Science and Technology Activities

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How to use this tool:

  • This tool is designed for IM specialists to use with relevant business areas when identifying information resources of business value (IRBV ) and retention specifications.
  • The IRBV and retention specifications contained in this document are recommendations only and should be customized to apply in each institutional context. The complete document should be read before using any recommendations.
  • This Generic Valuation Tool does not provide Government of Canada institutions with the authority to dispose of information. Generic Valuation Tools (GVT) are not Records Disposition Authorities (RDA) and do not replace the Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDA).

Validation: While this tool has yet to be validated by communities of practice, it can still be used as a starting point for identifying IRBV s and determining their retention periods. Comments, questions or recommendations are welcome and should be sent to the Liaison Centre (BAC.Centredeliaison-Liaisoncentre.LAC@canada.ca).

Defining the Activity

In keeping with the work of the Council of Canadian Academies, the Science and Technology (S&T ) Strategy of the Government of Canada (GC) defines scientific and technological activities as “[encompassing] the traditional disciplines in the natural sciences—the study of nature; the social sciences, humanities and health sciences—the study of human beings; and engineering—the creation and study of artifacts and systems.” Footnote1This Generic Valuation Tool (GVT) focuses on internal S&T activities conducted by the federal government, whereas external S&T activities fall under the transfer payment process.

The primary legislative framework for scientific and technological activities is based on legislation specific to departments responsible for S&T .

Relationship to Other GVT

Business processes and activities often overlap. When the IRBV from an activity is identified in another GVT, there is a note in the table of IRBV and retention recommendations (below) to direct the user to the proper tool.

Management and Oversight: assesses resources documenting the S&T strategic direction within government or within a specific institution, any policy creation as well as project management occurring beyond the usual scope of operational activities.

Communications: details the process applicable to communication activities with the public or the dissemination of knowledge.

Transfer Payments: supports any activity that pertains to the role of the GC in funding S&T activities outside the federal government.

Human Resources Management, Materiel Management, Property Management, and Acquisition Services: addresses issues concerning the administrative aspects of the management of research laboratories and their staff.

Information Management and Information Technology: addresses all administrative aspects of database management.

Legal Services: pertains to such activities as drafting and preparing contracts and other legally binding agreements.

Financial Management: deals with the management of financial activities exclusively, such as payments and accounting.

Business Processes

1. Science and Technology Management:

Entails overseeing all S&T activities within the federal government, including policy development and other strategic approaches to S&T from a GC or a specific institution’s perspective, as well as establishing and managing partnerships.

Research Activities:

Includes research and development (R&D) and research activities considered by Statistics Canada to be related to scientific activities.  R&D is defined as “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of scientific and technical knowledge and to use this knowledge in new applications,” Footnote2and “it includes experimental development (work done to achieve technological advancement to create or improve new materials, devices, products or processes); applied research (work done to advance scientific knowledge with a specific practical application in view); and basic research (work done to advance scientific knowledge without a practical application in view).” Footnote3 Other research activities differ from R&D in that they lack the elements of uncertainty, novelty and innovation inherent to R&D, by their existence outside a project that is well-defined in time or space and by the reporting format. They include primarily the collection of data outside of an R&D project (e.g., longitudinal data collection, cartography and other data surveys), and special studies, such as standards development, calibration, economic and feasibility studies, or operations and policy studies. Footnote4 Although the business processes are similar for these two types of research, information resources of business value (IRBV s) and their retention periods differ.

2. Preliminary Planning:

Includes all stages of preparation leading to research, namely alignment with research priorities (selection of problem; approval of problem; assessment of external factors, particularly political, commercial and financial factors), project definition (preliminary research, consultations, considerations, formulation of preliminary hypothesis) and research preparation (e.g., planning experiments; establishing procedures; building and testing instruments/devices/programs; developing designs and plans; identifying and compiling sources and resources to be consulted).

3. Research and Analysis:

A key element of research; entails conducting experiments, collecting data, analyzing experiment results and data, testing, and noting findings and analyses. All these processes involve consultations between researchers and their peers, their managers or their clients. Depending on the results obtained at this experiment and analysis stage, a decision may be made to redirect or adjust the focus of a research study or modify the initial hypothesis, which could lead back to the previous step in the process.

4. Reporting:

Consists of preparing a draft, holding consultations, presenting results, and submitting the actual report. Reporting may be done through a basic final report, a technical report, a series of progress reports, presentations, and other products, such as maps and data compilations.

Related Activities:

Includes activities related to the dissemination and application of scientific and technological knowledge—processes that complement and extend research. Footnote5 While the research process itself is rarely strictly linear, the activities presented here neither depend on nor stem from one another (and therefore do not comprise consecutive or connected processes) and may be conducted simultaneously. These activities may or may not occur, and will not necessarily follow all research activities.

5. Dissemination of Knowledge:

Includes various ways of making knowledge available to the general public, primarily through formal publications, presentations given during a public event or other events for which the documents or other official records are public, or open access publications.

6. Diffusion of Information:

Entails sharing information with a specific target audience, including transmitting a research report to a selected audience; presenting to a target audience; participating in a working group involved in applying knowledge generated by R&D or consultation, which may consist of service delivery and providing expertise to clients who use this newly generated knowledge.

7. Management of Intellectual Property:

Includes intellectual property claims (e.g., patents, trademarks, copyright) with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) or Plant Breeders’ Rights Office (PBRO) at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the maintenance of this property.

8. Technology Transfer:

Entails transferring a technology generated as part of an R&D activity from the originating research institution to a third party for marketing purposes: includes any efforts to apply the newly created knowledge, licensing or technology incubation.

Retention

Recommended retention specifications in GVTs are determined based on traditional or best practices, a review of government-wide legislation and policy, and validation with subject matter experts. Retention periods are suggestions only; departments must take into account their own legislative requirements and business needs.

No specific legislation or regulations govern retention specifications for information resources generated by S&T activities.

The recommended retention periods are based on practices observed in various institutions. Unless otherwise specified, information on these practices were collected from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), as well as from the governments of New Zealand and Australia. (Refer to the appended bibliography for a complete list of references.) Furthermore, Library and Archives Canada’s collective knowledge of various GC institutions, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was used in formulating these recommendations.

As there is very little information available on retention practices for some of the IRBV types, the actual GVT recommendations are of a highly generic nature and should go through a validation process within each institution. Any new information which would allow Library and Archives Canada to modify, refine or complete these recommendations may be integrated into this GVT.

Business Value and Retention Recommendations

1. Science and Technology Management

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Development of policies
Development of strategic approaches

For IRBV s please see Management and Oversight GVT

For retention please see Management and Oversight GVT

Establishment and management of partnerships

Meetings - Records of decisions/minutes, agenda and support documentation
Memorandum
Correspondence
Contracts, MOUs

(Please also see Legal Services GVT for IRBV s related to Contracts or MOUs)

10 years after completion or other termination of contract

2. Preliminary Planning (Pertains only to R&D Activities)

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Alignment with research priorities
Selection of problem; approval of solution; assessment of external factors such as political, commercial and financial

Memorandum
Correspondence
Records of decisions/minutes, agenda and support documentation
Approval documentation  
Work plans
Research propositions or grant applications

(Please also see Transfer Payments GVT for all IRBV and retention related to grants and contributions)

10 years after completion of project

Project definition
Preliminary research; consultations; considerations; formulation and preliminary hypothesis

Research notes
Correspondence
Records of decisions/minutes, agenda and support documentation
Wikis/Collaborative Workspaces (debates/discussions between experts/within a scientific community)
Memorandum
Preliminary hypothesis
Preliminary work plans
Bibliography

10 years after completion of project

Research preparation
Planning experiments; establishing procedures; building and testing instruments/devices/programs; developing designs and plans; identifying and compiling sources and resources to be consulted; etc.

Please also see Materiel Services, Real Property Services, and Acquisition Services GVTs for related activities

Blueprints/ Drawings
Research notes
Correspondence
Memorandum
Draft agreements
Work plans
A/V documents
Data/samples
Bibliography
Instruments and devices

Instruments
Log books
Records documenting instrument’s operation and maintenance
Research notes
Records documenting instrument’s building specification, drawings, blueprints, photographs,
research notes, correspondence, work plans, etc.

Printouts from instruments

10 years after completion of project

3. Research and Analysis

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Research, experiment and data analysis  
Tests; data collection; analysis; observations; consultations
Redirection or refocusing of research orientation/ hypothesis

Peer comments
Presentations (decks)
Speeches
Wikis/Collaborative Workspaces (debates/discussions between experts/within a scientific community)
Correspondence and memorandum
Draft agreements / research parameters
Log books
Printouts from instruments
Laboratory/Field Notebooks
Research notes

Data (bound volumes or loose papers; computer printouts, computer disks, printout from instruments; photographs, slides, moving images, etc.) 

Specimen collections

Databases

10 years after completion of project
or
10 years after last action with data set or collection

4. Reporting

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Drafting
Consultation
Presenting results

Draft of reports
Draft of articles or presentation
Wikis/Collaborative Workspaces (debates/discussions between experts/within a scientific community)
Peer comments
Correspondence and memorandum
Preliminary reports
Dissertations
Presentations (decks)
Speeches
Collected and analysed data (photographs; maps; topological surveys; reports; graphs; etc.)

10 years after completion of project

Reporting

Technical reports
Abstracts
Final reports

If published, see sub-sub-activity "Dissemination of Knowledge"

5. Dissemination of Knowledge

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Publication

Unofficial publications (e.g. open access publication) 
Peer comments

(For IRBV please also see Communications GVT for official publications--journal, monographies, report, etc.) 

10 years after publication

Transmission / Presentations

Dissertations
Presentations (decks)
Presentations
Speeches
Abstracts
Newsletters
Web pages
Proceedings from a public conference or event

10 years after completion of activity

6. Information Diffusion

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Limited diffusion
Presentations
Consultations

Presentations (decks)
Speeches
Presentations/ Seminars
Newsletters
Confidentiality agreement
Minutes/summary of meeting
Peer comments

10 years after completion of activity

7. Management of Intellectual Property

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Application to obtain/renew intellectual property

(Please also see Financial Management GVT for IRBV and retention for invoices and receipts)

Any documentation required by or received from CIPO or PBRO relating to the application
Correspondence and memoranda

2 years after the right is granted or application rejected

Managing intellectual property

Any documentation required by or received from CIPO or PBRO which establishes the right

Retain as long as the right is valid

8. Technology Transfer

Business Processes Recommendations: Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV s) Recommendations: Retention Period

Efforts towards the application of a new technology

Correspondence and memorandums
Meetings: Agenda, minutes/records of decisions and support documentation

10 years after last administrative action

Licensing and assignment
Discussion, decision, agreement

(Please also see Legal Services GVT)

Confidentiality / non-disclosure agreements
Interim agreements
Feasibility agreements
Prototype agreements
Licence agreements
Licences
Correspondence and memoranda
Minutes of meetings

As specified in agreements or 10 years after the signature of the final agreement

Technology incubation
Discussion, request/proposal assessment, agreement, follow up

Expression of interest form / request
Correspondence and memoranda
Licence to occupy
Insurance/Evidence of Insurance
Meetings: Agenda, minutes/records of decisions and support documentation
Agreements, contracts
Preliminary reports / activity reports

(For IRBV please also see Legal Services GVT)

As specified in agreements or 10 years after the signature of the final agreement

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