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Open Access

Open access policies by funding agencies in Canada and Quebec


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 accessOn February 27, 2015, the NSERC, the SSHRC, and the CIHR published the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Here are some highlights of this open access policy:

  • It only applies to articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Articles resulting from research funded by the agencies should be made available in open access within 12 months of their publication date.
  • The authors have two options to make their articles available in open access:

Option 1 (also called the gold road): The article is available free of charge on the journal’s website. The journal can be an open access journal or a subscription journal that makes some individual articles freely accessible to the readers (these are commonly known as hybrid journals). Although this is often the case, open access journals do not always require a financial contribution from the authors in order to publish an article. Several business models exist, yet the articles are always available free of charge to readers. To find an open access journal, consult the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). As for hybrid journals, the authors usually pay to make an article available in open access. However, libraries often have to maintain their subscription to hybrid journals, so the community still have access to all of the published articles.

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

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 (ex.: PolyPublie). Many publishers do allow archiving of peer-reviewed articles (the final manuscript or the version formatted by the publisher), generally only after the embargo period expires. Authors must read their contracts, or the guidelines typically published in an editor's website, to be learn about the publisher's self-archiving conditions. The Sherpa/Romeo website is a good starting point, because it includes a summary of archiving permissions and links to publishers' policies. As for articles submitted to PolyPublie by Polytechnique authors, the Library will validate self-archiving conditions and required embargos.

  • 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". It is possible to use Polytechnique's Borealis repository (Dataverse) to deposit this type of data. For more information on this repository, consult our Research Data guide.

Please note that the Tri-Agency announced a revision of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications in July 2023, with the updated policy expected by the end of 2025. Their goal is that all peer-reviewed journal publications resulting from research funded by the CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC will be required to be available in Open Access immediately upon publication (no embargo).

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


Since April 1st, 2019, all researchers receiving funding from the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) must publish in open access the articles resulting from it. A first version of the FRQ's Open Access Dissemination Policy has been published on April 15, 2019. However, on June 1, 2021, the FRQ announced that they had joined the cOAlition S consortium and adhered to Plan S, which requires an immediate open access to scientific publications resulting from funded research.

In June 2022, the FRQ published a revised Open Access Dissemination Policy that takes into account the implementation of Plan S. It is stated that articles resulting from projects funded by FRQ awards or by competitions launched on or after July 1, 2022 (sometimes later for certain FRQ infrastructure grants) must be available in open access immediately upon publication, without any embargo. Under these circumstances, submitting an article to PolyPublie does not comply with this Policy if an embargo period is required by the journal's publisher.

In addition, processing and dissemination costs for peer-reviewed publications that are made open access may be considered eligible expenses when "the journal charges a subscription fee but is recognized as a “transformative journal” by cOAlition S" or when "the journal charges a subscription fee under a “transformative agreement” documented by cOAlition S". Eligible expenses are described in Section 8.9 of the FRQ's Common General Rules.

For more information on the FRQ's Open Access Dissemination Policy, please consult the Open Science section on their website (in French only).

For further assistance with open access publishing, please contact the Library at 

About the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

Other policies

International directory of research funders' open access policies:


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