CIHR Open Access Policy - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does the CIHR Open Access Policy say about publications?
  2. Why is open access important?
  3. To which grants does this policy apply?
  4. Who is responsible for ensuring that a publication is freely accessible online?
  5. How do I know if a journal is open access?
  6. If required, how do I pay open access publishing fees? (i.e. article processing charges)
  7. Where can I archive my publications?
  8. What is PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada)?
  9. What is PubMed Central?
  10. What types of research papers does PubMed Central Canada accept?
  11. I understand that some journals already deposit research papers in PubMed Central Canada. Do I still need to deposit my peer-reviewed manuscript?
  12. Can research papers that have been written in French be deposited into PubMed Central Canada?
  13. What is an institutional repository?
  14. What version and format of my paper must be deposited in these publication archives?
  15. Can I archive the published version (i.e. PDF)?
  16. When do I archive my peer reviewed manuscript?
  17. How do I retain copyright of my research paper?
  18. Do I have to archive papers published before January 1st, 2008?
  19. Do the open access requirements within the Open Access Policy apply to CIHR training and salary awards?
  20. What are some examples of data that must now be deposited into public databases?
  21. What data does not have to be archived under this new policy?
  22. What is a Funding Reference Number (FRN)?
  23. How will CIHR ensure that research publications are open access within 12 months?
  24. Who can I contact for more information?
  25. I am not familiar with open access. Do you have a list of websites and resources that might be helpful?

1. What does the CIHR Open Access Policy say about publications?

Researchers awarded funding from CIHR are required to ensure that all research papers generated from CIHR funded projects are freely accessible through the Publisher's website or an online repository within 12 months of publication.

2. Why is open access important?

CIHR supports health research and its translation to improve the health of Canadians and strengthen the health system. In order to achieve this objective, CIHR-supported research evidence must be available to researchers, trainees, health care providers, educators, policy makers and Canadians in a timely fashion. Growing evidence demonstrates that open access articles are cited more frequently than non-open access journal articles1 2. Such widespread diffusion and utilization of peer-reviewed research papers only serves to enhance the impact of CIHR-supported health research.

3. To which grants does this policy apply?

Updates to the policy took effect on January 1, 2013 and apply to all active CIHR grants awarded after January 1st, 2008.

4. Who is responsible for ensuring that a publication is freely accessible online?

The nominated principal investigator (NPI) is responsible for ensuring adherence with CIHR policy. However, it is acceptable for the NPI to designate a co-author to ensure that manuscripts have been archived in a timely manner.

5. How do I know if a journal is open access?

The SHERPA/RoMEO database is a useful resource for locating a publisher's copyright policies. However, it is recommended that you verify journal copyright policies by contacting the editorial staff directly. There are more than 3000 open access scientific and scholarly journals, which publish articles that are freely available for users throughout the world. A directory of open access journals can be found on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) website.

The following is a list of some of Canadian institutional repositories that are also open access: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, International Development Research Centre, Université Laval, University of Lethbridge, University of Manitoba, McGill University, McMaster University, Université de Montréal, University of New Brunswick, University of Prince Edward Island, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Saskatchewan, Queen's University, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario, University of Windsor, University of Winnipeg, York University.

6. If required, how do I pay open access publishing fees? (i.e. article processing charges)

As stated in the section titled Use of Grant Funds of the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC) Financial Guide, eligible expenses for the dissemination of research results include page charges for articles published. Consistent with CIHR's Grants and Awards Guide, funds can be used to cover any reasonable fee that an open access or hybrid journal may charge to evaluate submissions or publish accepted articles.

7. Where can I archive my publications?

CIHR encourages authors to deposit their publications into PMC Canada, a stable and permanent online digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed research publications in health and life sciences. PMC Canada builds on PubMed Central (PMC), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature and is a member of the broader PMC International (PMCI) network of e-repositories. Furthermore, PubMed, PMC, and GenBank are just three of a suite of more than 25 such information resources that can be searched through the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI) Entrez, The Life Sciences Search Engine. It has become an integral resource for the health and life sciences research communities.

The following is a list of some of Canadian institutional repositories that are also open access: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, International Development Research Centre, Université Laval, University of Lethbridge, University of Manitoba, McGill University, McMaster University, Université de Montréal, University of New Brunswick, University of Prince Edward Island, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Saskatchewan, Queen's University, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario, University of Windsor, University of Winnipeg, York University.

8. What is PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada)?

PMC Canada is a national web-based repository of health sciences literature. CIHR has partnered with the National Research Council’s National Science Library in the creation of PMC Canada to develop a stable, permanent, and freely accessible digital archive of the full text of peer-reviewed research publications arising from research funded by CIHR.

PMC Canada is a part of the PubMed Central International network - a starting point for exploring Canadian health research. This network allows national versions of PMC to share content; the vast majority of US PMC and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) content will therefore also be available through PMC Canada. The development of PMC Canada follows several stages, beginning first with the addition of a basic bilingual interface for PMC Canada. Authors have the option to deposit their CIHR-funded articles into PMC Canada and those articles automatically become part of the US and UK PMC repositories. An advisory committee consisting of Canadian health researchers and other stakeholders will guide the future development of PMC Canada.

9. What is PubMed Central?

PubMed Central (PMC) is the NIH digital repository of full-text, peer-reviewed biomedical, behavioural, and clinical research journals. It is a publicly-accessible, stable, permanent, and searchable electronic archive. PubMed Central was developed and is operated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. More information can be found on PubMed Central's website.

10. What types of research papers does PubMed Central Canada accept?

PubMed Central Canada accepts only peer reviewed journal publications from the biomedical and life sciences fields. PubMed Central's homepage contains links to a Quick Guide that provides detailed information on submitting manuscripts. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section on PMC Canada's website that may contain useful information for grant recipients.

11. I understand that some journals already deposit research papers in PubMed Central Canada. Do I still need to deposit my peer-reviewed manuscript?

It is true that many publishers voluntarily deposit journal content into PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada). Please refer to the PMC Journal list to see if your journal of choice deposits content into PMC. If you see "Immediate" or "After 12 months" next to your journal then you do not need to deposit your manuscript.

12. Can research papers that have been written in French be deposited into PubMed Central Canada?

At this time, PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) contains primarily English content; however some journals that deposit content into PMC Canada, such as the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), publish articles in French and English. In this case, only the English material appears in PMC's primary presentation of an article - the HTML full-text display. However, the journal's PDF version of the article, which is also available on PMC Canada, may contain material in French as well as English.

Additionally, CIHR supported researchers looking to archive French research papers may wish to consider their Institutional Repository (see question 13 for more information).

13. What is an institutional repository?

An institutional repository (IR) is a digital collection of a university's intellectual output. Institutional repositories centralize, preserve, and make accessible the knowledge generated by academic institutions. Please visit the Canadian Association of Research Libraries Institutional Repository Project: Online Resource Portal for more information.

14. What version and format of my paper must be deposited in these publication archives?

If an article isn't already open access through the journal website, the author(s) must archive the full text version permissible for deposit by the publisher. You can discover your publisher’s self-archiving policy by consulting the following sources:

  1. The journal’s website (or by contacting its editorial staff);
  2. The SHERPA RoMEO website

Please note that SHERPA RoMEO summaries are for the journal's default policies, and changes or exceptions can often be negotiated by authors.

Furthermore, the final full text peer reviewed manuscript must include all tables, figures, images, appendices and any supplemental information.

Prior to deposition, grant recipients should review the PMC Canada journal list, which comprises journals that automatically deposit published articles in PMC Canada on a routine basis. Some journals deposit their entire published contents into PMC Canada upon publication, thus authors of articles in these journals do not need to archive their peer reviewed manuscripts. Authors are also reminded to refer to the publishing policy of the journal of choice.

15. Can I archive the published version (i.e. PDF)?

Yes. CIHR would prefer if grant recipients archived the published version or PDF paper. However, this practice will often depend on publisher policies. If you are not sure, consult the journals website or contact the editorial staff.

16. When do I archive my peer reviewed manuscript?

CIHR grant recipients are encouraged to deposit the final peer-reviewed full text manuscript immediately upon publication. However, grant recipients may delay open access to the manuscript to abide by publisher embargo periods, but this delay must be no longer than 12 months following the publication date.

Grant recipients can find a summary of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving in the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

17. How do I retain copyright of my research paper?

CIHR encourages grant recipients to publish in journals that are open access or permit authors to deposit their peer-reviewed manuscript in an open access archive, such as PMC Canada.

For journals that do not allow archiving of peer-reviewed manuscripts, CIHR encourages authors to retain key rights through the use of a publication addendum or by inserting the following text into the publishing agreement:

Journal acknowledges that the researcher will be entitled to deposit an electronic copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript for inclusion in PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada), and for this manuscript to be mirrored to PMC and all PMC International sites. Manuscripts deposited with PMC Canada (and PMC and PMC International sites) may be made freely available to the public, via the internet, within 12 months of the official date of final publication in the journal.

18. Do I have to archive papers published before January 1st, 2008?

CIHR encourages but does not require grant recipients to archive articles published before January 1st, 2008. Grant recipients are only required to archive papers that are based on grants awarded after January 1st, 2008. See Q.3 for more information.

19. Do the open access requirements within the Open Access Policy apply to CIHR training and salary awards?

At this time, the open access requirements apply to CIHR Grant programs (i.e. research projects) and not our training and salary awards.

We recognize that training and salary awards may support research publication, however most awards are not designed to fund research projects or dissemination activities. As such, researchers and trainees who publish while holding a CIHR salary/training award do not have to adhere with the open access requirements unless the research being published was funded by a CIHR grant.

CIHR does however, encourage CIHR researchers and trainees to consider archiving all their research papers in open access repositories, including PubMed Central Canada in order to increase the dissemination of research findings.

20. What are some examples of data that must now be deposited into public databases?

Examples of data that should be deposited into public databases includes: genomic data, DNA sequences, protein structures, protein sequences, protein interaction data, nucleic acid structures, nucleic acid behaviours, factors and motifs, plasmids, atomic coordinates, and molecular interaction data. A sample of public databases and archives, including their web sites, is provided in the annex accompanying the Open Access Policy.

21. What data does not have to be archived under this new policy?

Research data sets that do not have to be archived include: personal or sensitive data, administrative, clinical, and longitudinal data. Data that can be archived is biomedical data that is typically archived in a public database. See Q. 20 for more information.

22. What is a Funding Reference Number (FRN)?

The Funding Reference Number is a number that identifies unique research grant. You can find this number in the letter sent to you from CIHR that acknowledges your successful grant application. When acknowledging CIHR support in peer-reviewed publications you are required to cite this number.

23. How will CIHR ensure that research publications are open access within 12 months?

We believe that many researchers are already adhering to the spirit of this policy given the growing number of high-impact open access journals combined with the fact that a large number of journals make their content freely available after a 12 month embargo. Researchers are reminded that when accepting CIHR funds they have agreed to the terms and conditions of the grant as set out in the Agency's policies and guidelines. CIHR may take steps outlined in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct Of Research to address adherence issues.

This policy has been integrated into CIHR's new Research Reporting System (RRS), which was developed by our Evaluation and Analysis Branch. The RRS is intended to systematically collect, synthesize and report on research results following the end of the grant. Through this process researchers are being asked to provide the URL (uniform resource locator) or DOI (digital object identifier) linking to the full-text publication as well as reasons why publications are not open access. CIHR may also cross reference the unique funding reference number (See Q. 22) with MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database.

24. Who can I contact for more information?

For further information, please contact access@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

25. I am not familiar with open access. Do you have a list of websites and resources that might be helpful?

  • Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) - Institutional Repository Program
  • CARL/SPARC Canadian Author Addendum - A tool for authors in Canada to retain key rights to the journal articles they publish.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals - A comprehensive list of free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals.
  • Open Access: A SPARC Brochure - Makes the case for the open access model of scholarly communication and how it benefits authors, readers, teachers, scholars, and scientists.
  • Open Access Overview - Peter Suber offers a brilliant overview of open access to scholarly research.
  • OpenDOAR - Directory of academic open access repositories
  • Public Library of Science - A nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.
  • PubMedCentral Canada - A free digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature based on PubMed Central, the archive developed by the US National Library of Medicine.
  • PubMed Central - U.S. National Library of Medicine's digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, providing free access to the full text of articles.
  • Science Commons, Scholar's Copyright Project - Offers a spectrum of tools and resources catering to both methods of achieving Open Access.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO - Provides a searchable database of publisher policies on copyright and archiving
  • SHERPA/JULIET - Summaries of research funder open access policies.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Eysenbach G. Citation advantage of open access articles. PLoS Biol. 2006;4 : e157.

1

Footnote 2

Lawrence, S. (2001) Online or Invisible? Nature 411 (6837) : 521.

2