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Open Access: Funding Agencies

This guide offers basic information on open access.

Open Access Policy of Canadian granting agencies

Starting May 1st, 2015, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) require researchers to publish in open access the articles resulting from research funded by these agencies.

Equally, since 2008, the researchers whose activities are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) must publish their articles in open access.

On February 27, 2015, the NSERC, the SSHRC, and the CIHR published the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. Here are some highlights:

  • The Tri-Agency Policy only applies to articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • The authors have two options to make their articles available in open access within 12 months of publication:

Option 1 (also called the gold road): The article is available free of charge on the journal website. The journal can be an open access journal or a subscription journal that makes some individual articles freely accessible to readers. Although this is often the case, open access journals do not always require a financial contribution from the author in order to publish the article. Several business models exist, yet the articles are always available free of charge to readers.

The policy states that "The cost of publishing in open access journals is an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds."

To find an open access journal, consult the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Option 2 (also called the green road): The authors publish an article in an academic journal and self-archive a copy of the article in an open archive (ex.: or institutional repository (PolyPublie). PolyPublie now includes scientific articles in addition to dissertations and theses. Authors must read their contracts to make sure the respective publisher allows self-archiving. Many publishers do allow archiving of peer-reviewed articles (the final manuscript or the version formatted by the publisher). Some articles can be archived only after the embargo period expires.

     On publishers' websites, look for their policies on archiving in open access.

The Sherpa/Romeo website is a good starting point, because it includes a summary of archiving permissions and links to publishers' policies.

  • Special case: The CIHR grant holders are also required to "deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database and to retain original data sets for a minimum of five years".

For more information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions and Toolbox sections accompanying the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.


About the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

Quebec organisation

In Quebec, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) issued a Policy regarding open access to published research outputs in 2008.

Other policies

International directory of research funders' open access policies: