Open Access

Open Access

Approval Authority: Senate
Approval Date: 27 June 2019
Effective Date: 1 July 2019
Last Revised: 25 May 2019
  1. Purpose of An Open Access Policy
    1. The enduring goal of a university is to create and disseminate knowledge. York University is committed to disseminating the research performed at the University in ways that make it widely accessible, while protecting the intellectual property rights of its authors. This policy acknowledges:
      1. the need to promote open access to scholarship in keeping with global trends, national initiatives and institutional documents
      2. changes in technology offer opportunities for new forms of both creation and dissemination of scholarship
      3. open access offers opportunities for York to fulfill its mission of creating and preserving knowledge in a way that opens disciplinary boundaries and facilitates sharing knowledge more freely with the world while increasing visibility and access to research conducted at the University
      4. the requirement of the University to comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications [1]
  2. Principles and University Commitments
    1. Supporting External Commitments:
      1. In May 2015 the federal Tri-Agency granting agencies, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, adopted the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications [1], which mandates that all peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from Tri-Agency grants must be open access within 12 months of initial publication. It is the policy of York University to comply in full with the granting agencies’ requirements through this Policy on Open Access.
      2. York University also expresses its commitment to disseminate the results of research and scholarship as widely as possible in alignment with the 2012 Guidelines of the Budapest Open Access Initiative [2].
    2. Aligning with University Plans
      1. The University Academic Plan 2015-2020 (UAP) articulates a priority to Advancing Exploration, Innovation and Achievement in Scholarship, Research and related Creative Activities, under which a defined outcome is to “Expand open access to York research in order to enhance visibility, open disciplinary boundaries and facilitate sharing knowledge more freely with the world.” This Open Access Policy supports the advancement of the UAP priority.
      2. The 2016 Plan for the Intensification and Enhancement of Research (PIER) sets out recommendations designed to strengthen York University’s research enterprise. This Open Access Policy responds to the PIER recommendation that “York should develop transparent open access publishing and appropriate research data management policies that are inclusive and reflect the core values of the university.”
  3. Scope and Application
    1. This policy applies to scholarship and publications that are:
      1. Subject to Tri-Agency funding and Legislation that requires scholarship to be made available open access;
      2. Non Tri-Agency scholarship and publications except those where the faculty member or other researcher opts not to make their research available open access.
  4. Definitions
    1. Open Access: Open Access (OA) refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles, conference papers and books. Open Access content is open to all, with no access fees. In the context of this policy, Open Access refers to publishing scholarship in an open access publication (gold model) or ensuring the published work is made available through an open access repository (green model) such as YorkSpace.
    2. Scholarship: In the context of this policy, scholarship is defined as research outputs typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly articles, book chapters, and conference papers. Many products of faculty effort may not fall into this category: e.g. monographs and edited collections, newspaper and magazine articles, blogs and social media commentary, fiction and poetry, performances, artworks, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, software, or other such works.
    3. Repository: A repository is an online database of open access works. Repositories differ from websites in that they are optimized for machine-readability and online discovery and indexing. Institutional repositories, such as YorkSpace, aim to host the research output of an institution, while disciplinary or central repositories aim to host the research output of a field. [3]
  5. Policy and Guidelies
    1. Policy Statement
      1. As a publicly funded institution, York University is committed to ensuring the greatest possible scholarly and public access to the scholarship and creative works produced by the University community. In addition to securing the public benefit of such access, this policy is intended to serve the interests of researchers by promoting the greater reach and preservation of works and establishing norms and expectations around rights of authors and users in the context of rapidly changing technologies and publishing practices.
      2. The University values and protects the academic freedom of its researchers. It is not the function of this policy to alter the rights or privileges of individuals defined by collective agreements.
  6. Guidelines
    1. The Senate Policy on Open Access supports:
      1. the development and provision of resources to help faculty members benefit from the increased visibility of their scholarship resulting from Open Access publication;
      2. the deposit of scholarship in an open access digital repository such as YorkSpace, the University’s institutional repository or the Osgoode Digital Commons;
      3. the researcher’s individual choice on where they can publish, alongside supporting decisions that encourage free access; and
      4. discipline- and field-specific conventions that encourage tailored choices regarding Open Access publications.
    2. This policy does not, and is not meant to, address classes of work that lie outside the core forms of scholarship as defined in the context of this policy (Section 3). However, faculty members are urged to enhance the visibility and preservation of all research- related outputs and the democratization of knowledge by making these types of works, or excerpts of these works, available Open Access.
    3. Timelines
      1. Peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from Tri-Agency grants must be open access within 12 months of initial publication.
      2. Scholarly articles should be submitted to the repository as early as possible, ideally between the date of acceptance and the date of publication. If applicable, an embargo date can be set to meet publisher requirements.
    4. Exceptions to the Open Access Policy
      1. Exceptions to the Senate Policy on Open Access may be made for a particular work, or for a specified period of time, upon express direction in writing by an author or authors, and confirmed by the Dean of Libraries. However, the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications shall continue to hold as policy compliance is contractual upon receipt of funding.
  7. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. In accordance with its values and this policy, York University commits to make scholarship produced under its auspices freely available through open access. The commitment is realized by the collaboration of the University and its research community through a conscious choice to participate in the process of making its scholarship available without access restrictions.
    2. For greater specificity:
      1. York University continues to provide a trusted open access repository optimized for online discoverability, for preservation and dissemination of research produced by York faculty members and affiliated researchers, and provide the appropriate supports, including publishing and author rights consultation services, to enable its full utilization;
      2. Faculty members and other researchers affiliated with York University publish in an open access publication or deposit their scholarship in a trusted open access repository such as YorkSpace, Osgoode Digital Commons or an equivalent open access repository of their choice through a non-exclusive license.
    3. Under the direction of the Dean of Libraries, York University Libraries are charged with the responsibility of oversight of the YorkSpace open access digital repository.
    4. Oversight includes the role of preservation and dissemination of scholarship submitted to the repository to assist York’s scholars in meeting the open access policy and, if applicable, compliance with Tri-Agency open access requirements. The Libraries shall consult with the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation as appropriate in fulfilling this role.

[1] Government of Canada, Innovation. Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications - Science.Gc.Ca. Accessed 17 Mar. 2019.

[2] Budapest Open Access Initiative. Accessed 17 Mar. 2019

[3] Suber, Peter. Open Access. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2012


Legislative History: APPRC approval 30 May 2019 Senate approval 27 June 2019
Date of Next Review: The policy will be reviewed initially 12 months after implementation, thereafter in accordance with the [Senate protocol for the review of Senate policies.]
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: