Open Access

As of May 1st, 2015, open access is mandated by the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

Open access refers to scholarly research that is made freely available on the internet. In a scholarly environment, open access often focuses on journal articles.

How do I comply with the Tri-Agency Policy?

To find out, use the Open Access Interactive Tool

Guide to Open Access

Open access is a growing international movement that continues to gain momentum worldwide. Based on the principle that all research should be freely accessible online after publication, open access removes barriers that once restricted public access to scholarly research and knowledge.

The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications has required all researchers funded by NSERC, SSHRC, or CIHR from May 1, 2015 to make their peer-reviewed journal articles freely available online within 12 months of publication.

The compliance requirements for health researchers have not changed, but CIHR-funded researchers must now refer to the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

Several funding agencies already mandate open access. Visit SHERPA/JULIET, a database of research funders' open access policies, to learn more.

McMaster University Senate recently passed a motion to sign the Berlin Declaration encouraging McMaster researchers to make their work open access.

Open access journals make research freely available online to anyone with access to the internet.

It can provide immediate, public access to research funded by taxpayers.

Open access means greater dissemination of knowledge, a larger research impact, and potential for higher citation rates. Evidence for increased citations with open access can be found at the Open Access Citation Advantage Service website.

Altmetric tools such as ORCID, are available to help track your research impact with accuracy.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): provides access to full text, quality controlled, scholarly open access journals in a variety of disciplines.

  • MacSphere: An online institutional repository of McMaster’s open access scholarly output.

  • OpenDOAR: A global directory of open access institutional or subject-based repositories

Many open access journals are peer-reviewed. Most self-archived articles have also been peer-reviewed.

Open access is free to users, but all publishing has a cost. A number of business models support open access publishing.
Some open access journals charge a publishing fee to offset these costs.

Some open access journals charge authors a publishing fee. Many non-open access journals also make page or author charges in addition to subscription charges to readers. The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy identifies the cost of publishing as an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds

Use SHERPA/JULIET to find more info about research funders’ open access policies

McMaster University does not offer grants for Author Processing Charges (APC). However, researchers at McMaster are currently eligible for some open access publishing discounts as a benefit of subscriptions paid for by the McMaster University Libraries. To learn more about the discounts, please see the Library Support for Open Access web page.

Funding Sources - Some granting agencies allow author costs as an eligible expense. Grant opportunities and their related policies can be accessed through the following websites:

  • ROADS (Research Office for Administration, Development and Support)

  • HRS (Health Research Services)

The purpose of an IR is to bring together all of a University's research under one umbrella, with an aim to preserve and provide access to that research. The research and scholarly output included in MacSphere has been selected and deposited by the individual university departments and centres on campus.

  • Provides persistent URLs

  • Provides long-term preservation of materials.

  • Contents are indexed in search engines such as Google and Google Scholar

  • Exposes literature to a worldwide audience which may transfer to higher impact or citation rates for authors.

  • Most repositories comply with the Open Archives Initiatives (OAI) standards. These standards used for digital content enhance the searchability and the visibility of materials

Yes. McMaster’s repository is called MacSphere.

Login to MacSphere with your MAC ID and password, and submit your article to the collection that corresponds to your department. Before doing so, ensure that you have the proper permissions, as explained below.

Questions? Email

Yes, however, before you submit your article to MacSphere, ensure that you have the copyright permissions to do so. Consult SHERPA/RoMEO, a database of publishers’ policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles on the web or online repositories. You may have the right to include some but not all versions of your article (e.g. pre-print, post-print, or published version). Also, confirm your copyright permissions with your publisher.

PMC Canada only accepts peer-reviewed submissions from CIHR funded Principal Investigators. If you meet this criteria, get a  PMC Canada Manuscript Submission System Account by contacting the CIHR Help Desk.

More about PubMedCentral Canada (PMC Canada):

Yes, you may deposit your manuscript into an institutional or research repository if one exists at the author’s home institution. In McMaster’s case, the repository is MacSphere. You may also deposit your manuscript into a subject repository if one exists in your discipline. To find out, search OpenDOAR

What are the Publishers Copyright & Self Archiving Policies?

SHERPA/RoMEO - a database of publishers’ copyright policies and a colour guide to publisher's open access and archiving permissions

Wish to retain more control over copyright? Consider the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum:

  • Allows authors to retain select rights such as reproduction, reuse, and public presentation of their published articles for non-commercial purposes.

  • Helps Canadian researchers comply with granting council public access policies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Policy on Access to Research Outputs.

  • Reflects Canadian copyright law

  • Adapted from the SPARC Author Addendum.

Alternatively use the wording in the template below (provided by the Government of Canada):

[Journal] acknowledges that the researcher will be entitled to archive an electronic copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript for inclusion in (name of repository). Manuscripts archived with (name of repository) may be made freely available to the public, via the internet, within twelve months of the official date of final publication in the journal.

More information about authors’ rights:

Questions? Email

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Open Access Interactive Tool, Outcome Documents, and Promotional Materials by McMaster University Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.