Tri-Agency Open Access Policy
The Saskatchewan Library Association is acutely aware of the importance of open access to research and supports all efforts to make high quality information available to all Saskatchewan and Canadian citizens. Our members work in all types of libraries: public, school, academic, and special, and the populations served by each of these library sectors will benefit from increased efforts to make federally funded research more openly available. School children will have better access to information about the issues currently affecting their world, access that will not only be beneficial for school assignments but will also help them grow into informed and engaged citizens. The public will be more immediately aware of the results of Canadian-funded health research that has the potential to improve, and perhaps in some cases save, lives. Researchers served by academic and special libraries will be able to base their work on the full spectrum of earlier research, thereby more quickly and efficiently incorporating new findings into their future investigations. These are but a few examples of the impact that the Saskatchewan Library Association envisions arising from increased open access to Tri-Agency funded research.
The draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy is, overall, an excellent document that succinctly articulates the rationale for supporting open access, while, at the same time, providing a balance in ensuring that essential researcher freedoms are preserved.
The Saskatchewan Library Association recommends improving the policy by requiring deposit in the fundee’s institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, whether or not the fundee chooses option #1 or option #2. We concur with the rationale voiced by Stevan Harnad who wrote
“The immediate-deposit requirement makes it possible for the fundee’s institution to monitor and ensure timely compliance with the funder OA policy. It also motivates institutions to adopt complementary OA policies of their own, for all their research output, funded and unfunded. The immediate-deposit requirement also facilitates providing individual eprints by the fundee to individual eprint requestors for research purposes during any embargo. Institutional repository deposits can then be automatically exported to any institutional-external repositories the fundee, funding agency or institution wishes. On no account should compliance with funding agency conditions be left to the publisher rather than the fundee and the fundee’s institution.
Thank you for supporting open access, and for inviting commentary on your proposed policy.