CIHR Introduces New Open Access Policy

Michael Geist, Website, Sept 05, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Canadian Institute for Health Research has announced, formally, its Open Access mandate for all funded research. Peter Suber has coverage. Stevan Harnad notes that it makes CIHR the 31st organization worldwide to do so. It's worth noting that this amounts to "five percent of the world's health research scholarship" - an awful lot, considering the size of our country, and pretty convincing evidence that you do get original research even if you have a public health care system. But it should be noted, as Heather Ross points out, there's a pretty big loophole for publisher embargos. Finally, as Geist says, "It places renewed pressure on SSHRC and NSERC, the other two major granting councils, to at least match CIHR. The same principles apply - taxpayer funded research should be made available to the public that pays the bills and with CIHR now on board, it is now clearly time for the other two councils to adopt open access policies." Quite so, and to that I would like to add my own organization, the National Research Council. We're funded by the people of Canada, our work should be made available to that public. All of it. As Disparate argues, "this can be a turning point in Canadian academia."
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