Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 30, 2008

OA mandate at the OICR

Open Access Policy will give researchers worldwide immediate access to OICR data, Portal, 2, 3 (2008).  (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)  Excerpt:

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is taking the lead in 2008 and making the research it funds available to the public through an open access policy that takes effect July 1. OICR’s policy, “Access to Research Outputs,” provides the guidelines for OICR’s scientists when they publish their work and describes the institutional repository where all publications from OICR scientists will be deposited for public accessibility.

The policy, which builds on the policy in place at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), requires OICR researchers to provide unrestricted access to their publications within six months of publishing, either through self-archiving of the journal article in the OICR Institutional Repository or through publication in open access journals. The large majority of publishers already offer such accessibility within their copyright agreements.

“The main reason behind implementing an open access policy at OICR is that it allows the world to read OICR’s published papers and to benefit from the research funded by the Ontario government,” says Francis Ouellette, OICR’s Associate Director of Informatics and Biocomputing and a key member of the panel tasked with developing this policy for OICR....

Ouellette says researchers are starting to recognize that open access publishing and repositories greatly expand readership not only within the international research community itself, but also among the public.

“The average person knows how to use a basic search engine and knows how to find information and articles that are relevant to their disease,” Ouellette says. “If they have open access to research publications, even if they can’t fully understand the content, they can take that paper to their physician and ask about the disease. Open access empowers patients and their families – and since the research at OICR is publicly funded, they should have access to it.”

Ouellette feels that in addition to federal funding agencies, it is up to [provincial] organizations like OICR who are developing new policies to lead the way and prove that open access can work....

Heather Morrison reports that Ouellette announced the OICR policy at ElPub 2008 (Toronto, June 25-27, 2008).  More details:

[The policy] is nearing completion and details will be released within the next couple of weeks....An OICR institutional repository will be established, and OICR funded scientists will be expected to deposit peer-reviewed journals articles in the IR as soon as they are accepted for publication, and made freely accessible within 6 months of publication. OICR encourages publication in fully open access journals, and has plans for a fund for direct reimbursement of OA article processing fees for OICR-funded research, up to a maximum of $3,500 if the first, last or corresponding author is funded by the OICR. It is assumed that if scientists belonging to multiple institutions are contributing to a publication, they will share proportionately the cost of publication. Researchers are also expected to immediately deposit publication-related research data into a publicly accessible database....

[The] access policy team [is] chaired by Jim Till. OICR funds about 60 principal investigators at about $75 million per year, and is in a growth process; in the next few years, OICR is expected to grow to about 120 principal investigators....

Note: watch for OA policies at other Canadian provincial funding agencies - discussions are underway!

Comment.  Kudos to all involved, especially Francis Ouellette and Jim Till.  I'm looking forward to the text of the policy.  For the policy on which it is modeled, see the OA mandate from CIHR and my comments.