Pan-Canadian Knowledge Access Initiative

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Launched in 2020, the Pan-Canadian Knowledge Access Initiative (PCKAI) is a special initiative that will provide greater access to scholarly publications to increase the discoverability and impact, in Canada and internationally, of Canadian social sciences and humanities research. The PCKAI will provide funding to move a current offering in the open access Canadian ecosystem forward to support both authors and journals from the social sciences and humanities community.

The initiative:

  • supports a partnership of stakeholders from the scholarly field nationwide with an interest in open access in their effort toward developing the outreach potential and visibility of a recognized platform that serves both official languages communities;
  • supports the production of incentives and research outputs encouraging journals and researchers to join the open access community;
  • supports compliance efforts of SSHRC-funded authors with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, by ensuring avenues for open publication and wide knowledge access for research results within Canada;
  • offers researchers access to a research repository and additional benefits offered by the open access environment; and
  • increases the diffusion and discoverability of SSHRC-funded journals that will be part of the platform.

Funding is valued at $1.5 million per year over six years, up to a total of $9 million. Funding can be awarded to the eligible applicant, Coalition Publica, pending the outcome of an independent merit review process. Coalition Publica is a partnership between Érudit and the Public Knowledge Project to advance research dissemination and digital scholarly publishing in Canada.

In 2019, as part of the PCKAI’s initial development and execution, an advisory/evaluation committee, composed of leading members from the social sciences and humanities scholarly community, was invited to express opinions on behalf of the community on the need for a pan-Canadian platform, and on its usefulness to widen support and knowledge access for social sciences and humanities authors and journals. The committee also validated the initiative’s objectives and process in its initial development stages. This same committee was invited to assess Coalition Publica’s application in the 2019 PCKAI competition.

Funding awarded through the PCKAI, including its renewal for the 2023-29 period, is subject to external merit review. SSHRC’s funding decision will be based on the recommendations of a multidisciplinary merit review committee, with relevant expertise, tasked with assessing Coalition Publica’ s grant application.

Members of merit review committees are listed on SSHRC’s website.

The following evaluation criteria apply to the PCKAI application, in conjunction with the good practice principles for scholarly communication services developed by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, as well as the principles outlined in the Roadmap for Open Science.

  • 1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):
    • originality, significance and expected contribution to open access, as well as support and development of social sciences and humanities research;
    • ability to harvest existing expertise in building talent and capacity;
    • ability to increase discoverability of open access knowledge;
    • appropriateness of the approach and proposed activities;
    • evidence of, and potential to build on, past progress, activities and outcomes; and
    • potential for the PCKAI to have influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community in Canada or at the international level.
  • 2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (40%):
    • appropriateness of the proposed timeline, and probability that the objectives will be met;
    • quality and genuineness of the partnership, associated management, and governance arrangements and leadership that allow community input on the direction of the service and operational governance;
    • expertise of the team and appropriateness of partner organizations in relation to the proposed objectives;
    • quality of the proposed contribution plan for leveraging cash and in-kind support from the host institution and/or from partner organizations;
    • quality and appropriateness of the proposed budget;
    • quality and appropriateness of the knowledge mobilization plans, including engagement with non-users of open access;
    • identification of progress indicators; and
    • potential sustainability and growth of the platform supported by the PCKAI.
  • 3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (20%):
    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs relative to the proposed objectives;
    • capacity to demonstrate proactive marketing strategies and interest in developing new business models; and
    • past experience in formal partnerships.

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information included. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

Grant holders must comply with the policies, regulations and guidelines governing grant applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. See the Open Access overview for more information. SSHRC also encourages researchers to manage data arising from their research in accordance with community standards and best practices (including the FAIR principles of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).

SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving Policy has been retired. In March 2021, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and SSHRC launched the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. As of April 1, 2021, this new policy replaces SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving Policy for all active grants.

Guidelines and related support material

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:

For more information, contact:

Toll-free: 1-855-275-2861

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