8. Office of the Chief Information Officer – Knowledge and Information Services Branch

The Bridge and EBSCO Pilot – Improving access to explicit knowledge assets to support evidence-informed policy and decision-making

The Context

The Knowledge and Information Services Branch (KIS) in the Office of the Chief Information Officer is promoting the development of ‘evidence-informed policy and decision making’ across the B.C. Government. Explicit knowledge assets like academic and government research along with the know-how of skilled policy analysts play an important role in the development of public policy. Quick access to these knowledge assets can help policy analysts define a particular problem, identify the type of interventions that have been successful and develop attainable solutions.

The Challenge

The challenge for the B.C. Government is in supporting policy analysts and decision makers alike in having quick and easy access to the valuable knowledge assets available both within and external to the public service. For example, policy makers have limited access to academic research to inform policy. In addition, explicit knowledge assets developed by government, such as program evaluations and research/policy papers, may only be accessible to a particular program area or Ministry. Both of these limitations can create barriers and inefficiencies in the development of evidence-informed policy.

The Practice

It was recognized that facilitating the sharing of research and policy papers on particular issues across organizational boundaries would have benefits. These benefits include reducing duplication of cost and effort, as well as enhancing the speed at which evidence is available for policy-making. To support more evidence informed policy the KIS branch has developed The Bridge (a government-wide on-line knowledge base to support access to knowledge assets critical to good policy making).

The purpose of the Bridge is to link policy-related publications and organizations on issues that have a significant impact on citizens and the Province. The Bridge includes a collection of resources for evidence-informed policy. It links to research organizations and notices of policy-related upcoming events, as well as to research articles including scoping reviews and other research and decision support information and resources.

It also acts as a gateway to an assortment of corporate subscriptions, including the EBSCO Academic Search Premier pilot subscription. This pilot subscription provides access to a large, full-text database including nearly 3,500 scholarly publications and approximately 2,600 peer-reviewed publications on a range of topics from the humanities to social and medical science. A corporate approach that will enable permanent access to this valuable resource for evidence-informed decision making is currently underway.