The team at Érudit has had the opportunity to explore various aspects of the scientific publishing environment during its recent tour of France. After a series of presentations and meetings, three themes emerged as being particularly worthy of our attention.
1. Funding Diamond Open Access
The continued effort to strengthen financial models for diamond open access has been the subject of many discussions. Indeed, this model creates a way to disseminate research results in an open, fair and sustainable manner, with no access fees for readers nor publishing fees for authors. The Partnership for Open Access (POA), which we established in Canada in 2014 with the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), is part of that movement. It rests on two pillars: direct financial support from academic libraries to scholarly journals, and collaboration among various stakeholders to create a publication ecosystem based on fair and sustainable open access.
Today, French academic libraries represent an essential pillar of this model, with 35 partner institutions. Since 2018, through the POA, Érudit and the members of the Couperin network have been supporting more than 200 scholarly journals, a majority of which publish in diamond open access. The exchanges we had with various librarians in France were very promising for the renewal of our agreement in the next few years. Several librarians in France have indeed expressed their appreciation for the collection of scholarly journals disseminated through the erudit.org platform, particularly the richness of the French-language scientific corpus being offered.
2. Discoverability of National Scholarly Journals
The visibility and discoverability of scientific publications are issues which often come up during discussions on scientific publishing. That was the theme of the Journée d’étude (November 13–14, Lyon) being proposed by the Mir@bel2022 project, with the objective of “sparking a collective discussion and enabling journal editors, publishers in the broadest sense of the world, and publishing support services to develop a referencing strategy.” We were able to present the agreements established with French organizations to promote Québec and Canadian scholarly journals, including Mir@bel, Persée and Isidore. Crossing geographic borders, these initiatives heighten the visibility of scientific publications, which promotes a fruitful exchange of ideas and support for science in French.
The celebrations around the 20th anniversary of Persée (November 10, Lyon) fit in the same dynamic, while proposing a return to the project’s roots. Indeed, Persée has been a partner to Érudit since the start, as they share technological solutions and dynamics when it comes to collaborating with journal teams. The Persée platform, which offers access to over a million scientific documents, is currently working with leading-edge research teams on the digital exploitation of these large textual corpora. The innovations presented on that day, notably the Collex-Persée project, highlighted the possibilities that these new technologies provide.
3. Strong Communities in Service of Open Science
For several years now, we have been witnessing the academic and public sectors working to take scientific publishing back. By helping journals transition to open access and by offering the necessary support for the adoption of publishing best practices, academic libraries play a vital role in this reappropriation.
The 4th edition of Journées Repères (November 22–24, Rennes) provided the opportunity for us to better understand the dynamics at work in journal incubators in France. The collaborative approach and exchange of ideas that occurred over these days were very stimulating. The issues around publishing chains took centre stage, with the use of tools such as Métopes, OJS or even Stylo. The presentation of the Partenariat des Bibliothèques universitaires du Québec provided an opportunity to bridge the gap between Québec and French initiatives aimed at supporting scientific publishing.
In conclusion, this tour of France allowed for an exploration of different perspectives on the evolution of the scientific publication environment. We return convinced that collaborative efforts between France and Canada will continue to flourish in the next few years, based on values of openness and mutual understanding.