Granting councils adopt CIHR policy for on-line publishing of publicly funded research

Mark Henderson
March 13, 2015

Researchers across all disciplines are now required to make their publicly funded research results publicly available within 12 months of appearing in peer reviewed journals. The new Tri-Council Open Access Policy on Publications marks the first time all three granting councils will operate under the same rules.

In the works for nearly two years, the new policy essentially extends the publications policy adopted in 2008 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). It makes open access publication fees an eligible expense allowing researchers to pay for publication with their grant funding.

The requirement of free and unrestricted access to research publications is considered a key step forward for the dissemination of publicly funded research in Canada and complements the federal government's recently adopted Open Government policy.

While the requirements for open access are now uniform across all three granting councils, CIHR-funded researchers will continue to be tasked with depositing additional information (bioinformatics, atomic and molecular coordinating data) simultaneously with the publication of research results.

The new policy replaces the 2010 Access to Research Results: Guiding Principles policy and incorporates findings gained through the Comprehensive Brief on Open Access to Publications and Research Data, which was commissioned in 2012.

Researchers can publish in two ways. They can self archive by depositing their manuscripts to an online repository making them accessible within 12 months of publication, or they can submit them within a year of publication to an journal offering open access .

With the new policy, Canada joins the growing movement towards open access publication, prompted in part by high subscription fees charged by scholarly publishers. However, there is also concern over the growing number of bogus and low-quality on-line repositories that often charge high article-processing fees.

A recent article in Science Magazine found an "emerging Wild West in academic publishing" with as many as 150 open access journals accepting a bogus article on cancer research for publication.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has developed an "adoptive repository" for use by researchers whose institutions provide digital repository services.


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