Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, April 09, 2007

Latest refinements of the CIHR draft OA policy

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Access to Research Outputs Policy Advisory Committee (AROPAC) has released the minutes of its January 24 meeting.  (Thanks to Heather Joseph.)  The discussion centered on the CIHR's draft OA policy, which would mandate OA for CIHR funded research.  Excerpt:

Participants discussed the idea of creating separate [OA] policies for publications, materials and data. In the end, it was generally felt that it would be most effective to move forward with a single policy and that certain parts could be implemented before others. For example, it was suggested that CIHR could move forward almost immediately with the parts of the policy dealing with publications. In contrast, participants acknowledged the challenges related to providing access to research data, and suggested that data is an area where further work would be needed....

Participants reviewed the European Research Advisory Board's "European policy on open access publications" as a possible framework for CIHR's policy. It was noted that this policy is regarded as a best practice in Europe....

The Committee supported the use of the European policy as a framework for the CIHR policy, taking into consideration the wording changes above....

Participants supported maintaining the proposed maximum six month embargo. It was noted that Nature and Science - two of the highest impacts journals in the scientific world - permit authors to archive their manuscripts with a delay on public access of six months.

It was noted that some journals do not have copyright policies or have policies that would not enable researchers to comply with the proposed CIHR policy (for instance, the journal may not allow archiving, or they may allow archiving, but with public access set after a period of one year or two years - much longer than the proposed six months.). Some members expressed concern over the potential impact of the policy on small Canadian journals.

To address these situations, it was suggested that CIHR could encourage researchers to publish preferentially in journals that allow open access (or that meet CIHR's policy), and at the same, CIHR could work with publishers to bring them in line with the policy.

PS:  Kudos to the CIHR for refusing to lengthen the embargo beyond six months and for recognizing the strengths of the EURAB recommendations.  The CIHR draft policy was already very strong, but will only improve by following the lines laid down by EURAB.