A CIHR news release, dated 24 August 2007, is: Canada’s New Government Invests $10.1 Million for Better Access to Cancer Care from Prevention to Palliation.
Canada’s New Government through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with CancerCare Manitoba and Cancer Care Nova Scotia will provide the funding over the next five years to seven research teams.
“Evidence, based on solid scientific research, is key to informed health decision making. The 7 teams being funded today will provide exactly the kinds of evidence that cancer patients, policy makers and family doctors need to improve the quality of cancer care across Canada” stated Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
“We are committed to working with provinces and healthcare experts to improve timely access to high quality health care, a top priority for CIHR and for all Canadians,” said Dr. Branton, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research. “These teams will advance knowledge in many areas that are of strategic importance to our health care system, and will ultimately allow for better access to cancer care for patients and their families.”
It seems self-evident the the “kinds of evidence that cancer patients, policy makers and family doctors need to improve the quality of cancer care across Canada” should be openly accessible, when the research that’s being described has been supported from public funds.
Note that 7 teams have been awarded funding. The leaders of these teams are listed below, together with information about their 5 previous publications that have been highest-ranked by Google Scholar.
1) Richard Doll (B.C. Cancer Agency): Of the first 5 articles that were co-authored by Richard Doll (not the Oxford epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll, now deceased), 3 were found to be freely accessible (60%). These 3 were published between 2001 and 2005.
2) Brenda Elias (University of Manitoba): Excluding contributions to books, all of the 5 highest-ranked articles or reports were found to be freely accessible (100%). These 5 were published between 1998 and 2006.
3) Eva Grunfeld (Dalhousie University / Cancer Care Nova Scotia): All 5 highest-ranked articles were found (one after an additional Google search) to be freely accessible (100%). These 5 were published between 2004 and 2006.
4) Alan Katz (University of Manitoba): Of the 5 highest-ranked publications, 3 were found to be freely accessible (60%). These 3 were published between 1998 and 2004.
5) William Mackillop (Queen’s University): Of the 5 highest-ranked articles, 3 were found to have at least one version that’s freely accessible (60%). These 3 were published between 1999 and 2000.
6) Devidas Menon (University of Alberta): No way was found to access any of the 5 highest-ranked articles (0%). However, an article in Health Affairs (2001) is freely accessible.
7) Scott Tyldesley (B.C. Cancer Agency): Of the 5 highest-ranked articles, one (published in 2005) was freely accessible, and 4 (published in 2003 and 2004) were accessible by patients in need of medical information, via Elsevier’s Patient Research Beta.
Excerpt from About Patient Research:
Elsevier has launched a beta pilot that supports patients and their family members looking for medical information; providing access to individual full text journal articles from selected Elsevier publications. The articles are delivered via email for a minimal handling fee of $4.95.
The pilot will help the individual journals assess the level of demand for medical information from the public and provide a public service to those in medical need. The journals testing this approach cover different medical fields and represent both publisher and society journals. These journals are testing this approach because they have content that is relevant to common medical conditions and are relatively straightforward to understand. …
Of the 35 articles, published previously by these 7 team leaders and highly-ranked by Google Scholar, 20 (about 60%) were found to be freely accessible.
Can this percentage (already a majority) be improved upon? In particular, will the new CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs increase such percentages? (For access to the policy, see: www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/34846.html) Outcomes of this kind from the policy won’t be available in the short term. What’s likely to be needed soon is a formative evaluation plan for the policy.