Developing a CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs

Developing a CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs

The CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs was recently approved by the CIHR Governing Council.  As a publicly-funded agency, CIHR has a fundamental interest in ensuring that research results are available to the widest possible audience and at the earliest possible opportunity in order to maximize the utility and impact of the research it funds.  This policy aims to increase the diffusion of research publications supported by CIHR, while respecting the freedom of researchers to publish where they deem their research will have its greatest impact.  


In 2005, CIHR initiated the process of developing a research policy that would promote greater access to CIHR supported research outputs, including published results, research data, and research materials.  In April 2006, CIHR established an Advisory Committee on Access to Research Outputs (ACARO) composed of leading health researchers from across the country, representing the full spectrum of health research that CIHR supports.  ACARO have played an important role in this broad national endeavor by providing valuable guidance and advice on research outputs.  ACARO met on several occasions over the course of 2006 and 2007 to discuss and deliberate on issues, including research practices across disciplines as related to publications and publication-related data and materials.  ACARO also looked to the experiences of international research funding agencies.  CIHR’s Policy is a result of extensive dialogue with stakeholders, a broad public consultation, and discussions within the advisory committee.


The development of CIHR’s Policy on Access to Research Outputs included a broad-based and multi-phased consultation with the Canadian health research community.  This consultative process began in April 2006, following the launch of an online survey that was posted on the CIHR website.  CIHR surveyed the health research community and stakeholders on a number of topics related to access to research outputs.  CIHR received many valuable comments and suggestions that played an important role in guiding CIHR, as well as ACARO, discussions.  Feedback was received primarily from researchers; however, library affiliates, journals, research administrators, policymakers, health charities and others also took the time to provide their input.  The results of the survey are summarized in the Access to Outputs of Research - Survey Report.

The development of CIHR’s Policy involved the input from numerous stakeholders, including the Tri-Council’s, National Research Council, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Genome Canada, Health Charities, as well as, international funding agencies.  The Policy development process culminated in the release of a Draft Policy for Public consultation in October 2006.  A summary report of the responses received to the consultation can be found here: CIHR Consultation: Developing a CIHR Access to Research Outputs Policy.  Feedback from this consultation formed the basis for revisions to the Access to Research Outputs Policy.

Policy Implications

This policy applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward, which have received funding in whole or in part from CIHR.  While not required, researchers holding grants that were awarded prior to January 1, 2008 are encouraged to adhere to the requirements of this policy.  The Access to Research Outputs Policy should be read in conjunction with applicable privacy legislation and policies in the jurisdiction(s) where the research is being or has been conducted, as well as with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Human Subjects, Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research, CIHR Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal Peoples, the Food and Drugs Act, and of the Food and Drug Regulations.  The Policy will continue to evolve in accordance with emerging standards and practices in health research and will be reviewed and update this policy on an annual basis or as needed.

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