Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 06, 2009

An OA mandate at the Quebec health research fund

The Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) adopted an OA mandate on October 24, 2008, which took effect on January 1, 2009.  Excerpt:

...As a manager of public funds, [FRSQ] is firmly committed to ensuring that the full potential of research outputs is used and that the return on research investments is optimized so that society as a whole can reap the benefits thereof. In adopting this Policy, the FRSQ, reaffirming the independence of researchers..., intends to establish measures that will structure and support researchers' initiatives to disseminate research outputs and thereby foster open access to them when possible....

This Policy applies to all research fully or partially funded by FRSQ,...and to any new award or grant issued as of January 1, 2009. Although recipients of awards or grants issued before this date are not bound by this Policy, it would be appropriate that they abide by it....

FRSQ awardees are expected to make every possible effort to have their peer-reviewed publications posted on open-access Web sites as soon as possible, ideally, no later than six months after publication or presentation. Awardees can achieve this through the following options:

Option 1 – Via the publisher’s Web site (in the case of articles) or that of the organizer of the event (in the case of scientific conventions);

Option 2 – Via one or several online repositories (awardees must comply with the publisher’s or the organizer’s policies)....


  • Kudos to all at the FRSQ.  I applaud the mandatory language, the option to comply with the policy by publishing in an OA journal (alongside the option to publish in a TA journal and deposit in an OA repository), the encouragement for past grantees to comply with the policy, and the six month embargo.  Note that FRSQ continues the pattern that every medical research funder in the world with an OA mandate, except the NIH, uses a six month embargo. 
  • Unfortunately the policy leaves a loophole for resisting publishers.  (When grantees publish in a TA journal and deposit in an OA repository, they "must comply with the publisher’s...policies.")  The loophole is not at all necessary, and has been closed in the policies of the Wellcome Trust, NIH, MRC, and many others.  For details on how to close it and still ensure that the OA is authorized by the copyright holder, see #10 of my article from last week.