In 2016, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) released the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, a policy that aims to “improve access to the results of Agency-funded research, and to increase the dissemination and exchange of research results.”
What does this mean for researchers in Canada?
It is now required that any peer-reviewed journal publication stemming from Agency-funded research is made freely accessible, either through an online repository or open access journal, within twelve months of publication.
As a result of this new requirement, researchers are now faced with an increasingly complex situation. Academic authors must not only comply with the open access stipulation put forward by funding agencies, but also publisher policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles online and in open access repositories. This can be confusing and overwhelming as some publishers prohibit authors from self-archiving their work, while others allow it, sometimes with specific conditions that must be met.
To facilitate the process, Jisc, a UK-based not-for-profit company, has developed an online tool that helps to clarify the policies related to copyright and self-archiving set forth by publishers around the world.
SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of peer-reviewed journals and serials gathered from publishers’ websites and supplemented by feeds such as DOAJ. Each entry provides a summary of the publisher’s policy and outlines what version of an article can be deposited, where it can be deposited, and the conditions or restrictions, if any, attached to that deposit.
RoMEO employs a simple colour code to classify policies, outlined in the table below, where pre-print refers to the first draft of an article – before peer-review, and post-print refers to the version of the paper after peer-review, with revisions having been made.