Slowly but surely open access initiatives aimed at improving the dissemination of research and scholarly work are gaining ground. It’s been a long time coming, judging from a piece in our archives from February 2006 entitled “The bottom line on open access”.
As we recently reported, the University of Ottawa has a new institution-wide open-access initiative. The university described it as the first in Canada, although we quickly received a note from Athabasca University notifying us that Athabasca was in fact the first, in 2006.
Now, Concordia University has announced it, too, is “open[ing] its research findings to the world” via a new open-access agreement. Concordia claims it is “the first major university in Canada where faculty have given their overwhelming support to a concerted effort to make the full results of their research universally available.” I’m wary of claims of being the “first” (see above), so if other institutions wish to contest that, leave us a comment.
And the biggest recent news for open-access advocates is the launch last week of PubMed Central Canada, created through a partnership between the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. With the launch of PMC Canada, says the CIHR announcement, “Canadians have a freely accessible national digital repository of the latest peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature at their fingertips, including research resulting from CIHR funding.”
PMC Canada supports CIHR’s Policy on Access to Research Outputs, which requires CIHR grant recipients to make their peer-reviewed publications freely accessible online within six months of publication. As well, by becoming a part of PubMed Central, Canada joins with the U.S. and U.K. as a member of the larger PMC International network, giving Canadian researchers access to much of the content available on the U.S. and U.K. versions of this central repository.
The first phase of PMC Canada includes a basic bilingual interface, a manuscript submission system for CIHR researchers and a bilingual help desk. Plans for the second phase of the repository will incorporate a customized web front-end along with enhanced reporting and alerting features for system funders and users. An advisory committee of Canadian health researchers and other stakeholders will guide PMC Canada’s future development, says CIHR.