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Letters to the editor

 

You call that moderation?

Thanks for a great article – lots of good suggestions (“Advice to keep you feeling well throughout the year,” January-February issue). I think the problem of managing stress in the university was captured neatly in Dalhousie University vice-provost Ivan Joseph’s suggestion for senior leadership to “max out at 80 hours” of work per week. This, in an article about work-life balance! Maybe the fact that our leaders think this is the way to achieve “moderation” is part of the problem with a university culture that celebrates excellence without calculation of the human cost.

David Seljak
Dr. Seljak is a professor of religious studies and department chair at the University of Waterloo.

 

Expanding open access

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently made all its current content available for free online, with older material scheduled to follow suit later this year. In its announcement of the move, the journal’s editor-in-chief Andreas Laupacis said free access “will make the journal more relevant to discussions about improving Canada’s health care system.”

Open and accessible research is essential for any government to make informed decisions on policy that ultimately impacts Canadians. This move by the CMAJ is a good first step for making accessible research the norm rather than the exception in Canada.

Currently, the federal government provides funding to non-governmental organizations for research purposes. However, this research funding is not subject to the same open-access publication policy as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

These three agencies are bound under the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy to share their research with the public at no cost and free of most copyright restrictions.
In May 2019, I introduced a motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to recognize the value of publicly funded research and to expand the existing Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications to apply to all research funded by federal research grants, considering the need to protect commercially sensitive information.

My goal with this motion was to highlight the need for a more open sharing of ideas and research with the research community, the government, and all Canadians. Any research that is publicly funded through tax dollars should be easily accessible by everyone.

Research is essential to our progress as a society. It informs public policy and ensures governments are making well-informed decisions in the best interests of their citizens. Having more openly available information will further help governments with policy.

When the CMAJ, and hopefully other journals after it, strives to become more accessible to the government and all Canadians, it demonstrates the instrumental role research plays in our society.

Matt Jeneroux
Mr. Jeneroux is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Riverbend.