Monday, September 10, 2007

Michael Geist: New Research Policy a Victory for Open Access

In The Toronto Star, Monday, September 10, 2007, article by Michael Geist, New Research Policy a Victory for Open Access (Blog version).

The new policy – the first of its kind for Ottawa's three major research granting institutions that dole out hundreds of millions of dollars each year – will revolutionize access to health research by mandating that thousands of articles published each year be made freely available online to a global audience.

The policy will help ensure that 5 per cent of the world's health research scholarship – tens of thousands of articles (CIHR funds approximately 5,000 researchers annually producing as many as 30,000 articles) – are generally freely available. This benefits the researchers, whose work becomes more widely read and cross-referenced, as well as the general public.

...The CIHR policy is likely to place renewed pressure on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the federal government's two other major granting councils to follow suit.

[Inaction to date] may change as new Industry Minister Jim Prentice focuses on Canadian economic competitiveness and fiscal responsibility. With the health field now leading the way, Canadians may at long last gain open access to the world-class research they have funded, while the publishing industry adapts to the new realities of access to research.