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Policies and Guidelines

Please visit the This link will take you to another Web site tri-agency open access page to read the new, harmonized This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Open Access

Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

  1. Preamble
  2. Policy Objective
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Application
  5. Policy Scope
  6. Monitoring and Adherence
  7. Additional Information

1. Preamble

The This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the This link will take you to another Web site Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the This link will take you to another Web site Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (“the Agencies”) are federal granting agencies that promote and support research, research training and innovation within Canada. As publicly funded organizations, the Agencies have a fundamental interest in promoting the availability of findings that result from the research they fund, including research publications, to the widest possible audience, and at the earliest possible opportunity. Societal advancement is made possible through widespread and barrier-free access to cutting-edge research and knowledge, enabling researchers, scholars, clinicians, policy-makers, private sector and not-for-profit organizations and the public to use and build on this knowledge.

Information and communications technology, and in particular the advent of the Internet, has transformed the way that science and scholarly research is conducted and communicated. Indicative of this changing landscape has been the steady growth in open access publishing and archiving which facilitate widespread diffusion and free digital access to publications and the latest discoveries. Open access enables researchers to make their research results freely available to the domestic and international research community and to the public at large thereby enhancing the use, application and impact of research results.
The Agencies strongly support open access which promotes the principle of knowledge sharing and mobilization — an essential objective of academia. The importance of open access has been recognized by other research funding agencies worldwide, including the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. National Science Foundation, Research Councils UK, the German Research Foundation (Deutshe Forschungsgemeinschaft), and the European Research Council. As research and scholarship become increasingly multi-disciplinary and collaborative, domestically and internationally, the Agencies are working to facilitate research partnerships by harmonizing domestic policies and aligning with global trends.

The following principles guide the Agencies in promoting open access to research publications:

  • Committing to academic freedom, and the right to publish;
  • Maintaining the high standards and quality of research by committing to academic openness, integrity and ethics;
  • Promoting recognized research best practices and standards across disciplines, and embracing and sharing emerging practices and standards;
  • Advancing academic research, science and innovation;
  • Effective diffusion of research results; and
  • Aligning activities, programs and policies between Canadian and international research funding agencies.

2. Policy Objective

The objective of this policy is to improve access to the published results of research funded by the Agencies, and to increase the dissemination and exchange of research results.

3. Policy Statement

3.1 Peer-reviewed Journal Publications

Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication, either through the publisher's website (Option #1) or an online repository (Option #2).

Option #1: Grant recipients submit their manuscript to a journal that offers immediate open access to published articles, or offers open access to published articles within 12 months.

The Agencies consider the cost of publishing in open access journals to be an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds.

Option #2: Grant recipients archive the final peer-reviewed full-text manuscript in a digital archive where it will be freely accessible within 12 months (e.g., institutional repository or discipline-based repository). It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to determine which publishers allow authors to retain copyright and/or allow authors to archive journal publications in accordance with funding agency policies.

Grant recipients must acknowledge Agency contributions in all peer-reviewed publications, quoting the funding reference number.

3.2 Publication-related Research Data

CIHR only

Recipients of CIHR funding are required to adhere with the following responsibilities:
  • deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database (e.g. gene sequences deposited in GenBank) immediately upon publication of research results;
  • retain original data sets for a minimum of five years (or longer if other policies apply).

For further information, grant recipients should refer to the specific requirements in the This link will take you to another Web site CIHR Open Access Policy.

4. Application


For research funded in whole or in part by CIHR, this policy applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward. While not required, researchers holding grants that were awarded prior to January 1, 2008 are encouraged to adhere to the requirements of this policy.


Note: The implementation date of this policy is still to be confirmed, however, the Agencies are proposing September 1, 2014, subject to the results of the consultation.

5. Policy Scope

This policy applies only to peer-reviewed journal publications. Book chapters, reports, monographs, editorials, or conference proceedings arising from Agency-funded research are not currently covered under this policy.

6. Monitoring and Adherence

Grant recipients are reminded that by accepting Agency funds they have accepted the terms and conditions of the grant or award as set out in the Agencies’ policies and guidelines. In the event of an alleged breach of Agency policy, the Agency may take steps outlined in accordance with the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research to deal with the allegation.

7. Additional Information

Various resources are available to assist researchers in complying with this policy.

  1. Information on publicly available archives or repositories in which researchers can deposit journal publications is available on the following Web sites:

  2. A list of funds available from Canadian universities that assist authors in making their publications open access, can be found at the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Association of Research Libraries Web site.

  3. Further information regarding how to comply with the open access policy can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions.