Another Canadian Health Research Funder OA Policy: CHSRF

The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) now has an OA policy for grantees!

Apparently the Policy on Open Access to Research Outputs (FAQ here, actual policy in PDF here) went into effect in October, but perhaps it was quite a soft launch at the time, as it’s not in Sherpa JULIET funder mandate list yet (don’t worry, I submitted the notification form, so it should be soon), I I don’t recall seeing it on Open Access News and I wasn’t aware of it myself until a colleague tipped me off today.  (Launch is soft no more, however, as there’s a big banner about it on the website!)

CHSRF is an organization that does an absolutely amazing job with KT, from their Mythbusters publication series to their “Researcher on Call” conference calls. I’m so pleased to see their thoughtful dedication to transparency and KT reflected in their new OA policy.

From their FAQ on the policy:

Why does the Foundation support open access?

  • The Foundation wants to improve access to Foundation-funded research in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Open access to research indicates that we, as an organization, acknowledge the growing importance and potential of digital technologies and the internet in allowing instant exchanges of knowledge between researchers and research users. Because the Foundation is ultimately accountable to the Canadian public, open access encourages the transparency of, and access to, its funded research results by the widest audience possible, without barriers.
  • Greater dissemination and use of peer-reviewed research will serve to enhance the timeliness and impact of sponsored health services and policy research.

I love how honest and real that sounds.

Mushy stuff, aside, the policy details appear similar to the CIHR Policy:

Individuals and teams who receive funding from the Foundation for research and related activities are required to make every effort to ensure that the results of their research are published in open access journals (freely available online) or in an online repository of published papers, within six months after initial publication.

6-month embargo seems to be emerging as the Canadian standard, which is interesting since publishers are largely hung up on the NIH’s 12-month embargo.  This can be a pain when dealing with copyright forms from journals that don’t think Canada is big or important enough to cater to, as you have to sort of cross things out and add bits in, or else try to attach an addendum.

The CHSRF policy does allow an “out” if a publisher refuses your copyright transfer amendment attempt, and also says that researchers can use research dissemination funds for OA publication fees. No mention of data, but this is unsurprising since health services data is stickier than many other types of data, seeing as so much of this data is very privacy-sensitive.

My only criticisms of the policy are:

  1. the lack of indication (again similar to the CIHR policy) of what sort of “teeth” the policy will have – i.e., will researchers who fail to comply be subject to some penalty, be ineligible for future funding, etc.?
  2. the lack of specificity about where to archive.  Particularly given that some of this research will be published on websites of organizations rather than via journals, if CHSRF wants to ensure these research results are preserved in accessible format (which it seems to, from my reading of the policy), I think they need to be clear about a copy needing to be archived somewhere, in an institutional or subject repository.

I know without Canadian PMC we are at a bit of a loss as to where all this mandated stuff should be going, but I think a future revision of the CHSRF policy could be strengthened by requiring that all grantees submit copies of their works to be archived (perhaps with their final grant report) to be collocated in an OAI-PMH compliant CHSRF archive — perhaps a collection within one of the many Canadian university repositories.

For those who are counting, this policy makes 8 Canadian funder mandates in JULIET, 7 of which are health research funders.  It’s such an interesting time to work in the field of Canadian health research information, really.




Filed under copyright, funding, Health, OA

2 responses to “Another Canadian Health Research Funder OA Policy: CHSRF

  1. The articles can and should be deposited in the fundee’s own institution’s repository.

    (And it’s silly to waste scarce research money on paying for Open Access journal publishing fees at this time, when subscriptions are still paying for subscription journals’ publishing fees: Open Access mandates should simply be to deposit the published articles in the fundee’s institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, and to make the deposit Open Access immediately, or, at latest, 6 months after publication.)

  2. @harnad: It’s far from silly to not wanting to support the status quo (subscription journals), but rather striving to support the only sustainable alternative, which is paying for open access journals. It is “silly” to waste scarce research money to build up a parallel archiving infrastructure at each institution and funder, rather than to support native open access journals, which make such investments redundant. It is also “silly” to assume that self-archived articles deposited in institutional repositories have the same visibility as articles published in discipline-specific open access journals, which have already built communities around disciplines and topics. It is also “silly” to assume that publishers which run toll-access journals will continue to allow self-archiving after an embargo period (or even voluntarily allow immediate self-archiving) if a significant proportion of their authors actually starts doing it and they loose subscription revenue.
    Authors are *not* silly if they don’t want to worry about 6-month or 12-months embargoes. Funders are *not* silly if they prefer that their grantees publish in open access journals rather than self-archiving, thereby reducing their need to build up and maintain institutional archives, essentially duplicating the publishing process. Tax payers are *not* silly if they want to pay for publication only once (open access author fees), not twice (for subscription journals + self-archiving infrastructures). Harnad tries to perpetuate the myth of “self-archiving” coming at no cost, which is “silly”.

    Conflicts of interest: I am a research scientists and professor, publishing a small independent non-profit OA journal, financed by SSHRC and author contributions. My salary is paid by my research institution, with no dependencies on journal revenue. I am also a founding board member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), but the opinion expressed above is my personal one, and I am not necessarily speaking for OASPA.
    I am also running a self-archiving platform (WebCite).

    (Harnad also has various conflicts which he forgot to list)

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