Open access was defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative, February 14, 2002:
By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. (http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml, Accessed: Feb. 3, 2009)
As the Government of Canada’s principal funders of research and scholarship in the higher education sector, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) actively promote a collaborative, vibrant and innovative research enterprise in Canada. Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing scholarship, promoting intellectual inquiry and critical analysis, and applying knowledge to ensure that practical solutions are found to challenges facing Canadians.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has issued an Intellectual Property Advisory advising scholars to retain their copyright.
Use the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum to ensure you retain your author copyright and afford the widest possible distribution and impact for your scholarly work. See their excellent two minute YouTube movie about the reasons for and ways of retaining individual author rights: