Aid to Scholarly Journals Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does SSHRC define “immediate open access?”

Immediate open access is the immediate online availability of research outputs. For the purposes of the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, it applies to peer reviewed journal articles. Immediate open access can be either entirely free of charge, or offered through a fee charged to authors (known as “article processing fees” or “article processing charges”).

2. To which version of the article does the open access requirement apply?

The final published version (i.e., the version of record).

3. How does SSHRC define “delayed open access?”

Delayed open access is when research outputs are made available after an embargo period.

4. My journal currently does not offer immediate or delayed open access, but plans to transition to open access within two years. Can I request the higher per-article rate?

Yes, you can. You will be asked to submit a one-page transition plan with your application. The third year of funding will be put on hold until you confirm the transition has been made.

5. My journal has a moving wall of 12 months. Does this meet the Aid to Scholarly Journals eligibility requirement?

Yes, it does. A “moving wall” is another term for an “embargo period.”

6. My journal currently has an embargo period of greater than 12 months, but the plan is to reduce it to 12 months within the coming two years. Can I request the higher per-article rate?

Yes, you can. You will be asked to submit a one-page transition plan with your application. The third year of funding will be put on hold until you confirm the transition has been made.

7. My journal lets authors self-archive their articles in a repository. Does this meet the eligibility criteria for the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity?

No. This is typically called “green open access” and does not meet the new requirements for Aid to Scholarly Journals funding. However, if your journal plans to transition either to immediate open access or to delayed open access with a maximum 12-month embargo within two years of the grant start date, you may still apply. You will be asked to submit a one-page transition plan with your application. The third year of funding will be put on hold until you confirm the transition has been made.

8. Is my journal still eligible to apply for a grant if it does not use a Canadian, not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform?

Yes. Your journal is eligible to apply as long as it meets the Aid to Scholarly Journals eligibility criteria. Using a Canadian, not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform is not an eligibility criterion. However, it does determine a journal’s eligibility for the supplement of up to $5,000 per year.

9. If my journal plans to transition to a Canadian, not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform, can I request the supplement of up to $5,000 per year?

If your journal expects to transition to an eligible platform, you may request the supplemental funding for the year(s) following the transition. The grant payment will be put on hold until you confirm the transition has been made. The transition must be made and confirmed prior to payment of the third and final grant instalment.

10. Can my journal sell back issues?

Yes. The open access requirement only applies to issues published after the grant start date in March 2019. The requirement also applies to journals that do not comply with one of the eligible open access models at the time of application (i.e., those making use of the transition period). Once the transition has been made, issues published since March 2019 must be available.

11. I plan to publish more articles per year than I am able to enter in the “Funds Requested from SSHRC” module. What should I do?

Although you may indicate in your publication plan the actual number of articles your journal intends to publish, funds requested from SSHRC must not exceed the maximums allowed. You must, therefore, adjust the number of articles for which you are requesting SSHRC support to fit within the maximums.

12. My journal does not currently use an acceptable open access model, but intends to transition to one within a two-year period. What type of information should I include in the transition plan?

SSHRC recognizes that the timeframe for journals to develop a detailed transition plan prior to the Aid to Scholarly Journals application deadline is brief, and that journals are at different stages in exploring open access options. Journals that have not yet developed a detailed path for transitioning to an eligible open access model may include in their transition plan a description of the options their journal will explore, and detailed timelines for activities planned to meet the open access criteria within the two years.

13. My journal uses Open Journal Systems. Does it meet SSHRC’s definition of “platform?”

No. Open Journal Systems is a publishing software and does not meet SSHRC’s definition of a platform, as it does not host journals.