Co-production of Knowledge


Supporting Co-production of Knowledge at the NNA-CO

The co-production of knowledge is increasingly referenced as a best practice approach to collaborative, transdisciplinary, action-oriented research in the Arctic and beyond. Co-production of knowledge is a collaborative and equitable process that brings different knowledge systems and methodologies together in a holistic view to address research, policy, and management interests. In the Arctic, co-production most often refers to processes that support synergistic roles for Indigenous knowledge holders and conventional scientists based on principles of equity, reciprocity and commitment to relationship building. The NNA-CO will build capacity within the NNA research community to recognize and practice meaningful engagement and partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities.

In support of this objective, the NNA-CO will undertake several key activities. The first is to develop a training for initiating, designing and implementing collaborative research with Arctic Indigenous communities. The training will provide practical information for future NNA project proposers such as how and when to engage Tribal institutions, how to establish community-led data sharing agreements, and how to identify and address cultural barriers, power imbalances, compensation, and logistical and financial constraints. A second activity is the creation of a culturally appropriate curriculum to advance collaborative and community-based Arctic research. NNA researchers will be invited to contribute guest lectures and content to the course, which will be developed for online instruction through Alaska Pacific University and in cooperation with the University of the Arctic. Finally, the NNA-CO will establish mechanisms for Indigenous communities to share their research interests and needs with NNA scientists by partnering with Indigenous-led organizations and hosting regular engagement opportunities at meetings and conferences that draw both researchers and Indigenous participants. Research-community connections will be communicated through a quarterly podcast series that will be made available online and to rural Alaska communities in partnership with Indian Country Today, which has their Alaska bureau hosted at APU.


Co-production of Knowledge at the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) identifies co-production of knowledge as “the integration of different knowledge systems and methodologies to systematically understand the phenomena, systems, and processes being studied in a research project. In the Arctic, this often takes the form of Indigenous Knowledge holders and scientists working closely together to address shared research questions, pursue shared methodologies, and agree upon appropriate outreach and data sharing activities. A co-produced approach includes research in which local and Indigenous peoples and organizations fully engage in the complete research process from the development of research questions, to the collection, use and stewardship of data, and interpretation and application of results.” 

NSF recommends that Principal Investigators (PIs) begin outreach to potential community collaborators well in advance of the deadline for a proposal submission, and points PIs to the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.

NSF’s web page on Local and Community Engagement and the Co-Production of Knowledge in NSF-Funded Arctic Science and Research points to examples of community engagement, relevant funding opportunities, and resources. The NSF solicitation focusing on ethical and responsible research (ER2) supports research that addresses the questions: “What constitutes responsible conduct for research (RCR), and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?” Research funded through this program may offer insights relevant to the co-production of knowledge in the Arctic.


Indigenous Community Protocols & Resources for Co-Production of Knowledge Research 

The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee provides a Northern Communities Strategic Document Synthesis Narrative  that contains Arctic research priorities and needs identified in public facing, community generated strategic documents, implementation plans, workshop reports or comment letters. The synthesis is a resource aid, not a definitive guide, and contains several documents pertaining to the co-production of knowledge processes in Arctic research (pages 5-7). 

The Arctic Research Consortium Office of the United States hosts a Northern Research with Arctic Communities resource page that includes documents with recommendations, best practices, or approaches to fostering respectful relationships between researchers and community members. 


Co-production Frameworks and Methodologies

A framework for co-production of knowledge in the context of Arctic research
Ellam Yua, Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Raychelle Aluaq Daniel, Carolina Behe

This paper argues that systemic changes are needed to support equitable participation of Arctic Indigenous peoples in research and offers a framework for co-production that can help researchers, decision-makers, and communities orient their work towards equitable and collaborative research.

Indigenous Knowledge
Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)

This definition of Indigenous Knowledge also includes concepts to support its meaningful use together with scientific knowledge. Although it focuses on the work of the Arctic Council, these concepts are broadly relevant. 

Weaving Indigenous science, protocols and sustainability science
Whyte, K. P., J. P. Brewer, and J. T. Johnson

The authors reflect on Indigenous protocols that include caretaking and stewardship based on an ethic of relationship. They explore these protocols as they manifest in two Indigenous-led sustainability initiatives in the Great Lakes/Midwest North America and discuss implications for dialogue between Indigenous and sustainability sciences.

Equitable Arctic Research: A Guide for Innovation
Itchuaqiyaq, C.U.

The author, an Iñupiaq scholar from NW Alaska, introduces 10 tactics that researchers can enact to support equitable Arctic research with Indigenous communities.

Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement
Inuit Circumpolar Council

This document introduces protocols for equitable and ethical engagement of Inuit communities that were developed by the Inuit Circumpolar Council through consultation with Inuit from across Inuit Nunaat (Inuit homelands in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Chukotka, Russia).

Making room and moving over: knowledge co-production, Indigenous knowledge sovereignty and the politics of global environmental change decision-making
Latulippe, N., and N. Klenk

This article explains why efforts to “integrate” Indigenous knowledge into global change research and/or engage Indigenous peoples as “stakeholders” instead of self-determining nations fall short of what is required to practice co-production. They emphasize the interconnectedness of knowledge and governance and the importance of recognizing Indigenous governance within global change research.

Framing co-productive conservation in partnership with Arctic Indigenous peoples
Victoria Qutuuq Buschman

This article, written by an Iñupiaq scholar, introduces the concept of co-productive conservation that encompasses both the co-production of knowledge and the co-production of public services to address biodiversity conservation in a way that upholds Indigenous knowledge, rights, and livelihoods.

Siku-Inuit-Hila: The dynamics of human-sea ice relationships: Comparing Changing environments in Alaska, Nunavut, and Greenland
Holm, L.K. and Coauthors

This chapter describes a project to exchange and compare knowledge of sea ice involving community members and sea ice experts from Kangiqtugaapik in Nunavut, Qaanaaq in Greenland and Utqiagvik in Alaska. It emphasizes the importance of shared, mutual experiences in the field to support personal connections between Indigenous peoples and scientists.

‘Boundary spanners’: A critical role for enduring collaborations between Indigenous communities and mainstream scientists
Hatch, M., and Coauthors

This article highlights the important role of boundary spanners who are individuals with knowledge of both the Indigenous community context and mainstream science. The authors describe the characteristics of boundary spanners and explore attributes of successful partnerships, providing recommendations for how to better support boundary spanners. 

A global assessment of Indigenous community engagement in climate research
David-Chavez, D. M., and M. C. Gavin

This article presents results of a systematic review of levels of Indigenous community participation and decision-making at different stages of the research process. The authors conclude that the majority of research on climate change practices an extractive model with little involvement of Indigenous community members. They develop indicators for assessing the level of Indigenous participation in climate change research.

Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge
Office of Science & Technology Policy/Council on Environmental Quality

The first US government-wide guidance on recognizing and including Indigenous Knowledge in Federal research, policy, and decision making.

Shaping Arctic’s Tomorrow through Indigenous Knowledge Engagement and Knowledge Co-Production
Degai, T., and Coauthors

This perspective piece characterizes the state-of-the-art and guidance for further advancement of Indigenous Knowledge and knowledge co-production in the Arctic. It identifies existing challenges and provides specific recommendations for researchers, Indigenous communities, and funding agencies on meaningful recognition and engagement of Indigenous Knowledge systems.

Indigenous participation in peer review publications and the editorial process: Reflections from a workshop
Loseto, L., and Coauthors

This paper draws on discussions from a workshop on Indigenous involvement in the peer review and editorial process, and highlights the lack of space for Indigenous participation in these processes as they are currently implemented. The authors suggest concrete actions that can be taken to address the issue and also point to the importance of addressing equity throughout all stages of research.

Methodological sensitivities for co-producing knowledge through enduring trustful partnerships
Greenaway, A., H. Hohaia, E. Le Heron, R. Le Heron, A. Grant, G. Diprose, N. Kirk, and W. Allen

The authors of this article reflect on co-production efforts in Aotearoa New Zealand, describing the learning process for non-Maori to address power asymmetries and learn to be manuhiri (those being welcomed on arrival to a place by the Indigenous people of that place). The authors contribute a set of “methodological sensitivities” to support co-production.