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Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

The Policy

On February 27th, 2015 the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC) announced its Open Access Policy for peer-reviewed journal publications

The policy states:

"Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication."

The policy applies to:

  • NSERC or SSHRC grants awarded on or after May 1, 2015. 
  • CIHR grants awarded on or after January 1, 2008.

Researchers with grants awarded prior to these dates are encouraged to make their research freely accessible.

Consult the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Tri-Agency Policy Quick Answers! document for more information.


There are two routes authors can use to achieve compliance with the policy. These are described in full on the Publishing Open Access at Waterloo page.

The University of Saskatchewan Library also has a flowchart which describes how to comply.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications has a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions available. Below is a shortened list of FAQ’s relevant to University of Waterloo researchers.

  1. If I deposit my article in UW’s institutional repository, which version must be archived?

    The final, peer-reviewed, author accepted manuscript (the post-print) must be archived. Note that it does not need to include comments from the journal editors following peer review changes or the journal formatting, but must include all tables, figures, images and appendices.
  2. Does a personal or department website count as a repository?

    No, only posting the article to a personal or department website does not meet with Tri-Agency open access requirements. The article can be posted in such places, but it must also be in an institutional or subject repository or an open access journal. Note that through personal correspondence with a Tri-Agency spokesperson, the library has discovered that Research Gate is not considered an appropriate repository for compliance.
  3. Does the 12 months start from the e-pub date or the official publication date?

    The 12 months an author has to make their article open access starts from the official publication date, not the e-pub date.
  4. Will UWSpace be indexed, and by who?

    The UWaterloo institutional repository UWSpace will be indexed by Google Scholar and OpenDOAR.
  5. Does the policy apply to co-authored papers, or research that has multiple funding sources?

    Yes, if a Tri-Agency grant is used to fund the research, whether all or just part of the research, it must meet with the Policy’s open access requirements.


If you have any questions about achieving compliance with the policy, UWSpace, or have an urgent need to deposit a publication in a repository please contact: 

Jordan Hale
Digital Repositories Librarian.

Or your Subject Librarian.

If you have any questions about copyright compliance and author rights contact:

Lauren Byl
Copyright & Licensing Librarian