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Research notes and references

Here you can find documents produced by our team as part of the exploration and exchange of ideas on the development of scholarly publishing, the digital dissemination of research and culture, and the open science movement.

Recommendations from the Symposium québécois des revues savantes

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

The Challenge of Internationalization

This note aims to probe into the social, political, and scientific issues that can be uncovered within the current trends surrounding the internationalization of social sciences and humanities journals.

We will be giving special attention to the context of Canada and Québec, while also considering other countries.

What makes a scholarly journal happy?

To function, scholarly journals require certain resources, notably financial means. On the ground, this reality leads to this ever-present question: how much budget is necessary for a journal to keep operating in an open access environment? However, a closer analysis shows that budgetary criteria are not the sole predictors of whether a journal runs well, which depends greatly on the environment in which it operates. In other words, scientific publishing is not split between “poor and flawed” journals on one side, and “rich and healthy” ones on the other. The situation is more nuanced.

What are the factors that lead to a happy journal?

This research note was featured in a University Affairs article.

Portrait of Canadian scholarly journals

For more than two decades, digital technologies have been shaking up how academic publishing is being used. Indeed, existing funding models, both in Canada and abroad, are being called into question by the transition towards open access, which is picking up steam and seems well on track to become standard practice. Ambitious initiatives like Plan S1 are both a driver of and a testament to these transformations.

This document summarizes an open-access study entitled “Canadian scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences” published in 2021 in French and in English.

Issues in Scholarly Dissemination

In 2021, we were pleased to release bilingual research notes on four major issues in our sector: copyright, open science, open access, and impact measures.

These four notes were prepared by the Consortium Érudit research team, with contributions from Marie Léger-St-Jean, an independent researcher, and under the supervision of Vincent Larivière, Professor at the Université de Montréal, Canada Research Chair on Transformations in Scholarly Communication, and Scientific Director of the Consortium Érudit. The project received financial support from the Secrétariat aux relations canadiennes of the Government of Quebec.

Since 2015, Canada’s three research councils — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) — have adhered to a Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. The results of subsidized research must be freely accessible within a maximum of 12 months, whether through a scientific journal or an institutional repository. The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) followed suit in 2019. Meanwhile, in Europe, granting bodies united as cOAlition S and launched an initiative in Fall 2018, Plan S, that requires that all research be immediately published open access since January 2021.

What are the basic principles behind open access and how do these various policies attempt to follow them?

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The online dissemination of scholarly journals has changed how copyright has been managed since the print era. Much confusion still surrounds copyright for digital scholarly publishing; scholars responsible for journals do not always have access to the resources needed to formalize their management of copyright.

What are the options available in terms of copyright management and what are the best practices in line with fair and sustainable open access?

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Open access to scholarly research has become a priority for governments and funding bodies in recent years. France adopted a Plan national pour la science ouverte (Open Science National Plan) in 2018. The Politique de diffusion en libre accès des Fonds de recherche du Québec (Open Access Dissemination Policy of Québec’s Research Funding Agencies) came into effect in 2019. The Canadian federal government released a Roadmap for Open Science in 2020 as part of its National Action Plan on Open Government.

But what does it actually mean, to open up science?

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The value of academic research outputs is subject to increasing attention from governments and university administrators. Unfortunately, researchers remain ill-informed about the criteria of scholarly impact assessment. At the same time, the shortcomings of traditional metrics are bringing these measures under scrutiny. One response is the development of altmetrics that quantify the circulation of publications online via downloads, social media mentions, news stories, blog posts, etc., rather than tracking citations in peer-reviewed publications.

How do we measure scholarly impact?

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Notes are disseminated under a CC-BY-NC license and are available for sharing. All references for these notes are also available on our Zotero page.