Public Funding and Open Access to Research: A Review of Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Research

Caitlin Bakker, Carol A. Stephenson, Erin Stephenson, Debbie Chaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive demyelinating disease of the brain and spinal cord, is the leading cause of nontraumatic neurological damage in young adults. Canada has one of the highest reported incidents of MS, with estimates between 55 and 240 per 100,000 individuals. Between 2009 and 2014, the MS Society of Canada provided over Can $90 million to researchers and, since 2013, has encouraged researchers to make both current and previous research products openly available.
Objective: The goal of the study was to determine the open access (OA) cost implications and repository policies of journals frequently used by a sample of MS researchers. This study benchmarked current publishing preferences by MS Society of Canada researchers by examining the OA full-text availability of journal articles written by researchers funded between 2009 and 2014.
Methods: Researchers were identified from the 2009 to 2014 annual MS Society of Canada Research Summaries. Articles were identified through searches in Web of Science, Scopus, Medline and Embase (both via OVID). Journal level analysis included comparison of OA policies, including article processing charges (APCs) and repository policies. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: There were 758 articles analyzed in this study, of which 288 (38.0%) were OA articles. The majority of authors were still relying on journal policies for deposit in PubMed Central or availability on publisher websites for OA. Gold OA journals accounted for 10.2% of the journals in this study and were associated with significantly lower APCs (US $1900) than in hybrid journals (US $3000). Review of the journal self-archiving options highlighted the complexity of stipulations that authors would have to navigate to legally deposit a version of their article.
Conclusions: This study found that there are currently researcher- and publisher-imposed barriers to both the gold and green roads to OA. These results provide a current benchmark against which efforts to enhance openness can be measured and can serve as a reference point in future assessments of the impact of OA policies within this field. With funding agencies worldwide releasing OA mandates, future success in compliance will require changes to how researchers and publishers approach production and dissemination of research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e52
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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