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Caring for Scholarly Journals: Unveiling Recommendations to Preserve and Strengthen French-Language Scholarly Publishing

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Québec and Canadian scholarly journals are operating in an environment undergoing profound changes, which threaten their vitality and even their very existence. A series of concrete recommendations aimed at contributing to the future of scholarly publishing was unveiled on Monday, May 13, 2024, during a special activity organized for the 91st edition of the Congrès de l’Acfas.

An Essential but Under-recognized Role

There are around 800 scholarly journals in Canada, with 160 in Québec, publishing several thousand articles each year. By providing diverse perspectives and rigorous analysis, these journals play an essential role in the dissemination of research, notably about realities in Québec and Canada. Their contributions are fundamental to informed decision-making and a thorough understanding of the issues of our time. However, these journals are evolving in a tense environment, dominated by an oligarchy composed of a few large international publishers who prioritize profits over knowledge dissemination, and who impose practices that favour English-language publications, leading to an increased anglicization of scientific exchanges and the marginalization of other languages, including French.

“Canadian scholarly journals are jewels of our scientific and intellectual heritage: they reveal the very high quality of the research being done here and the tremendous contribution of our research communities to advancing knowledge, notably in French” explains Sophie Montreuil, Director of the Acfas. “In that regard, they are without a doubt the leading edge for the discoverability of knowledge in French.”

Community Propositions

The Symposium québécois des revues savantes was organized by the Acfas and Érudit as a response to these considerations. The event, held in Montréal in the fall of 2023, brought together numerous journal editors and librarians to discuss the issues currently at play in scholarly publishing. A series of recommendations came out of these discussions which were publicly presented on Monday, May 13 during a special activity organized for the 91st edition of the Congrès de l’Acfas.

According to Anne-Marie Fortier, Director of the Études littéraires journal and a member of the Symposium’s steering committee, “the discussions that took place at the Symposium focused, among other subjects, on the importance of a better recognition of the various roles that journals play in the research cycle. The recommendations provide several concrete solutions, notably to reassert the essential role that journals play in ensuring the dissemination of knowledge in French as well as the access to it.”

These recommendations are addressed to various stakeholders in the research ecosystem and aim at contributing to the vitality of our journals and, consequently, to the visibility of the research done by the various Québec and Canadian scholarly communities. Increased support from universities, granting agencies, libraries and digital infrastructure platforms is one path to supporting journals during this period of great change. Developing discoverability strategies is another important tool to increase the national and international reach of local scholarly journals.

Québec and Canadian journals are fundamental to the advancement of knowledge about our society, and a pillar of our scientific heritage. It is therefore essential that these journals be provided with a reliable form of support”, concludes Tanja Niemann, Executive Director, Érudit.

An overview of the recommendations is available on-line and can be shared freely.

Informations :

About Érudit

With over 5 million users a year, Érudit is Canada’s leading platform for disseminating research in the humanities and social sciences. With the support of an inter-university consortium, it offers a wide range of digital publishing and dissemination services for the scientific and cultural sectors.

About the Acfas

For the last 100 years, the Acfas has been at the heart of the great adventure that is French-language research in Québec and Canada. Resolutely looking toward the future, it acts as a powerful vector for scientific democratization and communication. It promotes researchers from every field, as well as excellence in research.