Open access to research results
Since the Budapest Open Archives Initiative in 2002, the open science movement has been expanding. It is based on the need to promote equitable access to scientific knowledge and to promote citizen scientific literacy.
Several research funding agencies in Canada and internationally are working to propose measures that aim to promote more equitable access to research outcomes. In its Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers of 2017, UNESCO asks Member States to: "ensure equitable and open access to scientific literature, data and contents including by removing barriers to publishing, sharing and archiving of scientific outputs." (Article 13e)
The Fonds de recherche du Québec Policy
Open access to research outcomes is a key step in moving towards open science. In order to contribute to this movement, in 2019 the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) adopted a policy on this matter.
In effect since April 1, 2019, The Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research requires all FRQ funding recipients (researchers and students) to provide open access to their scientific publications no later than 12 months after publication.
Members of the scientific community can provide open access to their work by:
depositing their peer-reviewed manuscripts in an open-access institutional or disciplinary repository, no later than 12 months following their publication; or
publishing their manuscript in a journal that provides open access to articles, no later than 12 months following publication.
For any questions, please contact the Direction of Ethical and Legal Affairs at the Fonds de recherche du Québec.
1. Does this policy also apply to researchers and students conducting research in research groups, centres or institutes funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ)?
The Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research aims to promote an equitable access to research results obtained through public funding. For this purpose, it applies to:
- all FRQ funding recipients (awards and grants);
- all co-investigators within an FRQ-funded research team, network, group, centre or institute;
- all students whose research activities are made possible, in whole or in part, by funding from the FRQ.
2. Who is responsible for ensuring open access to research results?
The responsibility to ensure that research results publications are made available in open access stems from the fact that it is public investment in research that allow obtaining these results. Although the FRQ are conscious of the extra efforts required to do this, it is the responsibility of the funding recipient and of all persons whose research activities are made possible, in whole or in part, by FRQ funding to ensure open-access publication of their research results. It is their further responsibility to verify whether the journals in which they choose to publish their research results allow them to retain copyrights enabling them to archive their work in a manner compliant with the policy.
For their part, institutions have the responsibility of assisting the members of their community to comply with the policy, and of providing resources to guide them through the open-access publication process.
3. Will the FRQ take open-access publication into account in their scientific evaluation process?
Once the Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research has come into effect, the FRQ will gradually take into account open-access dissemination of research results in their evaluation process. Evaluating committees will gradually receive instructions in this manner.
4. Will fees paid to academic publishers for providing open access to an article immediately on publication be considered eligible expenses by the FRQ?
Fees charged by publishers for providing open access at the time of publication are considered eligible expenses by the FRQ. Further details concerning the eligibility of these fees are set out in the Common general rules.
5. How can I find out if a scientific journal allows open-access publication?
There are platforms designed to help researchers and students find and understand scientific publishers' editorial policies on copyright and open-access archiving, such as SHERPA/RoMEO, an online resource for academic authors. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) plateform helps identify journals that offer open-access publishing.
Some institutions also provide relevant information and resources through their libraries.
6. What do the FRQ mean by "research results" in the policy?
"Research results" are defined by the FRQ to mean any output that report results obtained through research activities. These results can be presented in different forms and generally include methodology, scientific analysis, graphs, figures and tables. The FRQ definition of "research results" excludes the data used or raw data generated by the research activity.
7. Why should you provide open access to your final peer-reviewed manuscript as soon as it is published?
To facilitate the timely and equitable dissemination of your research results obtained through public funding, it is important to deposit your final peer-reviewed manuscript in a open access repository at the time of publication, or ensure its immediate publication in an open-access journal.
By doing so immediately, you avoid the risk of forgetting to comply with the policy.
8. What happens if a research partner or a funder has different expectations concerning the dissemination of my research results?
The policy applies to all FRQ funded research activities. Hence, in the case of funding provided through a partnership between the FRQ and a financial partner, the research results must be made freely accessible no later than 12 months after publication.
The situation may differ in the case of research contracts where researchers conclude an agreement with a private or public financial partner or funder. In these cases, researchers and their partners are best placed to determine the terms under which open-access publishing is allowed or not. In these circumstances, the FRQ understand that an agreement may have priority over the policy requirements.
9. Where must I deposit my final peer-reviewed manuscripts to make them freely accessible?
The FRQ policy requires that final peer-reviewed manuscripts be deposited in institutional or disciplinary repository. Most universities in Québec hold an institutional repository offering their community the possibility to centralise, archive and make accessible the scientific knowledge they produce. Disciplinary repository which aim to centralise publications in a specific research field or a mixture of connected research fields also exist, as well as repositories held by other institution like the National Institute of Health Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
Final peer-reviewed manuscripts can be deposited in the institutional or disciplinary repository of your choice, as long as they allow open-access to your publications.
10. Does the Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research make the dissemination or publication of all my research results mandatory?
Everyone that conduct research activities made possible, in whole or in part, by FRQ funding holds the responsibility to disseminate their research results, whether they are positive or negative. Disseminating all research results obtained through public funding contributes to ensuring responsible use of research funds, namely by fostering the sharing of scientific knowledge.
This responsibility falls under the best practices of responsible conduct of research stated in the FRQ policy for the responsible conduct of research that came into force in 2015. For its part, the FRQ open access policy requires that disseminated or published results must be made freely accessible.
11. Do monographs have to be made freely accessible 12 months after publication?
The FRQ promote the open access dissemination of all academic publications 12 months after their publication. However, they are conscious that providing free access to monographs may be particularly challenging for researchers and students whose research activities were made possible through FRQ funding. For this reason, the open access policy does not apply to monographs at the present moment.
Anyone that may have consulted or downloaded the Fonds de recherche du Québec open access policy for the dissemination of research prior to April 18 2019 is invited to take note of the adjustments concerning this topic.