50 Years On: The 1970 SS Arrow Oil Spill in Nova Scotia’s Coastal Waters – Science and Decision Making in an Environmental Emergency

On 4 February 1970, the oil tanker SS Arrow ran aground on the rocks of Chedabucto Bay on Nova Scotia’s east coast and four days later about two thirds of the 14,700 ton cargo of Bunker C oil spilled into the Bay. Recently, I collaborated with two Department of Fisheries and Oceans-Bedford Institute of Oceanography […]

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Evidence-Informed Decision Making: A Timely Graduate Course

The scheduling of the graduate course, “Information in Public Policy and Decision Making,” offered by the Dalhousie University School of Information Management could hardly be more timely or important. Troubling as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, as the virus infiltrated countries and caused havoc around the globe, it presented an exceptional case for students to […]

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Managing Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction: New Publications Examine Ongoing Treaty Negotiations at the United Nations

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a landmark international treaty that entered into force in 1994, provides the legal framework for the sustainable development of the oceans. UNCLOS covers a wide range of issues in a text containing over 300 articles. Over the decades since the treaty’s completion in 1982, […]

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Chemical Contaminants in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy: New Paper on Monitoring, with Policy Implications

The Environmental Information: Use and Influence research program has had a long affiliation with the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) through preparation of  bibliographies of the GOMC publications (Cordes et al, 2006; Ross et al., 2014), evaluation of the use and influence of that literature (Cossarini et al., 2014; MacDonald et […]

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Improving Use of Research-Based Information in Policy Contexts

The importance of evidence-informed decision-making is being recognized more and more within the broader scientific and political landscape. For critical issues like climate change, well-informed and structured policies can bring substantial progress to current and future mitigation and adaptation strategies. This awareness has resulted in increased efforts to design science-policy engagement strategies and best practices […]

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Challenges in Measuring the Use and Influence of Research-Based Information

Conducting research and producing reports are important pursuits, but they are only some of the activities found in research-to-policy processes. When data have been collected, analysed, and reports prepared, the next step, namely, communication, can be fraught with challenges that can impede use of the research. Some studies are conducted to address questions posed directly […]

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The Role of Public Consultations and Public Advisory Processes in Decision Making

Over the last several decades, the role of public participation in policy and decision making has expanded in scope and importance. Public participation is being used increasingly to complement technical expertise and empirical evidence in decision-making processes, both to strengthen the democratic legitimacy of policies and to benefit from a wide range of experiential knowledge. […]

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