Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications


In February 2015, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC unveiled a harmonized open access policy. It is modeled after the CIHR Open Access Policy which has been in effect since 2008. While CIHR-funded researchers will now refer to the new harmonized policy, compliance requirements have not changed.

News release: Minister Holder Announces New Open Access Policy for Research

Policy Summary

Researchers awarded funding from January 1, 2008 onwards from CIHR are required to adhere with the following responsibilities:

  • ensure that all research papers generated from CIHR funded projects are freely accessible through the Publisher's website or an online repository within 12 months of publication;
  • deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database (e.g. gene sequences deposited in GenBank) immediately upon publication of research results;
  • retain original data sets for a minimum of five years (or longer if other policies apply);
  • and acknowledge CIHR support by quoting the funding reference number in journal publications.

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications


CIHR believes that greater access to research publications and data will promote the ability of researchers in Canada and abroad to use and build on the knowledge needed to address significant health challenges. Open access enables authors to reach a much broader audience, which has the potential to increase the impact of their research. Only when research findings are widely available, enabling open scrutiny, will this evidence be translated into policies, technologies, health-related standards and practices, and new avenues of research that will benefit the health of Canadians and others. From a knowledge translation perspective, this policy will support our desire to expedite awareness of and facilitate the use of research findings by policy makers, health care administrators, clinicians, and the public, by greatly increasing ease of access to research.

Adhering with the policy – Open access publications

For journal publications, there are two ways to adhere with the policy:

  • Submit your manuscript to a journal that offers immediate open access or offers open access to the paper on its website within 12 months of publication.
  • Submit your manuscript to a journal that does not offer open access, but will permit you to archive the peer-reviewed manuscript in a central or institutional repository within 12 months of publication.

The SHERPA/RoMEO database contains a searchable listing of journal publisher's copyright and self-archiving policies which will help researchers to determine journal's that adhere with CIHR policy.

CIHR encourages researchers to deposit all their peer-reviewed articles in PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada).

Additional information and resources

A suite of tools and resources were developed to help clarify the policy and how it affects grant recipients:

For further information, please contact

Notice: PubMed Central Canada now online

PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) is back online. This system was taken offline as a precautionary measure after the National Research Council, the main service provider of PMC Canada, experienced a cyber-intrusion.

PMC Canada is a national web-based repository of health sciences literature. CIHR partnered with the National Research Council’s National Science Library in the creation of PMC Canada to develop a stable, permanent, and freely accessible digital archive of the full text of peer-reviewed research publications arising from research funded by CIHR.

Account holders are encouraged to continue submitting their CIHR-funded research through PMC Canada’s manuscript submission system. Please note that you may experience some delays submitting manuscripts as PMC Canada deals with a backlog of requests. Should you have any questions, please contact PMC Canada’s helpdesk at

Thank you for your patience.