Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 30, 2008

NSERC developing an OA policy

Kathleen Shearer announced at ElPub 2008 (Toronto, June 25-27, 2008) that Canada's National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is developing an OA policy.  Heather Morrison reports:

Kathleen Shearer, research associate at the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), talked about an open access policy in the works at Canada's NSERC, one of Canada's three major federal funding agencies, anticipated for March 2009. The NSERC policy is likely to resemble that of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, with expectation of OA within 6 months of publication via OA publishing (preferred and encouraged) or self-archiving. Kathleen stressed that OA policies need to be accompanied by strong implementation strategies, and that libraries have a key role to play in OA education, advocacy, and infrastructure.

PS:  I'll report more details when I have them.

Update.  At the CARL Annual Meeting, May 15, 2008, NSERC's Denis Leclerc gave a slide presentation previewing the NSERC policy.  Thanks to Heather Morrison, who adds a summary and comments:

...The status quo is not an option; there are profound negative consequences to not having an open access policy. The plan is to present an OA policy to NSERC by March 2009. Overall, the policy is likely to be similar to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) policy, with some important innovations under consideration. One very innovative idea under consideration is the possibility of negotiating consortial arrangements with publishers to cover article processing fees, possibly working cooperatively with libraries. This is a gem of an idea. Bringing the library subscription purchase together with article processing fees is the best possible way to avoid double dipping (publishers receiving revenue for both subscriptions and article processing fees) in the short term, and for facilitating full-scale transition to open access in the longer term. Also noteworthy is that NSERC is contemplating investment in infrastructure, to support local publishing and repository development, and that the need for enforcement of an OA policy is being addressed early on.


Negative consequences to NSERC of not having an OA policy - from Denis Leclerc's presentation: ...

  • where original/raw data is not openly available for scrutiny, scientific misconduct may be facilitated.
  • NSERC may be vulnerable to criticism regarding accountability to taxpayers.
  • Missed opportunity to further demonstrate societal impact and relevance, as well as potential additional means to measure and monitor scientific output from funded research.
  • Missed opportunity with respect to the 5th goal of NSERC's Strategic Plan - To increase the visibility of Canadian NSE research in Canada and worldwide.
  • Conclusion: the Status Quo is not an option
  • Options being explored range from policy to institutional repository development. Particularly noteworthy is the idea of negotiating consortial deals with publishers, perhaps working cooperatively with university libraries to cover author OA charges, funding for infrastructure development, including support for local publishing, and enforcing / monitoring adherence to policy.