Promising signs for open access in Canada

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Canadian researchers have been strong supporters of BioMed Central’s
open access journals since day one – in fact  BioMed Central has
already published more than  1800 open access research articles
from Canadian researchers. The good news for open access authors based
in Canada is that their research funders are increasingly embracing
open access, too.

Latest reports
suggest that the Canadian Institute of Health Research is set to
release an official policy on open access within the next few weeks.
The draft policy has been available online
for some time, and would require grantees to make resulting research
articles  available via an open access archive within 6 months of
publication.

The CIHR already expicitly allows open access publication costs to be included in grant applications, but the following note:

49.
It was suggested that CIHR implement a "page-charge reimbursement
mechanism" that would lie outside of the grant itself. This would allow
authors to get reimbursed for page charges for publications that were
not anticipated in the grant application and may appear years after the
grant has run out."

which appears in the report on
the consultation process
, suggests that CIHR may well go
further, following Wellcome, the British Heart Foundation and the Arthritis
Research Campaign (amongst others) by making central funding available to ensure
that grantees always have the option to publish in an open access journal.

BioMed Central
strongly supports the provision of such
central funding for open access publication, which plays a vital role in ensuring that authors are able to publish in
open access journals just as easily as in traditional journals (which already
have the benefit of large-scale institutional support through library
budgets).

Further positive news for open access in Canada comes in the form of reports from various sources indicating that the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), is now collaborating with CIHR to investigate the possibility of a Canadian version of PubMed Central.

So – if you are a Canadian biomedical researcher, watch this space…