Open Access:

  • What is Open Access?

Open access is a system that allows anyone to have free, unrestricted access to scholarly research results. It is based on the principle that research and knowledge are universal common goods that address essential collective needs.


There are two main categories of open access for research dissemination: green open access and gold open access.

In green open access, also known as self-archiving, authors deposit their articles in repositories created by their affiliated institutions or university libraries. In this model, journals are open access or subscription-based.

In gold open access, journals are full open access. They are funded by subsidies (government grants, support from research institutions, etc.), author contributions (often referred to as article processing charges [APCs]), or the sale of additional services (Freemium).

Finally, among major funding agencies in the US and Europe, a third category has emerged: diamond open access. In this model, a future is foreseen in which all scientific content is published in digital format and open access from the outset. The “diamond way” removes the burdens of the APC model, moving walls, and embargoes, which are seen as barriers to the sharing of new knowledge.

Our partnership is pursuing a new sustainable and fair open access model: financial support and open access dissemination by university libraries.



  • Who are the partners?

The partnership was signed in 2014 by the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) and the Érudit platform.

­- the CRKN is a network of universities committed to expanding digital content for academic research activities in Canada.

- Érudit is a non-profit consortium (Université de Montréal, Université Laval, and UQAM) and the largest digital disseminator of French-language and bilingual research results in Canada.

  • Who are the major stakeholders?

- the 53 member Canadian libraries of the CRKN are committed to supporting scholarly journals and open access publishing. The list is available here

- the 107 scholarly journals published on Érudit are supported by this agreement. Titles are available here.

  • What is the open access model adopted by the partnership?

Our model aims for a sustainable and balanced transition of journals to open access. A series of actions was taken to encourage flexible evolution of the publishing process and ensure financial viability in both the short and long term.

  • What actions have been taken by the partnership to promote open access?

- Lowering of the moving wall for all subscription journals on the Érudit platform. Subscription journals on Érudit have a 24-month embargo. The partnership will lower the embargo to 12 months at the end of 2016, increasing the number of full open access journals. It will also enable journals to comply with most national and international open access policies.

- Financial help for full open access journals. The 53 libraries of the partnership have agreed to create a fund for the 25 open access journals on Érudit that will help finance their publishing activities.

- Strategic support for scholarly journals transitioning to full open access. Érudit provides individual support to journals transitioning from subscription-based to open access dissemination. As such, between 2014 and 2016, four journals on Érudit transitioned to open access, in addition to the three full open access journals that joined the platform during the partnership.

  • What are the national and international impacts of the partnership?

The partnership helps journals comply with national and international policies regarding open access. In particular, it meets the requirements of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR), whereby all publicly funded researchers must publish their work in open access or with a maximum 12-month embargo.

By promoting open access of research results, the partnership contributes to reducing the economic disparities regarding access to knowledge and to disseminating Canadian research beyond geographic and linguistic borders.

  • How is the partnership FUNDED?

The partnership is funded by the 53 Canadian university libraries that signed the agreement.

  •  What are the economic benefits of the partnership?

The partnership provides a new way to help fund Canadian scholarly journals in a context of shrinking library acquisition budgets, and is an alternative to the financial pressure put on university libraries by big commercial publishers.

  • How revenues will be distributed?

Ninety percent of partnership funds are allocated to journal content (digital publishing, dissemination, and preservation). The remaining 10% is allocated to the maintenance and development of services to libraries (search engine, web analytics, harvesting of metadata, etc.).

  • What are the benefits for researchers?

The partnership enables publicly funded Canadian researchers to comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

In promoting the “diamond way,” the Érudit/CRKN partnership dispenses with the author-pays (APC) model for publishing in open access journals.

Finally, the Érudit platform allows researchers affiliated with partner institutions to mine data, which is an essential practice in digital humanities.

  • How can the partnership be strengthened for the future?

To strengthen the partnership, three development areas have been identified:

- Opening the partnership to international library consortia. Journals supported by the partnership are consulted in many countries. Érudit aims to open the partnership to institutions abroad, including those in the US and France, which are the two main consulting countries, with the exception of Canada.

- Increasing the number of full open access journals supported by the agreement. Following the success of the first phase of the partnership, the number of Canadian journals supported by the agreement should increase in the next phase of the partnership.

- Strengthen the new business model to ensure and increase journal revenues. The partnership’s business model will continue to evolve to be increasingly representative of the needs of libraries and journals.