Tri-Agency Open Access Policy requirements

How do I comply with Open Access Policy requirements?

As of May 1, 2015 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) (the Tri-Agency) announced an Open Access Policy on Publications that requires federally funded peer-reviewed research to be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. The objective of this policy is to improve access to the results of Agency-funded research, and to increase the dissemination and exchange of research results."Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication".

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central. The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

Complying with the CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC Open Access mandates

You are required to meet the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy by making your journal article open access within 12 months of publication. To date, the policy only concerns journal publications.

Complying with the NIH public access policy

Did you know that uploading the Author Accepted Manuscript version of your article into Scholarship@Western will meet the Tri-Agency requirements?

In most cases the Author Accepted Mansucript can be posted, free of charge, in an Open Access disciplinary or institutional repository-- such as Western Libraries' Scholarship@Western-- within 12 months of publication to meet the Tri-Agency OA requirements.Use the Sherpa RoMEO tool and consult the journal's website to discover self-archiving policies of individual journals. The Author Accepted Manuscript, also known as a post-print, is the author's final submitted version of an article, after peer review and revision, but before the final PDF version of the article prepared by the publisher.

How else can I meet the new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy requirements?

Consider publishing in a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal, which can be found by using the vetted Directory of Open Access Journals. More than two-thirds of journals listed in the OAJ Directory do not charge a fee. This meets grant requirements. You may also place a copy of your Open Access article in Scholarship@Western for greater reach and impact.

From Think. Check. Submit. on Vimeo.

Does the journal of your choice offer an Open Access option?

Article Processing Charges (APCs) can be included as an expense in most grant budgets. Paying the Article Processing Charge to publish an Open Access article in a subscription journal meets grant requirements.You may also place a copy of your open access article in Scholarship@Western for greater reach and impact.

Negotiate your rights with the publisher before you agree to sign over all of your copyright

Before you sign the author agreement for a subscription journal, understand which rights you will retain under the contract, especially regarding self-archiving within 12 months of publication. If needed, negotiate the contract using the SPARC author addendum to retain these rights.

Where can I find more help?

We're here to help. Contact Courtney Waugh.

We can help you:

  • determine which version of your manuscript the journal publisher will allow for deposit into an institutional or other online repository, such as Scholarship@Western.
  • with the deposit process into Scholarship@Western.
  • negotiate and understand your authors' rights agreements when your paper has been accepted.
  • determine reputable open access journals to publish in.
  • find discipline specific Open Access repositories.

For more information about Open Access and author agreements, please visit the Scholarship page on our website.


  • Open Access According to SPARC, "Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment."
  • APC: Article Processing Charges are fees charged by some Open Access and hybrid (that is, a journal with both subscription and open access content) journals upon acceptance, to cover the cost of publication.
  • AAM: The author accepted manuscript is the author's final submitted version of an article, after peer review and revision, but before the publisher's final formatting. This is usually the version that many publishers typically allow to be hosted in institutional and discipline-specific repositories.
  • SPARC: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition is a division of the Association of Research Libraries that specializes in scholarly communication and open access.