holder of previously published material that they wish to publish or to use in their S&T publication.

Appendix C: Plain Language Summary guidelines

The Plain Language Summary (PLS) is a brief outline of the journal article written in everyday language accessible to audiences that may not have a scientific background or be subject matter experts. A PLS is a communication that audiences will understand the first time they read or hear it.

Void of technical terms, acronyms, Latin expressions and jargon, the PLS is drafted from the lay reader's point of view using an active voice, familiar words and short sentences. Effectively organized, clear writing and inviting presentation are all keys to creating a readable, informative PLS. Weekly Science Stories are good examples of good PLS writing style. The PLS will be written and submitted when the paper has been submitted to the publication. Authors of scientific publications should submit a PLS in the language of their choice; it will later be translated into the other official language.

Purpose of the Plain Language Summary

  • It helps AAFC colleagues and managers who may not have a scientific background get a clear picture of the research being conducted.
  • It improves the Canadian public’s awareness of the vast wealth of scientific information developed by federal researchers.
  • It allows the Government of Canada to meet its commitment to maximize access to federally funded scientific research and encourage collaboration and engagement between the scientific community, the private sector and the public.


  • Senior AAFC managers, Ministerial and Deputy Minister personnel;
  • Government of Canada managers and employees who need the information for their work, including policy analysts and program designers;
  • National and international scientists, academics and private sector researchers in different fields of expertise;
  • Canadians with an interest in agricultural and agri-food science.

Principles - 3 Cs

  • Concise: Should not exceed 250 words
  • Comprehensive: The summary must make sense as a piece of writing in its own right
  • Consistent: All summaries should answer the following questions: A. What was the issue or topic? B. Why does it matter and to whom? C. What answers did you find? D. What are the benefits? E. What is next? G. Optional: who were the collaborators when mentioned in the publication?

Appendix D: References and useful links

1. Government of Canada’s acts

2. Government of Canada policies and guidelines

Appendix E: Steps for AAFC authors to follow when producing and finalizing AAFC S&T publications

  1. While completing the draft S&T publication, in collaboration with AAFC and/or researchers, inquire whether the publication mentions a novel invention or other IP that may require protection? (See Appendix B for guidance).

    NO: Proceed to step 2.

    YES: Discuss with DRDT, unless this task has been delegated to the ADRDT, and engage OIPC as necessary before proceeding to step 2.

  2. Once the draft is complete, consider the following 2 questions:
    1. Does the S&T publication include specific comments or recommendations about federal regulations or policies?
    2. Are there potential communications opportunities or challenges?

    NO to both questions: Proceed to step 3.

    YES to either question: Discuss with DRDT, unless task has been delegated to ADRDT and engage Strategic Communications (Public Affairs Branch) as necessary.

  3. Submit S&T publication to editor of scientific journal, book or conference proceeding, for external peer-review. Write and submit Plain Language Summary. After S&T publication has been accepted by the editor but before approving the galley proofs, submit approval checklist and accepted version of the S&T publication to management. Submit plain language summary to SPS. Once go-ahead has been received from DRDT, unless delegated to ADRDT, and License to Publish (Copyright) forms have been completed (should occur within 7 days of submitting materials), proceed to step 4.
  4. Approve galley proofs, pay printing costs and complete any other tasks required by publisher for publication.

Appendix F: Definitions

For the purpose of this Policy, the following words have the meaning prescribed bellow:

"AAFC author" includes "co-author", "first author" or "lead author"
AAFC employees, identified as an author in a peer-reviewed publication, and who re involved in S&T research and development projects, including but not limited to research scientists, chemists, biologists, technicians , research affiliates and students who have substantially contributed to the conception and design, and/or the acquisition or analysis and interpretation of data contained in an AAFC publication. An AAFC author should be involved in drafting the paper or in reviewing the final content and providing significant intellectual contribution. This definition includes authors who are in the AAFC Scientist Emeritus and Science Alumnus program.
The "AAFC Associate Director, Research, Development and Technology" at the Research Centre where the author is working.
The exclusive legal right of the creator of the work to produce, reproduce, publish, translate, modify or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. In the case where the creator is an AAFC employee, the copyright is owned by the Crown, according to Section 12 of the Copyright Act. R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42.
Corresponding author
The person chosen from among several co-authors to be responsible for all contact and correspondence with the Publisher following submission of an S&T publication to a journal or periodical for peer review and publication.
The "AAFC Director, Research, Development and Technology" supervising the author.
Delayed Open Access
A publishing option where the publisher allows open access after an embargo period.
Gold Open Access
A publishing option where the article is immediately, openly available to the public on the publisher’s website. A fee to the author or author’s institution is often requested.
Green Open Access
A publishing option where delayed open access is granted for a fee.
Knowledge Transfer
The sharing or disseminating of knowledge from one institution to another or the public at large.
Lead AAFC Author
The most senior AAFC author involved in the publication, and who will be responsible for compliance with this policy, and for working with third parties, when the lead author is not an AAFC employee.
Moral Rights
The right of credit, the right of integrity, and the right of anonymity subject to the Copyright Act. The right of credit requires that the original creator is always credited for the work. The right of integrity guarantees that the work shall remain in basically the same state unless the creator changes it or grants permission to have it changed. The right of anonymity ensures that the creator can decide how the work is used or presented even if they no longer own the work.
"OIPC" or the "Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization" of AAFC
That has delegated authority for the management of AAFC’s intellectual property emerging from S&T activities as well as delegated authority to negotiation and ratify agreements related to Science and Technology and intellectual property.
Open Access
Unrestricted access to the publication, and is available without subscription to the journal. Reuse is still governed by copyright laws.
A process used in academic publishing to assess the articles submitted for publication in a scholarly journal or related media. Articles are evaluated by other scientists in the same discipline for scientific accuracy, integrity and novelty, among other factors.
Peer-reviewed publications
Publications of scientific or technical nature that meet standards established for a given discipline and which are subject to a peer-review process external to AAFC and intended for publication in a third party peer-reviewed scientific journal.
"PLS" or "Plain Language Summary"
A brief outline of the journal article written in everyday language for the general public by avoiding technical terms, acronyms and jargon. The purpose of the PLS is to reach and influence broader audiences that may not have any scientific background or knowledge. A PLS is not an "Abstract" and is not intended to be a part of the publication itself except when required by the journal. The Guidelines for Plain Language Summary are provided in Appendix B.
Shared Contribution Authorship
Work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution(s) of the other author(s).
"R&D" or "Research and Development"
The investigative efforts undertaken on a systematic basis to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humankind, culture and society, and the use of this body of knowledge to devise new applications.
Science and Technology which includes both Research and Development and Related Scientific Activities and refers to the broad spectrum of activities required to generate, disseminate, or apply new scientific and technical knowledge. S&T is defined broadly to include natural, environmental, health and medical sciences and engineering.
S&T peer-reviewed publications
Peer-reviewed publications or presentations of scientific or technical knowledge or data emerging from research and development investigation to expand the global body of knowledge irrespective of the format or medium used to present or publish the work.
"SPS" or "Science Publication System"
An AAFC database or a successor system that supports the AAFC Publishing Policy and Procedure by managing approvals of publishing activities and tracking the Science Publication inventory for the Science and Technology Branch.
The original, distinctive and creative material, produced by the author(s) by documentation in written or other electronic format (video, voice or photographic recording).