Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

Canada has three federal granting agencies: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), known as the Tri-Agency. Any research funded by these agencies need to be made openly available online under the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Grant recipients must ensure that any peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from their grant-funded research be made freely accessible within 12 months of publication by either:

  • archiving the full-text, peer-reviewed post-print version or final published version in a repository such as the Brock Digital Repository
  • publishing in an Open Access journal

Frequently Asked Questions

Open Access policy applies to all grant funded research after May 1,2015, although researchers holding grants awarded before May 1, 2015 are also encouraged to follow the policy. CIHR recipients already adhere to an Open Access policy.

Canada is joining numerous other nations in making federally funded research openly accessible. Open Access research is open to anyone, leading to higher readership and increased citations. Making the results of Tri-Agency-funded research openly available is expected to increase the reach of Canadian research, foster collaboration and ensure that publicly-funded research is accessible to the public. Other nations with Open Access policies include Australia, China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, 50+ research funding bodies around the world require Open Access publication for grant recipients.

For more information:

The policy applies to peer-reviewed journal publications resulting from research funded by NSERC, SSHRC or CIHR.

Grant recipients must ensure that they publish research in a way which complies with the policy. They must be able to make funded articles Open Access within 12 months of publication by either:

  • archiving the full-text, peer-reviewed post-print version or final published version in a repository such as the Brock Digital Repository
  • publishing in an Open Access journal

Researchers interested in archiving their work might wish to examine the copyright policies of journals before they choose to publish: some subscription journals, for example, do not permit deposit of the post-print version of an article; few subscription journals permit deposit of the final published version of an article.

Authors can also consider asking a journal to amend its copyright agreement so that they retain more rights to reuse their own work for purposes including online archiving.

Authors must archive the final, full-text, peer-reviewed manuscript – the post-print – or published version when allowed. The final full-text peer-reviewed manuscript must include all tables, figures, images and appendices.

The publishing terms pre-print and post-print may be interpreted differently by different publishers. Always investigate which definition is being used by a specific journal.

In general:

  • pre-prints are first drafts of articles before peer review
  • post-prints are articles which have undergone peer review and been revised accordingly
  • final versions are articles which have been reviewed, revised, copy-edited, paginated and fully formatted for publication

Yes. Many publishers, especially large entities such as Elsevier and Taylor and Francis, have very specific rules about which versions of an article can be archived online. For this reason, it is crucial to retain all versions of an article including your first manuscript, pre-print, and post-prints.

The Brock Library can assist you in using tools such as the SHERPA/RoMEO database to look up publisher copyright policies for archiving. The Brock Digital Repository also allows users to check copyright regulations for articles as part of the archiving process.

Grants for research must comply with the policy, but grants for salary and training are exempt.

If Tri-Agency funded research is published in an Open Access journal, the resulting articles can be easily found via search engines such as Google Scholar and are also likely to be indexed in subject databases. Articles from journals which are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) may also be found through the DOAJ website.

If Tri-Agency funded research is deposited in a subject or institutional repository, it can be accessed directly online via those repositories’ websites, via search engines such as Google Scholar and through searchable repository directories such as OpenDOAR.

Library support for researchers

  • Brock Digital Repository – an open, online archive showcasing and preserving the Brock community’s scholarly output
  • Publisher memberships providing APC discounts/waivers
  • Consultations with Research and Scholarly Communication Librarian, Elizabeth Yates



Elizabeth Yates, Research and Scholarly Communication Librarian ~