Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group

In 2016 the Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ) was invited to participate, along with several other organizations, in the Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group (CSPWG), led by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) for the purpose of establishing a shared vision, principles and goals that would act as a framework for advanced, robust, sustainable, collaborative models for the Canadian dissemination of the scholarly record. CARL recently issued the final report of the Working Group.

CALJ is appreciative of having had this opportunity to work and hold discussions with the various stakeholders involved in this initiative and especially enjoyed the face to face meeting in Ottawa where members of the group openly shared their perspectives of the issues now facing scholarly publishing in Canada.

A common area of agreement during our meetings was the importance of wide dissemination of research; however, as alluded to in the group’s final report, there was not common agreement on how to attain that goal. The final report also acknowledges the importance of the diversity of business models and existing publishing organizations within Canada, but the recommended framework very much focusses on open access and a national journal platform. CALJ is issuing this communiqué to clarify its stance on the priorities of the journal publishing industry in Canada.

Journals are an essential component of our scholarly communication ecosystem, as champions of the peer review process, supporters of researchers and their desire and requirement to communicate their work, coordinators of Editorial Boards of world-renowned experts, and staunch advocates for credibility, availability, and sustainability of our Canadian research enterprise. To allow journals to carry on this work and compete in an international market, CALJ feels that financial sustainability needs to be their top priority. With that in mind we have developed a proposal for a Journal Innovation and Impact Fund for Canadian journals, also included in the framework of the report, as we feel very strongly that Canada should be striving to raise the professionalism, quality and international competitiveness of all its scholarly journals.

Whether subscription based or open access, journals need to take into consideration the ongoing costs of producing, marketing, and disseminating journal content, and it is essential that they have access to strong  and consistent financial support to cover those costs plus development costs. Access to a healthy level of ongoing funds is especially important as the industry evolves and the digital revolution delivers both new publishing requirements as well as opportunities.

CALJ, which represents journals using a range of business models, also feels that a diversity of business models is integral to the health of the scholarly publishing industry, and that we should not overlook the fact that established subscription journals bring in substantial revenue from outside Canada and at the same time widely disseminate their content.

In summary, CALJ agrees that a national journal platform would be a welcome addition to the current journal infrastructure and would be an important tool for assisting many journals increase their level of professionalism. As the topic of open access continues to dominate journal publishing, we welcome the opportunity to continue to participate with members of the working group in discussions of how to attain a sustainable open access business model that would form part of the existing infrastructure in Canada. And, we anticipate that with ongoing discussions, new areas of collaboration will be found among stakeholders that will work to strengthen the publishing industry in Canada.

Suzanne Kettley
President

Statement from Association of Canadian University Presses