Minister Holder Announces New Open Access Policy for Research

News Release

Minister Holder Announces New Open Access Policy for Research

Canadians will have free online access to research funded by NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR

February 27, 2015– Toronto

Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing knowledge and maximizing the impact of publicly-funded research for Canadians. Increased access to the results of publicly-funded research can spur scientific discovery, enable better international collaboration and coordination of research, enhance the engagement of society and support the economy.

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today unveiled  the new policy as part of a wide-ranging speech on the government’s updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy in a speech to the Economic Club in Toronto. The harmonized Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requires all peer-reviewed journal publications funded by one of the three federal granting agencies to be freely available online within 12 months. Canada’s three federal granting agencies are: 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 policy will require NSERC and SSHRC funded researchers to comply with the policy for all grants awarded May 1, 2015 and onward. The policy will not change current compliance requirements for CIHR funded researchers since a similar policy with the same requirements has been in effect since 2008.  

In developing this policy, the three agencies held an online consultation, receiving feedback from over 200 individuals and groups from the research community, institutional libraries, scholarly associations, non-governmental organizations, publishers, and journals. The granting agencies will continue to work closely with stakeholders to support and facilitate the transition towards greater open access.

Quick Facts

  • Open access is the practice of providing free and unrestricted online access to research publications.
  • In keeping with the global movement towards open access, the harmonized policy requires that researchers receiving grants from CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC  make their resulting peer-reviewed journal articles freely available online within 12 months of publication.
  • Researchers can comply with the open access policy in two ways: ‘self-archiving’ by depositing their peer-reviewed manuscript to an online repository that will make the manuscript freely accessible within 12 months of publication; or submitting their manuscript to a journal that offers open access within 12 months of publication.
  • CIHR-funded researchers are also required to deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database immediately upon publication of research results. They must also retain original data sets for a minimum of five years (or longer if other policies apply).
  • Since 2008, SSHRC has invited applications for financial support from open access journals through its Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity. In the 2014 competition, nearly 65% of applicants had an open-access or delayed open-access business model, up from just over 50% in the previous competition.
  • The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications aligns with the objectives of Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government and is a commitment under the updated Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy.

Quotes

“Our government’s updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy demonstrates how we have made the record investments necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians. Building on that record, today’s forward-looking announcement will provide Canadians with free, online access to federally funded research; providing researchers, entrepreneurs, and the wider Canadian public with an increased opportunity to build upon this research in innovative ways that can create social or economic benefits for Canadians.”

--The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“The new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications is a step in the right direction for our research community and Canadians. Open access is good practice and will reinvigorate dialog in scientific publication. This enhanced dissemination of ideas will, maximize the impact of research, and result in knowledge mobilizaton for economic and societal benefit.”

-- B. Mario Pinto, President, NSERC

“I am pleased to see the CIHR Open Access Policy on publications harmonized across the three granting agencies. Joining forces to encourage greater access to results from various research fields will help stimulate collaboration, fuel innovation and speed discoveries. This will ensure the work of Canada’s researchers achieve the greatest impact possible.”

-- Alain Beaudet, President, CIHR

“With this new Open Access policy, the Tri-Agencies are adopting a single, harmonized approach to promoting Canadian research to the world. The policy both reflects and facilitates new forms of collaboration that are a hallmark of scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. It represents a true step forward for the research community.”

--Ted Hewitt, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, SSHRC       

Additional links

Tri-Council Open Access Policy on Publications

Frequently Asked Questions

Toolbox for researchers

Science,Technology and Innovation Strategy

Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government

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About CIHR

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health-care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

About NSERC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the primary funding agency supporting Canada’s science and engineering research community. The agency supports almost 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately 12,000 professors every year, and fosters innovation by working with over 3,000 Canadian companies that are participating and investing in postsecondary research projects.

About SSHRC

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing Talent, generating Insights and forging Connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world. For more information, visit the SSHRC website.

  

Further Information

Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)
343-291-2700

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Tel.: 613-941-4563
mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-943-7618
media@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

David Holton
Communications Advisor
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-0520
David.Holton@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca