New CIHR Open Access Policy Takes Effect

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research have launched a new open access policy that took effect on January 1st.  The new policy requires CIHR funded researchers to make their peer-reviewed publications freely available within 12 months of publication. Moreover, researchers are now required to deposit certain data immediately upon publication of the research results. The new policy forces CIHR-funded researchers to publish in open access journals or ensure that their journal of choice will allow for open access post-publication.


  1. Glad to hear it.
    Here’s hoping CIHR’s transparency is “contagious.” Government agencies should all be using free and open software too; public money should build on and contribute to community projects whenever possible.

  2. It remains to be seen how vigorously the policy will be enforced.

  3. Free and open software and the government
    One of the big problems with FOSS is the encumbrance of the licenses. For example the GPL3 to be avoided, for as far as it has been determined from given advice, any software or code generated from GPL3 source is required to be published. This may not be in the governments interest to publish software/code created by the government depending on where it is being used.

  4. @bob, other readers…
    To clarify: the GPL (2 or 3) does NOT require publishing of information processed by software licensed with the GPL. (Simply using GPL software does not place any special burdens on the user.) What the GPL requires is that any software developed (built) upon source code licensed under the GPL (and then disseminated) must also have it’s source code made available (for example, the recipient of such software should be given the option of getting the source code with the new modifications). This is an additional right to the user and not everyone is even interested in this option, but at least it’s there.

    IMHO, this is as it should be. If my taxes are spent customizing software for a particular purpose, I expect to be able to use that software’s source code for my own purposes, under the same caveat. It is through this process that we build public assets that cannot be usurped by corporate monopolies.

    I believe that the government should be transparent and accountable, even in the software it creates.

    bob, can give any examples where this would be undesirable?

  5. @bob, other readers…
    In most situations, the only relevant aspect of free and open software is the fact that it often comes with a price-tag of $0. When public money is on the table, this should not simply be dismissed: free software saves money, plain and simple. The added transparency is just extra freedom-gravy…

  6. birds of a feather flock together…

    Canadians deserve access to technical standards and codes that have become woven into law too.

  7. Aaron Swartz, a computer scientist who faced ongoing criminal charges in the US for downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR – something that many people think should be freely available – has killed himself.

    Beyond the JSTOR (and PACER, a government database) downloading controversies, Swartz invented RSS 1.0 and co-founded Reddit, in addition to his political activism, which included his involvement in the founding of

    This is very sad to see today (Jan 12, 2013) and it is another reason why open access matters deeply to me.

    I can only speculate on the emotional state leading to his suicide, but I cannot imagine that the prospect of spending his future on reprimand for what he believed were moral actions could not have weighed heavily on him. His values reflect those of many in the IT community.

    Aaron changed many things for the better.

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