Is Northology a blog with routinely released content?

No, the intent will not initially be releasing regularly scheduled content. We will position it as an information hub to explore socioeconomic information, policy analysis, and gathered public/citizen perspectives and engagement data. Contributors will focus more on long-term and large-scale research projects released as deep dives. However, we may consider doing “Weekly Roundups” or something along those lines if a contributor is interested in taking that on.

Being an entirely volunteer-driven initiative of private citizens donating their time, energy, and expertise to strengthen civil society and democratic participation, we must also respect our team’s capacity to contribute what they can when they can.

In place of regularly released content to drive an audience, we aim to provide non-profits, journalists, and citizens with a comprehensive library of valuable information, data, and insights that stay up to date, much like Wikipedia does. Our projects intend to create a permanent referential library that will continue to be useful over the long term and also for historical records. We will stray away from specific point-in-time issues or extremely niche issues.

Will Northology seek revenue or profit from its work?

Eventually, Northology will seek limited revenue streams that align with our organizational values to support its research, work, and assets. Things are hella expensive, so we’ll take any help we can to help sustainably fund this initiative. These could include private donations, private or government grants, sponsorships, advertising opportunities, and fee-for-service contract projects.

All revenues received will be directly invested back into the initiative’s needs to cover/reimburse operating expenses, expand our capabilities/assets, acquire access to for-pay data sets or license academic research, and provide honorariums to external experts who provide services to us. Financial reporting will be included in our annual reporting processes and posted for our members, donors, and the public to review to provide full transparency.

Northology was formed to serve the public good directly. It will never become a for-profit organization or pay-wall its content, nor will its founders or staff seek financial gain from our work. Our mission is to democratize access to policy, government, public data, and information for all. To that end, it will also intend to remain a wholly volunteer-driven organization until such a time, if it were ever to come, its Board of Directors determined that it would serve the public interest better by formalizing it into a professionalized non-profit.

Is Northology A Partisan Organization?

Northology will aspire to remain as nonpartisan as possible. A caveat is that we cannot completely remove our contributors’ or researchers’ beliefs or theoretical holdings, as humans are not Vulcans.

A current problem is many who engage in the public, political, and social spheres who adopt the nonpartisan identity largely become more concerned with the perception of whether a finding, a conclusion, or an insight could be construed as tied to an ideology or partisan leaning. This, unfortunately, has overridden the pursuit of truth and paralyzers people into a state of finding the middle and not the facts. In this, we will not claim to be nonpartisan but strive to provide neutrality in our endeavours and follow the evidence to its natural conclusion.

Our aspirations and goals of neutrality are laid out in the following:

  1. High editorial and publication standards will demand and ensure that our research methodologies and policy advocacy are firmly grounded within objective, evidence-based research, and where we do make conclusions from this evidence, we will specifically inform the audience and provide the rationale.
  2. Opinion-based arguments, articles, or advocacy will not be within the scope of our initiative.
  3. For all projects and content, our methodologies will be posted (where appropriate), and we will also provide direct source citations. We will further provide downloadable and machine-readable access to the raw data sets for external review/falsification/testing with all data analysis, dashboards, and applications. In cases of public engagements, they will be anonymized and stripped of any personally identifying data of participants.
  4. For social or economic issues (for example, effects of taxation) that do have multiple perspectives and approaches, we will welcome contributors that can make alternative cases and solutions through methodologies that fit within our ethical and research standards to provide the public with as many sound perspectives as possible. We will not, however, seek to provide “the liberal” and “the conservative” perspectives but instead defer to different testable methodologies and models.
  5. Our analysis and policy advocacy will be derived from and address specific issues, socioeconomic systems, and policy frameworks. We hope to create unique, nuanced insights or recommendations specific to particular problems and thereby filter out ideological biases, typically universal ideals, in searching for any problem they can attach to.
  6. For contributors or researchers who have, or have had, strong partisan affiliations related to their content, these will be clearly stated and noted at the start of the content.
  7. In cases where we may have made a faulty conclusion, mistake, or personal bias seeped into the analysis, we are and will always remain extremely open to feedback, dialogue, and corrective actions.

However, there will be issues and research areas that some will perceive as partisan regardless, simply due to their nature and the current climate of extreme polarization in our political culture. This is particularly true in research or policy recommendations that challenge the status quo and conventional understandings or seek to provide an evidence-based argument towards pure ideological policies. In these cases, we will not hesitate to follow through regardless of offence taken or criticism volleyed by political factions and ideologues who cannot challenge or provide critical analysis our work through empirical methods.

How Can I Get Involved?

Northology has several opportunities that vary in capacity, expertise, and interests for people to get directly involved in our work. On our website, there is a volunteer questionnaire you can fill out that will take some information that will help us assess where you’d be a good fit as well, hopefully, finding a role which you would gain value and enjoyment from. Outside of this, you may contact Brent Colman directly (brent@northology.ca) or contact one of our initiatives committee leads through social media or in-person to discuss further.