openaccesscanada – where are you?

I subscribe to Open Access News, by Peter Suber, which is a blog about:

Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature on the internet. Making it available free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Removing the barriers to serious research.

And a topic near and dear to… The flow of announcements coming out of Open Access News is truly amazing. Universities and government agencies and quasi-governmental academic bodies, particularly in the US and Europe seem to be making statements on a daily basis – at least OA News is writing about them on a daily basis.

The front page currently has items about Harvard’s OA plans, University of Oregon Faculty Senate adopting a resolution in support of OA, the Budapest Open Access Initiative, OA in Italy … etc.

A slim number of the posts touch on Canada, and especially few on big announcements from Canadian universities and professional/scientific associations.

So, what is the state of OA in Canada? Where are all the initiatives? Where are all the Universities? Are they active, or are we happy, as a country, to lag behind the rest of the world?

Jim Till, of U of T, is writing a blog called: Be Openly Accessible Or Be Obscure, named after this article, which answers some of these questions.

Project Open Source | Open Access, also at U of T, is another place that ought to have some answers, since:

… phase II of the project will focus on research. We have identified Open Scholarship as the theme for 2007-2008, but we will also continue to build on faculty research strengths and interests in the design, development and use of open source environments for collaboration and learning; in institutional innovation; in OS business models; in open access journal publishing; and in the evaluation of journal impact factors.

Last update to their RSS feed was Oct 2007 … let’s hope there’s more good news to come.

So, how are we doing on OA in Canada?


  1. Heather Morrison’s avatar

    hi Hugh,

    You might want to check out my blog series, Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement, at:

    Today is the 6th birthday of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the small meeting considered the first major defining moment of the open access movement. Of the 16 people at this meeting, 3 are Canadian: Jean-Claude Guedon, Leslie Chan, and Stevan Harnad.

    If you are Canadian and an open access advocate – welcome!! If you know of Canadian leadership initiatives I might have missed, please let me know.

  2. Jim Till’s avatar

    Hugh, there’s some action about OA happening at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). See: CIHR’s Policy on Access to Research Outputs is Now in Effect, posted by Ian Graham (Vice-President, Knowledge Translation at CIHR) and last modified on February 4, 2008. Excerpt:

    CIHR believes that greater access to research publications and data will promote the ability of researchers in Canada and aboard to use and build on the knowledge needed to address significant health challenges. Open access enables authors to reach a much broader audience, which has the potential to increase the impact of their research. In fact, evidence shows that open access publications are more often read and cited than closed access publications. From a Knowledge Translation perspective, this policy will support our desire to expedite awareness of and facilitate the use of research findings by policy makers, health care administrators, clinicians, and the public, by greatly increasing ease of access to research.

    The FAQ also contains some interesting information. An example: 7. Where can I archive my publications?. Excerpt:

    CIHR encourages authors to consider depositing their publications into PubMed Central (PMC), through the PubMed Central International (PMCI) Canada when established. Please note that at this time, it is not possible for CIHR supported researchers to deposit research publications in the U.S. PMC. However, CIHR and the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) are planning the development of a PubMed Central International (PMCI) Canada site that will enable researchers to archive publications in this repository.

  3. Hugh’s avatar

    @heather @jim, thanks for the comments and the links. it’s good to see some stuff happening here in Canada, but I am still struck by the silence of the big universities and other big players. where is McGill’s adoption of an OA policy? where is UofT’s joint statement with UBC urging all Canadian uni’s to work together on developing an OA policy? Dalhousie’s Atlantic Open Access Initiative? Where is the NRC’s working group on Open Access?

    I am ignorant of details of what’s going on in Canada, but it seems to me there are no announcements on the same scale as what we are seeing elsewhere….but: I do hope to get embarrassed by evidence to the contrary!

  4. Paula Clark’s avatar

    There is this pilot project at CISTI to make NRC publication publicly accessible. It includes access to 7 research institutes and is mentioned in this piece in the CISTI newsletter last summer.

    Open Medicine Journal is also a Canadian initiative – it was the response to the editorial upset that took place at the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    I agree with your comments about a lack of cohesive effort and policy at an institutional level – it’ll be interesting to see if the Harvard policy will catch on.

  5. Hugh’s avatar

    Harvard is one driver, and I hope canadian Uni’s are taking notice… the other powerful voice seems to be coming out of the EU at highest policy levels. Would be nice if Canada were a leader too.

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