Past SPARC Policy Priorities

Canadian Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

Open Access

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) — the three largest research funding agencies in Canada — have a coordinated on an open access policy requiring researchers to provide broad public access to articles resulting from their funded research.

The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requires that all peer-reviewed journal articles, funded in whole or in part by the Agencies, must be made publicly available within 12 months of publication.

This policies was developed from the CIHR Open Access policy, which has been in place since 2008, and is the culmination of the 2010 endorsement of Open Access principles by all three agencies. The plan took effect on May 1, 2015.

Specifically, the policy provides two options for compliance:

  • Researchers may deposit peer-reviewed full-text manuscripts into a disciplinary repository (such as Canadian PMC or arXiv) or into an appropriate institutional repository.
  • Researchers may also choose to publish their article directly in a journal that makes the article freely available under Open Access terms, or that makes articles available via Open Access within 12 months of publication. To support this option, the policy indicates that Article Processing Charges will be treated as eligible grant expenses.

The policy underscores that the Agencies do not view these two options as mutually exclusive, and strongly encourages funded researchers to deposit a copy of final, peer-reviewed manuscripts into an accessible online repository immediately upon publication, even if the article is freely available via a journal’s website.

The Tri-Agency Open Access policy applies only to articles, and does not impose any new regulations on access to research data.

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