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OGI Launches Fund to Support Open Access to Genomics Publications

Toronto, May 19, 2010 – The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) has announced the launch of a new fund to support free and unrestricted access to scholarly research papers on genomics published in high impact journals.  The OGI Genomics Publication Fund (GPF) will contribute up to $3,000 per publication to genomics researchers in Ontario wishing to make their papers available as Open Access from the earliest date of publication. 

Open Access publication means providing access to material via the Internet in such a way that the material is free for all users to read and use.

The GPF, open to researchers at Ontario-based academic, industry or government institutions, has two aims:   to maximize facile, timely access to key genomics publications by all stakeholders (funders, the scientific community, students, teachers and other interested parties); and to increase the profile, visibility and citations of genomics research conducted in the province and published in top international journals.  OGI anticipates supporting up to 35 Open Access publications over the next 12 months, either reimbursing special fees charged by traditional publishers to make individual manuscripts Open Access from the earliest date of publication, or defraying publication costs for manuscripts published in Open Access journals. 

“This fund is the first of its kind in targeting potential high impact publications,” commented Dr. James Till, University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, winner of the Lasker Prize for his co-discovery of stem cells, and an advocate of long standing for Open Access to peer-reviewed research publications.  “OGI’s program is targeting those publications with the greatest potential reach.  Open sharing of knowledge should help to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and  to catalyze further research.” 

Examples of high impact journals on which the OGI GPF is focused include the Public Library of Science journals, Cell, The Lancet, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Genome Research and Science, among others.  Several leading life science research funders, such as the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust, require that publications resulting from research funded by them be made available Open Access.  Many journals, including Nature and Cell, have agreements with one or more of these funders to make any required publication Open Access within a defined time frame, either free of charge after a longer period or for a nominal fee beforehand.  Currently, though some Canadian funders have  policies requiring Open Access availability for publications reporting research they have supported ―  the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), for example, expects Open Access availability of such papers within six months of earliest date of publication ―  no Canadian funders have announced securing such agreements with the publishers of these journals.

“We hope that the launch of this fund will act as a catalyst for others to follow suit, and encourage funders, publishers and researchers to establish Open Access publication as the default practice,” commented Dr. Christian Burks, President and CEO of OGI.  “We will be monitoring this program, and looking for opportunities to enhance the rate of Open Access publication from Ontario researchers and other Canadian researchers.”

Applications for the GPF can be submitted any time and support will be given on a first come, first served basis. 

“An awful lot of people in the scientific community as well as the public have really been disenfranchised in their ability to access scientific literature,” commented Dr. Richard Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer of New England Biolabs, and winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of split genes, and a champion of Open Access.  “Many high schools, colleges, universities and small businesses simply don’t have the funds to access the totality of the world’s literature.  This has significant repercussions in terms of encouraging the future generation of scientists and supporting entrepreneurs, often integral in moving science forward.”

“The general public also doesn’t have easy access to publications, which is incredibly unjust considering it’s their tax dollars that are often funding research and indirectly paying for the literature through grants,” continued Dr. Roberts.  “Access will help the public understand what the current treatments are, what trials are taking place and what new medicines might be available to them.  OGI’s new program is one more step towards making open access the norm.” 

For more information on OGI’s GPF and application details, visit:  http://www.ontariogenomics.ca/research/ogi-genomics-publication-fund-gpf

For a more detailed description of Open Access literature and links to related information and sites, see:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/brief.htm

posted: 5/20/2010

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