Canadian Tri-Agency Draft Open Access Policy & Consultations: NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR

With Open Access Week next week, there could be no greater open access-related news here in Canada than that the three granting councils are coming together to draft a common Open Access Policy.

Of those agencies (Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council and Canadian Institute of Health Research), the CIHR already has a OA policy in effect. The process will be to first release a draft policy based on the CIHR one and then consult widely in the various communities that are involved and come to an agreement for a new common policy for SSHRC and NSERC. The CIHR policy will not change as part of this process.

And what a welcome development this is. There have been rumblings of this sort of thing for a few years now, but it seemed destined to be one of those things that was more studied that implemented.

I'm including the text of the NSERC announcement below while the SSHRC announcement is here. The actual draft policy is here.

The consultations are running from October 15 to December 13, 2013 with more details below and on the SSHRC page. I am certainly pondering what my feedback will be and I hope interested parties who are reading this will consider contributing as well.

Here goes:

Consultation on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy


Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing knowledge and maximizing the benefits of publicly-funded research for Canadians. As major funders of research and scholarship in the higher education sector, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have a fundamental interest in ensuring that the results of publicly-funded research are broadly disseminated, enabling other researchers as well as policy-makers, private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and the public to use and build on this knowledge.

In keeping with global trends on open access, NSERC and SSHRC (“the Agencies”) are considering a policy that would require federally funded peer-reviewed journal publications to be made freely available within one year of publication. The draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (the “draft policy”) is modeled after the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Open Access Policy, which remains unchanged and continues to be mandatory. Recognizing the benefits of harmonization, the draft policy is aligned with the direction of other international research funding agencies such as those in Australia, the United States, the European Union and United Kingdom.

NSERC and SSHRC have been looking into this issue for some time and recognize that the trend towards open access involves challenges and implications for a broad range of stakeholders. This consultation is intended to foster open communication and sharing of the full range of issues and concerns. Your views and suggestions will help to shape the final form of the policy and how it will be implemented. The Agencies will continue to work closely with stakeholders on appropriate mechanisms to support and facilitate the transition towards open access.


NSERC and SSHRC invite institutions, associations, organizations and individuals to provide input on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (HTML version or PDF version). Institutional and organizational representatives are asked to consult their researchers and membership and report on the collective perspective. Individuals may also respond independently.

Please note that the draft policy is accessible until December 13, at which time the consultation period ends. Responses should be sent electronically to Please indicate the section(s) of the draft policy being referred to, within your written feedback. For more information please consult our Frequently Asked Questions or contact


The Agencies would like to thank the groups and individuals who have provided advice and feedback through the development of the draft policy.

For those that are interested, a few months ago I created a resource page on Open Access in Canada. It's nice to know such things are useful. It's even been linked from the NSERC FAQ page.

More like this

Good point, Barbara. I'm not sure if anyone is doing this yet but I think I'll just start appending responses & submissions to this post.

Any more of them out there?