Title of Study: Natural Health Product Researchers’ Attitudes and Opinions towards Open Access Publishing and a New Field-Specific Journal


Mr. Jeremy Y. Ng, MSc, PhD Student, Principal Investigator
Doctoral Student, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Address: Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, McMaster University, MDCL-2112, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1 Canada

Dr. Pierre S. Haddad, PhD, Co-Investigator
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal
Address: Bureau R-410, Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, C.P. 6128 – Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7 Canada
Phone: (514)-343-6590 or (514)-343-2291

Dr. Kieran Cooley, ND, Co-Investigator
Director of Research, Department of Research, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Address: 1255 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M2K 1E2 Canada
Phone: (416)-498-1255 x324

Dr. Frederick D. Ashbury, PhD, Co-Investigator
Adjunct Professor, Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Address: Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M6 Canada
Phone: (416)-294-5368

You are invited to participate in a research study that investigates the attitudes and opinions of natural health product (NHP) researchers towards open access publishing and a new peer-reviewed, open access scholarly journal, the Journal of Natural Health Product Research ( focused on publishing NHP-related research. We recognize that “natural health product” is a largely Canadian term and depending on your country of affiliation, you may use a different term to comprise the study of products such as vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, traditional medicines (i.e. traditional Chinese medicines), or probiotics, among others, however, as long as you are a researcher of one or more NHPs you are eligible to participate. An introductory editorial describing the objectives of the journal in more detail can be found at and a recently published protocol for this study can be found at This study was reviewed by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HIREB) ( and was deemed to be exempt from their oversight. The HIREB is responsible for ensuring that participants are informed of the risks associated with the research, and that participants are free to decide if participation is right for them.

As academic journals from commercial subscription-based publishers have grown in number, academic researchers are often required to transfer their copyright to the publisher in order to publish their research article. As a result of this, even many prestigious university libraries can no longer afford institutional subscription costs to access these articles despite most academic research being funded by public funds. Open access publishing was proposed as a solution to the traditional subscription-based model, whereby authors are allowed to retain copyright to their own article, and for a one-time article processing fee, it is publically available to anyone for free. Accompanying the rapid increase in open access journals, questions have arisen regarding whether the open access model is more advantageous to researchers and knowledge consumers compared to the traditional subscription-based model in terms of citations, downloads, and ensuring readers have equal access to articles regardless of economic circumstance. That being said, this publishing model is promising as an increasingly number of new journals are emerging under the open access model, and many existing journals are also offering an open access publishing option to their authors.

We are conducting this survey to gain a deeper understanding of the NHP researcher demographic internationally, and seek to use this information to improve the journal, and operate with an ethical business model. As such, questions regarding NHP research in relation to open access journals is key to determining what changes can be implemented to optimally benefit NHP researchers’ experience in publishing in an open access journal centered around (one of) their primary research interest(s). What we learn as a result of this research study may also benefit you as an NHP researcher, as we intend on publishing our study’s findings, thereby allowing you to learn more about your colleagues’ attitudes towards and knowledge of open access publishing. Furthermore, by participating in this survey, you will be contributing to the improvement of a new NHP research journal that has been created for your benefit allowing you to disseminate your research in the first central publication to connect NHP researchers internationally.


We identified you as a potential participant based on publically available information on the internet, such as through one of your publications or faculty webpage. Eligible participants are English-speaking, NHP researchers, from anywhere in the world. If you are an eligible participant and consent to participating in the study, we would appreciate your help in completing our questionnaire.

As a participant in this research project, you will be asked to do the following: complete the questionnaire online through SurveyMonkey. Completing the questionnaire will request background and demographic information such as your name, address of primary affiliation, institution, position, research history, and specific NHP-related research interests. It will also ask for information regarding your understanding and experience with open access journals, as well as gather your suggestions on how to improve a new, field-specific journal. This information will be collected to help us understand NHP researchers’ perceptions of open access publishing and gauge their interest in a new, field-specific journal.

Your participation in completing the questionnaire will take approximately 20 minutes. Participation is completely voluntary and there will not be any remuneration (payment, reward, prize, honorarium) for participating. Participation in this research study is voluntary and not binding. If you choose to participate, you may decline or withdraw from participation and you are free to ask that the data from your survey responses be removed from the study/destroyed at any time before this data is published without negative consequences.


We do not anticipate that this survey will present any known harms, risks or discomforts.

As you are only to read and respond to the questions outlined in the survey, this poses no risk of physical harm. The questionnaire also does not ask personal questions that may cause any emotional discomfort, eliminating the risk for psychological harm. Additionally, there are no social risks as you will not be identified after completing the survey. While there may be an understandable self-imposed pressure to participate in the survey or attach judgement-value-based associations regarding non-disclosure, the informed consent will take steps to normalize non-participation and non-disclosure in a manner to reduce any of these potential risks.


Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and protect your privacy. We will not use your name or any information that would allow you to be identified in any presentation or publication that results from this study. Given that you are a NHP researcher, we would appreciate the opportunity to involve you in the journal and one of the study investigators may follow up with you, however, you may indicate in the survey itself if you do not wish to be contacted. In the highly unlikely event that this research information is required by court, you will be notified by a member of this study team. All information provided by participants will be locked and only members of the research team will have access to it.

All investigators’ contact information has been provided above. Should you choose to participate in the research, you can contact one of us at any time during the research project with any questions that you may not have yet considered or to verify the accuracy of this information letter.

By clicking "Next" at the bottom of the page, I understand that I have been given the opportunity to discuss pertinent aspects of the research study, to ask questions, and hereby consent to participate in the project outlined. I acknowledge receipt of this consent form.

If you agree with the terms and conditions above, please click “Next” below to begin the survey. We thank you for your participation!