Require Open Access to Results of Research Funded by Canadian Taxpayer

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Soumis par hgmorrison 2010–07–13 11:04:46 HAE
Thème(s) : Le contenu numérique canadien

In brief, our recommendation is that Canada establish a policy at the federal level requiring open access to the published results of research funded by Canadian taxpayers. This simple policy directive would act as a stimulus to innovation throughout the economy and society, by making the results of the latest research readily accessible to everyone, from the researcher to the entrepreneur to the professional to the social worker to the interested member of the public, thus facilitating knowledge transfer, increasing the probability of evidence–based decision–making throughout society, and ensuring maximum benefit from the taxpayer dollar.

This is an updated version of this submission, reflecting additional signatures.


Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this consultation. We recommend that Canada develop a policy requiring open access to federally funded Canadian scholarship, i.e. research funded by the research granting councils CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC, and NRC. This policy would ensure taxpayer access to taxpayer–funded research, maximum impact of taxpayer–funded research, bring Canadian policy into line with international policy developments, and appropriately secure a place for Canada as a leader in this important area of innovation.

The policy that is needed is for researchers funded by federal granting agencies to be required to deposit, in their institution's open access repository, a copy of the author's final manuscript of all published peer–reviewed articles arising from federally funded research. In addition, researchers should be encouraged to do the same with their research data (while ensuring that confidentiality / anonymity of research subjects is maintained), as well as with other works, such as monographs and creative works, wherever possible. In 2008, CIHR adopted a Policy on Access to Research Outputs, which is in many ways an exemplary policy, although there is a loophole to be addressed, as it allows for opt–out based on publisher copyright policies. This is neither justified nor necessary. While the contributions of professional publishers are very valuable, the published article reflects the contributions of many parties, including the Canadian taxpayer, the authors, their institutions, the voluntary peer reviewers, and often human subjects as well. No one contributor to the process should have exclusive rights to the final report; an open access requirement is reasonable and fair to all. Publisher copyright policies are evolving to accommodate the many open access policies already in place.

Funded researchers should be required to deposit a copy of their final peer–reviewed manuscript immediately on acceptance for publication, with access to the deposit set as open access immediately, or after a minimum delay to accommodate publishers, (e.g. 6 months as allowed in the CIHR policy). The locus of deposit should be an appropriate open access repository; by default, the author's institutional repository. Cross–deposits from institutional to central repositories (such as PubMedCentral Canada, as mandated by CIHR) can then be done automatically by software.

SSHRC endorsed open access in principle in 2004, and has done good work to ensure that open access journals are not disadvantaged in the SSRHC journal funding program, but it has not yet mandated open access for the research it funds; federal leadership appears to be key to setting open access policy. This policy development would align well with initiatives in the U.K., where all federal research granting councils already have policies requiring open access, and the U.S., where the Federal Research Public Access Act is currently under discussion in the House and the Senate, as well as many other countries. While support for infrastructure to support this policy development would be most appreciated, we would like to point out that, given the current fiscal situation, the simple no–cost step of requiring open access deposit would have tremendous impact in advancing the effectiveness and dissemination of Canadian research.

Taxpayer rights: research funded by the Canadian federal research granting councils is funded by the Canadian taxpayers (both individuals and businesses). It is the right of taxpayers to access the results of this research, and to demand effective use of taxpayer resources. This is best accomplished by full open access to Canadian funded research to everyone, everywhere with an internet connection, for three reasons: 1) the incremental, cumulative nature of scholarly research, where the efforts of one researcher are built upon by the next, means that the more researchers who can read the results of Canadian–funded research, the greater the opportunity to build on this research. Thanks to the CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs, if a Canadian cancer researcher uncovers results that move us closer to a new treatment or cure for cancer, the greatest possible number of researchers can read the results, build on the findings, and we all benefit when the new treatment / cure becomes a reality. Similarly, researchers around the globe are working on new, green, sustainable energy resources; the fewer the barriers to research, the faster everyone gets to a goal that benefits us all; and 2) in this global environment, the knowledge available to others affects everyone; if other countries limit greenhouse gases because of Canadian research, they benefit — but so do we; and 3) this policy would allow full access to Canadian taxpayers (teachers, students, professionals and the general public), who may benefit directly from reading the material (e.g. any Canadian entrepreneur would have access to the latest research suggesting potential useful business directions, and any Canadian professional would have access to the latest information to keep up their skills and look up the latest information to assist with particular cases); or indirectly, when those who serve us have access to the latest information — for example, with respect to the medical literature, I benefit not only if I can read the literature myself, but also if my doctor has access.

International open access policy developments: more than 200 open access institutional and funding agency mandates from around the globe can be found through the Registry of Open Access Material Archiving Policies (en anglais seulement) (ROARMAP), (the Sherpa JULIET (en anglais seulement) list focuses on funding agency policies only). Canada already has a great track record here, including both provincial and federal funding agencies. Information about the U.S. Federal Research Public Access Act is available through the website of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (en anglais seulement).

Open access repository availability: At least 35 of Canada's universities already have institutional repositories. In addition, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries has an institutional repository program (en anglais seulement); PubMedCentral Canada (en anglais seulement) is available for articles in the area of medicine; NRC Canada and IDRC each have their own repository; and the international Depot service is available for any researcher lacking an institutional repository Depot Open Access repository (en anglais seulement).

Locus of deposit: The optimal policy will specify preferential deposit, by default, in the researcher's institutional repository. CIHR–funded research can in addition be automatically cross–deposited from institutional repositories into PubMedCentral Canada by repository software, so this is not an additional burden for researchers. Canada is uniquely positioned to quickly implement this optimal policy, thanks to its extensive network of institutional open access repositories. A full list of the open access repositories by country is available through The Directory of Open Access Repositories (en anglais seulement) and The Registry of Open Access Repositories (en anglais seulement).

Canadian open access initiatives: Canada has had a major role internationally in the open access movement, both through advocacy and through the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), launched with federal funding; PKP has developed the open source Open Journal Systems now in use by over 5,000 fully or partially open access journals around the world, as well as Open Conference Systems with the Open Monographs Press nearing completion. Canada is ranked 7th in the world for fully open access journals, as listed by the Directory of Open Access Journals, with 107 journals as of June 7, 2010. This ranking is based on total journals — not per capita.

Canadian academic publishing and the Synergies project: Canadian academic publishers play an essential role in scholarly publishing internationally, and a healthy Canadian scholarly publishing system ensures the availability of journals likely to prioritize topics of interest to Canadians, such as Canadian politics and social issues. Thanks to the Synergies project, Canadian academic journals are now online and well prepared for greatly expanded dissemination through open access, with minimal support to transition business models from subscriptions to open access. SSHRC is already innovating their journal support program to assist with the transition, and many libraries are very interested in exploring approaches to transition. There is a substantial body of evidence demonstrating the open access citation impact advantage at the article level (more downloads and citations for open access articles than closed access articles), and it makes sense that this would function at the journal level as well. That is, a robust Canadian open access scholarly publishing system would enhance the prestige and impact of Canadian research.

Thank you once more for the opportunity to participate in this consultation. If there is anything that we can do to assist in the development or implementation of appropriate policy, we are willing and available.

On behalf of many Canadian scholars and librarians involved in the international open access movement.

Heather Morrison, MLIS
PhD Student, SFU School of Communication
Simon Fraser University Library
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
Telephone: 778–855–5156
Email: Heather Morrison
Heather Morrison's Website (en anglais seulement)

Leslie Chan
Director, Bioline International
University of Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1C 1A4
Email: Leslie Chan
Leslie Chan's Website (en anglais seulement)

Olivier Charbonneau, BCom, LLM
Associate Librarian, Concordia University
Doctoral candidate in Law, Université de Montréal
Email: Olivier Charbonneau Website

Andrew Feenberg
Canada Research Chair
in Philosophy of Technology
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University
Telephone: 778–782–5169
Email: Andrew Feenberg
Andrew Feenberg's Website (en anglais seulement)

Professor Michael A. Geist
Canada Research Chair in Internet and E–commerce Law
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
57 Louis Pasteur Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5
Telephone: 613–562–5800, x3319 | Facsimile: 613–562–5124
Email: Michael A. Geist | Michael Geist' Blog (en anglais seulement)
Twitter: @michaelgeist |

Professor Stevan Harnad
Canada Research Chair in Cognition & Communication
Cognition & Communication Laboratory
Cognitive Neuroscience Center
Université du Québec à Montréal
P.O. Box 8888, succursale Centre–Ville
Montréal (Québec), Canada H3C 3P8
Telephone: 514–987–0027
Email: Stevan Harnad

Marjorie Mitchell
President, British Columbia Library Association (for BCLA)
Email: Marjorie Mitchell

B.F. Francis Ouellette
Associate Director, Informatics and Biocomputing and Principle Investigator
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
MaRS Centre, South Tower
101 College Street, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 0A3
Telephone: 416–673–8511
Facsimile: 416–977–7446
Email: B.F. Francis Ouellette
B.F. Francis Ouellette's Website (en anglais seulement)

Richard Smith
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3
Telephone: 778–782–5116
Email: Richard Smith
Richard Smith's Website (en anglais seulement)
Twitter: @smith

Donald Taylor
Co–principal investigator, Open Access Journals Support in Canada Research Team & Document Delivery Services Division Head
Simon Fraser University Library
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
Telephone: 778–782–5596
Email: Donald Taylor

Samuel Trosow, Associate Professor
University of Western Ontario
Faculty of Law / Faculty of Information & Media Studies
Email: Samuel Trosow

Christian Vandendorpe
Université d'Ottawa
Christian Vandendorpe's Website

Andrew Waller
Licensing and Negotiation Librarian (Collections)
Open Access Librarian (Centre for Scholarly Communication)
Libraries and Cultural Resources
MLB 402B
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4
Telephone: 403–220–8133
Facsimile: 403–284–2109
Email: Andrew Waller
Andrew Waller's Website (en anglais seulement)

International open access advocates in support of this submission

Subbiah Arunachalm
Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Internet and Society,Bangalore, India

V Balaji
Global Leader, Knowledge Management and Sharing, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi–Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

Heather Joseph
Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Barbara Kirsop
Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, UK

Richard Poynder
Technology Journalist, UK

Peter Suber
Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

John Wilbanks
Vice President for Science, Creative Commons


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