Posts Tagged CIHR

About the first phase of PMC Canada

As noted in a previous post, the first element of the PMC Canada system – the search interface – was launched in October 2009. It allows users to browse, search and download articles.The next element, a manuscript submission system, has been launched. Excerpts from a press release (dated April 28, 2010) that’s available via the website of National Research Council Canada:

PMC Canada supports CIHR’s Policy on Access to Research Outputs, which requires CIHR grant recipients to make their peer-reviewed publications freely accessible online within six months of publication. PMC Canada’s manuscript submission system will enable CIHR-funded researchers to deposit their peer-reviewed articles, exposing their research to a global audience and facilitating collaboration to advance scientific progress.


This first phase of PMC Canada includes a basic bilingual interface, a manuscript submission system for CIHR researchers and a bilingual help desk. Plans for the second phase of the repository will incorporate a customized web front-end along with enhanced reporting and alerting features for system funders and users. An advisory committee of Canadian health researchers and other stakeholders will guide PMC Canada’s future development.


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Preliminary data about CIHR-supported publications cited in PubMed

Technical Bulletin No. 372 of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) was posted on January 5, 2010. Excerpt:

Effective mid-October 2009, when a published article has an acknowledgement of funding support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), that information is added to the PubMed journal citation.

At present, a search using the country name alone (a search on ‘canada [gr]’) retrieves the relevant records, because CIHR is the only Canadian organization in the Grant Number field in PubMed at this time.

Thus, it’s now feasible to obtain, via PubMed, data that will provide  indicators of compliance with the Policy on Access to Research Outputs of the CIHR. This policy “applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward, which have received funding in whole or in part from CIHR“.

For example, the Advanced Search option in PubMed can be used to obtain an estimate of the total number of CIHR-supported publications with a publication date in the last 2 months of 2009. The result (search #1): 867.

Of these, links to ‘free full text’ were available for a total of (search#2): 82 (9.5% of 867). Of these 82 publications, 23 (28%) were published in PLoS ONE (search#3).

Analogous data can be obtained for several topics (such as ‘Cancer’). Total number of cancer-related (and CIHR-supported) publications with a publication date in the last 2 months of 2009 (search #4):  221. Number of these for which links to ‘free full text’ were available (search #5): 23 (10% of 221). Of these 23 publications, 7 (30%) were published in PLoS ONE (search #6). (The other 16 articles were distributed across 14 different journals).

Comment: As the Policy on Access to Research Outputs of the CIHR is implemented, one can expect to see an increase in the percentage of CIHR-supported publications (cited in PubMed) for which links to ‘free full text’ will be available. As noted in NLM Technical Bulletin No. 372:

A PubMed Central Canada manuscript submission system will be implemented in early 2010. This will be another source for grant information from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

(Note: the link to PMC Canada in the current version of NLM Technical Bulletin No. 372 is corrupted).

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More about PMC Canada

The webpage entitled: Update on PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada), at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) website, was modified on November 30, 2009. Excerpt:

The first element of the PMC Canada system-the search interface-was launched in October 2009. It allows users to browse, search and download articles.
A manuscript submission system is being developed for PMC Canada.

Also, there’s a section on “PMC Canada: Now Open for Business” by Andrea Szwajcer in the November 2009 issue [5-page PDF] of a newsletter from the St. Boniface Hospital Library (one of the University of Manitoba Libraries). An excerpt (from page 3 of the newsletter):

The digital platform to locate and access publications includes a basic and advanced search function for PMC Canada as well as alphabetical index list to search the PMC Journals by title. The manuscript submission system is not yet available but is promised “later this year”.
This webpage is a little deceiving as you may assume that if you do a search in the search box, you are limited to strictly Canadian publications or have that ability somehow. The reality is a little more disappointing. ….

Comment: Relevant information is available via the webpage for PMC International (PMCI). Excerpts:

To date, NLM has authorized two PMCI centers: UKPMC and PMC Canada.


Like the UKPMC, PMC Canada receives all of its content through the US PubMed Central.


With the introduction of PMC Canada, all current PMC participants have been asked for permission to make their PMC content available to the Canadian site. NLM will not redistribute a journal’s PMC content to PMC Canada without the explicit permission of the publisher. These permissions are included automatically in PMC agreements signed in June 2009 forwards.

So, all articles in PMC Canada that are marked “In PMC Canada” will also be available in US PMC. Those marked “Only in US PMC” aren’t currently available in PMC Canada because the publisher has not yet provided explicit permission for them also to be archived there.

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Canada joins PMC International

Canada Joins International Effort to Provide Access to Health Research:  “PubMed Central repository will open new pathway to Canadian health research“, News Release, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), July 6, 2009. [Connotea bookmark][FriendFeed entry]. Excerpt:

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI), and the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) have announced a three-way partnership to establish PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada). PMC Canada will be a national digital repository of peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature, including research resulting from CIHR funding. This searchable Web-based repository will be permanent, stable and freely accessible.

See also: PMC International (PMCI). Excerpt:

To date, NLM [US National Library of Medicine] has authorized two PMCI centers: UKPMC and PMC Canada.

Some background: PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) initiative, Kumiko Vezina, OA Librarian, September 17, 2008. Excerpt:

Before this [PMC Canada] can go forward, however, the second and final step of the agreement process must be completed. That would be for CISTI and CIHR to jointly approach the US National Library Medicine to co-sponsor the service, as a mirror site to PubMed Central therefore obtaining a 3-way agreement between CISTI, CIHR and the US National Library of Medicine to ‘officially’ enter into the PubMed Central International (PMCI) network. Once the final agreement is in place, development will begin on the first phase of PMC Canada thus enabling CIHR researchers to deposit their publications into PubMed Central.

More background information is available from the NRC-CISTI Partnership Development Office. (The current version of this webpage was last updated on February 12, 2009).

Comment: It’s good news that the 3-way partnership is now in place. The initial release of PMC Canada is expected to be available in the fall of 2009.

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FRSQ policy on OA

Stevan Harnad, Heather Morrison and Peter Suber have noted the Policy regarding open access to published research outputs of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) [version in French]. They didn’t comment on the Guiding Principles of the policy:

This Policy is based on four guiding principles that, together, underpin the concept of open access to research outputs:

Academic freedom – The Policy recognizes the importance of academic freedom as a means of advancing knowledge. It reaffirms the complete independence of researchers in determining the relevance of distributing research outputs and the means used to do so.

Use and development of research outputs – The Policy supports researchers in furthering the use and development of research outputs through distribution, transfer, translation or commercialization. It particularly encourages the dissemination of knowledge to the scientific community and to output users.

Compliance with ethical standards – The Policy requires compliance with the highest standards in matters of research ethics and the protection of personal information. Beyond the relevant legal and regulatory standards, it insists on the importance of transparent and fair action with the populations participating in a study or likely to be affected by the results. Furthermore, the Policy also reiterates the importance of adherence to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) standards for research, when animals are used in experiments.

Harmonization of rules – The Policy ensures harmonization of standards and practices among health research funding agencies. It also takes into account Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requirements in order to prevent needless overlap and to facilitate Policy implementation by researchers.

Note this commitment, in the 4th principle, “to prevent needless overlap and to facilitate Policy implementation by researchers” by taking into account “Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requirements“. [CIHR Policy].

A prediction: Further efforts at harmonization of the OA policies of Canadian funding agencies will be on hold until PubMed Central Canada is up and running. (For updates on PMC Canada, see the website of NRC-CISTI’s Partnership Development Office).

This prediction could, of course, be regarded as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the the locus of deposit for Green OA to peer-reviewed research publications. For a recent contribution to this debate, see: Authors: I don’t care where you deposit, just do it, Gavin Baker, A Journal of Insignificant Inquiry, February 5, 2009. (Found via: Against the primacy of IRs, Gavin Baker, Open Access News, February 6, 2009). Please note, in particular, the last sentence of the post dated February 5:

The ultimate goal is opening all research, regardless of where the authors work or who funded the research.

Another minor comment: Note that “open access” in French is “libre accès”. So, how to translate “libre OA” into French? (“Libre OA” is the kind of OA which removes price barriers and at least some permission barriers, see: Gratis and libre open access, Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, August 2, 2008). My own opinion is that the “gratis OA-libre OA” nomenclature is very useful for discussions among advocates of OA, but isn’t yet widely appreciated.

For this reason, I’m currently using the term “publicly accessible” instead of “gratis OA” in posts to my other blog, Cancer Stem Cell News. My CSC News blog has a primary focus on cancer stem cells (although a secondary objective is to foster awareness of OA among those interested in cancer stem cells). I’ve used the term “open access” only in relation to “libre OA” (in accordance with the definition that was included in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, February 14, 2002).

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Information session: CIHR’s public access policy

See: “Access to Research Outputs“, Geoff Hynes, November 4, 2008 (PDF version of his PowerPoint presentation at the University of Ottawa. Presentation notes are included).

Found via: uOttawa Library LibGuides section on CIHR Policy. See also the section on Open Access.

Added November 26, 2008: The link to the presentation hasn’t been stable, so it’s been archived by WebCite® at (on November 26th, 2008).

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Clumsy solutions point the way to OA?

There’s a thought-provoking column, entitled: The best way to solve our biggest problem: Be clumsy, by Doug Saunders, in The Globe and Mail, September 22, 2007. Excerpt:

When governments face big, nasty problems, they hear contradictory stories from citizens: a) “We need to be forced to change our behaviour;” b) “We need to have regulations to keep things under control;” c) “We need to spend some money on an alternative;” d) “This isn’t a problem at all and you shouldn’t get in our way.” Most times, leaders will choose one of these stories and find a solution that fits it.

The Clumsies argue that our leaders mistakenly strive for elegance, which “means pursuing just one of these stories and, in the process, silencing the other voices.” More often than not, they say, better solutions can be found by giving each of the stories, however contradictory, a piece of policy.

The “Clumsies” are identified in the column as those whose manifesto is the book Clumsy Solutions for a Complex World, edited by Marco Verweij and Michael Thompson.

The focus of Doug Saunders’ column is on “the most pressing issue of our age – climate change“. He argues that “There are some fundamental paradoxes in the climate-change problem that make any single solution self-defeating“.

As is pointed out in the Bangalore Declaration [PDF]:

The resolution of many of the world’s problems, such as emerging infectious diseases, environmental disasters, HIV/AIDS or climate change, cannot be achieved without incorporation of the research from developing countries into the global knowledge pool.

Complex problems such as these require the cooperation of many people in the research and development process. OA provides a powerful framework for co-operation. (Excerpted from The Future of Science is Open, Part 1: Open Access, Bill Hooker, 3 Quarks Daily, October 30, 2006).

Might some paradoxes posed by the open access movement also defy any single solution?

An example is provided by a conflict between two recommendations in the European Research Advisory Board Final Report, Scientific Publication: Policy on Open Access, (EURAB 06.049), December 2006. The first recommendation is:

1. The publication policy should not compromise the freedom of scientists to publish wherever they feel is most appropriate.

The fourth recommendation is:

4. EURAB recommends that the Commission should consider mandating all researchers funded under FP7 to lodge their publications resulting from EC-funded research in an open access repository as soon as possible after publication, to be made openly accessible within 6 months at the latest.

These recommendations are also included in: EURAB’s Proposed OA Mandate: Strongest of the 20 Adopted and 5 Proposed So Far, Stevan Harnad, Open Access Archivangelism, January 15, 2007.

But, how to deal with journals, such as those of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), when its copyright policies do not permit OA within 6 months? (At the SHERPA/RoMEO website, search for information on copyright policies & self-archiving for the publisher American Association for Cancer Research).

If an author, following recommendation #1, chooses to publish in an AACR journal, and is not able to obtain a waiver of the AACR copyright policies (e.g. via mutual acceptance of an appropriate Author Addendum), then recommendation #4 (OA within 6 months) cannot be achieved without violation of this particular publisher’s copyright policy.

What to do? A solution (a somewhat “clumsy” one?) is to permit some violations of recommendation #4, but only via an acceptance of what Peter Suber has called the “dual deposit/release strategy“, and Stevan Harnad has called the “immediate deposit / optional access” strategy. (The latter ID/OA strategy has a focus on University-based Institutional Repositories). An excerpt from the ID/OA version of this strategy:

The deposit — of the author’s final, peer-reviewed draft of all journal articles, in the author’s own Institutional Repository (IR) — is required immediately upon acceptance for publication, with no delays or exceptions. But whether access to that deposit is immediately set to Open Access or provisionally set to Closed Access (with only the metadata, but not the full-text, accessible webwide) is left up to the author, with only a strong recommendation to set access as Open Access as soon as possible (immediately wherever possible, and otherwise preferably with a maximal embargo cap at 6 months).

Please note the word “preferably” in the final part of this excerpt. This permits an author to avoid violating copyright.

Another excerpt from the ID/OA version of this strategy:

[In the meanwhile, if there needs to be an embargo period, the IR software has a semi-automated EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST button that allows any would-be user to request (by entering their email address and clicking) and then allows any author to provide (by simply clicking on a URL that appears in the eprint request received by email) a single copy of the deposited draft, by email, on an individual basis …

Another somewhat “clumsy” strategy? (Perhaps, but it’s one that does provide a solution, by permitting recommendation #1 to prevail over recommendation #4, while still providing a means for individual readers to obtain access).

The CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs involves a conflict in principles somewhat analogous to the one outlined above (in relation to the 1st and 4th EURAB recommendations). The first of CIHR’s “guiding principles” is:

* Committing to academic freedom, and the right to publish;

The fifth “guiding principle” is:

* Effective diffusion of research results;

Stevan Harnad’s advocacy of an IR-deposition strategy for CIHR is provided in his blog post No Need for Canadian PubMed Central: CIHR Should Mandate IR Deposit, Stevan Harnad, Open Access Archivangelism, June 10, 2007.

See CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs for some additional comments about the policy.

My own view? The CIHR access policy and its implementation will evolve (and, in doing so, may utilize a variety of “clumsy” solutions).

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CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs

The Policy on Access to Research Outputs of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was posted on September 4, 2007.

A press release: Open access to health research publications: CIHR unveils new policy.

Heather Morrison was, I think, the first blogger to post an item about the policy: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Policy on Access to Research Outputs.

Other blog posts:

Peter Suber, in Open Access News: OA mandate at the CIHR.

Michael Geist: CIHR Introduces New Open Access

Stevan Harnad: Canada’s CIHR: 31st to Adopt a Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate.

Alexandre Enkerli: Open Access in Canada: CIHR Weighs In.

Stephen Downes: CIHR Introduces New Open Access Policy.

Bayman (a graduate student in a cancer lab in Ottawa, Canada): Canadian Institutes of Health Research Moves to Back Open Access Science.

The next step: implementation of the policy.

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