Professor says Tri-Council should fund open-access journals, not article processing fees

July 30, 2014

Dalhousie professor Julia M Wright considers some of the implications of a draft policy issued by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council that would require funded research to be available through Open Access (OA). Wright warns that the policy would transfer funds from federal research councils to multinational publishers. Because the policy allows research grants to cover the sometimes-exorbitant Article Processing Charges (APCs) imposed by some journals on researchers who want to make their work available online for free, Wright says that the policy could in fact enable these journals to impose fees that would otherwise not be affordable to many researchers. She adds that there are sometimes good reasons not to publish research in OA journals, especially for non-tenured scholars, and that OA journals can make it difficult or expensive to obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted material. She proposes that some of the funding could be better used to help Canadian journals convert to OA with minimal APCs to create “a haven for researchers dealing with per-article OA requirements on their grants” that would attract international as well as Canadian researchers. Academic Matters