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Policies and Guidelines

Open Access

Consultation on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

Open Access Consultation Results Now Available

Last fall, NSERC and SSHRC held an online consultation on a Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy. We received 201 submissions from various individuals and groups from the research community, institutional libraries, scholarly associations, non-governmental organizations, publishers, and journals.  

Overall, the consultation revealed strong support for the principle of making the published results of Agency-supported research publicly available. There were a number of common themes raised in the responses, including the following:

  • Many respondents commented that the policy could influence where they publish and subsequently, could have an impact on their research careers. 
  • The majority of researchers commented that the policy would impact their grant funds if they would be required to pay for publishing in open access journals.
  • Depending on respondents’ discipline or sector, some felt that the 12-month embargo period was too short while others felt it was too long.
  • Respondents commented that the policy could have implications for the sustainability of journals and scholarly associations.
  • Some respondents suggested expanding the policy’s scope to include other types of research results such as research data and monographs.
  • Several respondents mentioned the importance of optimizing repository systems to ensure that papers are easily searchable and accessible.
  • A few respondents questioned how compliance with the policy would be monitored. 

You can view the full report of the summary of the consultation results, which reflects the feedback we received. 

We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback. The final version of the Open Access Policy will be announced soon.

Please send any questions or comments to


Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing knowledge and maximizing the benefits of publicly-funded research for Canadians. As major funders of research and scholarship in the higher education sector, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have a fundamental interest in ensuring that the results of publicly-funded research are broadly disseminated, enabling other researchers as well as policy-makers, private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and the public to use and build on this knowledge.

In keeping with global trends on open access, NSERC and SSHRC (“the Agencies”) are considering a policy that would require federally funded peer-reviewed journal publications to be made freely available within one year of publication. The draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (the “draft policy”) is modeled after the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Open Access Policy, which remains unchanged and continues to be mandatory. Recognizing the benefits of harmonization, the draft policy is aligned with the direction of other international research funding agencies such as those in This link will take you to another Web site Australia, the This link will take you to another Web site United States, the This link will take you to another Web site European Union and the This link will take you to another Web site United Kingdom.

NSERC and SSHRC have been looking into this issue for some time and recognize that the trend towards open access involves challenges and implications for a broad range of stakeholders. This consultation is intended to foster open communication and sharing of the full range of issues and concerns. Your views and suggestions will help to shape the final form of the policy and how it will be implemented. The Agencies will continue to work closely with stakeholders on appropriate mechanisms to support and facilitate the transition towards open access.


NSERC and SSHRC invite institutions, associations, organizations and individuals to provide input on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (HTML version or PDF version). Institutional and organizational representatives are asked to consult their researchers and membership and report on the collective perspective. Individuals may also respond independently.

Please note that the draft policy is accessible until December 13, at which time the consultation period ends. Responses should be sent electronically to Please indicate the section(s) of the draft policy being referred to, within your written feedback. For more information please consult our Frequently Asked Questions or contact


The Agencies would like to thank the groups and individuals who have provided advice and feedback through the development of the draft policy.

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