Open Access and Synergies Project

Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law has written an article in the Toronto Star on Open Access (

In the article he mentions OJS (Open Journal System). The Library has installed OJS and the Canadian Children’s Literature journal is just moving to that platform. A few weeks ago there was a CFI grant announced, “Synergies”. The University of Winnipeg is part of the Synergies project, which will mean we’ll be getting support and training to help promote the use of OJS and archiving systems for Canadian journals.


Notwithstanding the momentum toward open access, several barriers remain.

First, many conventional publishers actively oppose open access, fearful that it will cut into their profitability.

Indeed, soon after the launch of the European petition, Nature reported that publishers were preparing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to counter open access support with a message that equates public access to government censorship.

Second, many universities and individual researchers have been slow to adopt open access, with only a limited number of universities worldwide having established institutional repositories to facilitate deposit of research by their faculty.

Athabasca University is the sole Canadian university to establish both a repository and a policy requesting that faculty submit electronic copies of all publications.

Third, Canadian funding agencies are increasingly at risk of falling behind their counterparts around the world by dragging their heels on the open access front.

With the notable exceptions of the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the International Development Research Agency, which last year introduced proposals to require open access for their funded research, Canada’s major funding agencies have been slow to move on the issue.

Neither the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, nor the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which together have an annual budget of more than $1 billion, are anywhere near incorporating open access requirements into their funding policies.

The failure to lead on this issue could have long-term negative consequences for Canadian research.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for the federal government, its funding agencies and the Canadian research community to maximize the public’s investment in research by prioritizing open access.
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About Karen Keiller

I am the University Librarian at Lakehead University.
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