The Foundation promotes the use of research evidence to support decisions about the organization and management of the healthcare system.

Open access allows research users to take full advantage of the internet as a primary host and source of knowledge exchange. The objective of the

Policy on Open Access to Research Outputs is to remove barriers - real or potential - to accessing Foundation-funded research.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is open access?

Open access to peer-reviewed research articles means the removal of financial, technical and legal barriers to enable direct access to scholarly work.

There are two types of open access:

  • Author self-archiving: The author deposits a preprint and/or a postprint of articles in an open access repository. Open access repositories can be hosted by institutions, and are designed to collect and preserve the digital scholarly output of a university, institution or funder. Pub Med Central is an example of an open access repository.
  • Open access publishing: This involves the publication of an article in a journal that provides free access to the article online.

2. 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.

3. What does the Foundation's new open access policy mean for Foundation-funded researchers?

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.

Research funded by the Foundation after October 1, 2008, should be limited to online publication on/in:

  • Websites of the Foundation, co-sponsors, and administering organizations
  • Open access journals
  • Journals where the publisher may not make its content immediately openly accessible but where the publisher agrees to archive the paper in an open access repository (for example, institutional repository or PubMed Central) within six months after initial publication.

4. How do I as a researcher retain copyright of my publications?

  • Know your rights. Ensure you understand publisher copyright policies by closely examining your publishing contracts. Search the SHERPA/RoMEO database to determine publisher's copyright and self-archiving policies.
  • Submit an author addendum with your manuscript to retain the right to archive your peer-reviewed manuscript.

5. What do I do if a journal I have chosen doesn't support open access within six months of initial publication?

  • First, contact the journal editors to verify their open access policy. While the journal may not practice open access publishing, they may allow self-archiving.
  • Consider alternate publishers.
  • Submit an author addendum with your manuscript to retain the right to archive your peer-reviewed manuscript.
  • If authors are unsuccessful in retaining the right to archive, the Foundation will consider this a reasonable exception according to the terms of the policy.

Open Access Resources: