Re: FYI: Canada's Scholarly Journals

From: Mike Sosteric <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 07:41:55 +0100

>>>>> "Stevan" == Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGLIT.ECS.SOTON.AC.UK> writes:

Hi all.

I know the response to what I am about to say will be 'yes but its
still packaged like a journal' That is true and to defend in
anticipation let me just say that easing Canadian journals into the
electronic world and helping them explore alternative funding models
is only the first step towards a truly gate-less electronic
world. There are, of course, many sociological and psychological
barriers to self archival and I believe these are even more pronounced
in the social sciences and humanities (and perhaps even more so in
smaller countries).

-- Canada's "other" attempt to make the world free for electronic
publication is ICAAP ( We unfortunately don't get the
same recognition or support from Canadian funding sources as these
other activities do (and there have been earlier ones) because, I
believe, Stevan is right. The government and the traditional press is
really interested in instantiating a toll gate of some sort. There
were earlier attempts to monopolize the journal literature in Canada
press (quickly rejected by Canadian journal editors). This new
announcement is quite possibly a Trojan horse designed to lull editors
into a false sense of complicity. It certainly has all the look of
such a beast.

Anyway, ICAAP (which is an official activity of Athabasca University)
does everything that the portal is supposed to do, and more. We
provide (note some services are new/experimental/in beta form)

 - a journal portal
 - SGML/XML archival technology and conversion tools
 - filters to convert our XML into display formats
 - site hosting
 - basic ISP services (safe archival, web statistics)
 - generation of journal meta-information in (RDF/MARC and Dublin Core
 - free promotion and advertising
 - strategies for interlinking journal articles
 - mailing list services
 - multilingual software to support distributed electronic publication. This is
   Bazaar which we use to provide our journals various database
  enhanced services
 - current awareness services
 -user subscription and tracking
and more...

Journals get access to this for a optional $100.00 US affiliation fee
(we say optional because although we ask for it, we don't police it
and those journals with no access to funds can still avail themselves
of ICAAP services. If they don't pay the 100 fee, then access to these
services is free.

The only requirement for affiliation with ICAAP is that journals
remain freely accessible (no toll gate). Journal's may charge a fee if they
wish, they just can't restrict access. IN other words, in exchange for
cheap access to a growing list of ICAAP services, journals must
reflect the low charge in no-charge access.

ICAAP is exploring alternative funding models. In addition to the
small affiliation fee (for which you get a good bang for the buck), we
may ask libraries to pay a small support fee (probably 500/30
 social science and humanities journals or approx. $16/journal). A
CDROM archive is also a possibility. Revenue from the CDROM (and
possibly the support fee) will be shared amongst member
journals. However at no time do we have any intention of closing
access. Libraries will pay to support the activities of ICAAP because
they believe in the importance of the work, the direction ICAAP is
moving, and the outstanding value of ICAAP journals and NOT because
they are forced to.

This funding is necessary. We currently have a $100,000 a year budget
from AU and this has allowed us to provide full production services
for 10 in house journals and secondary services (listed above) for
about 30. We can provide secondary services (advertising, site
hosting, current awareness, some DB services) for an indefinite
number of externally produced journals (thus supporting
independent/departmental publication).

However recent growth in the actual number of journals we produce
in-house, and growing support amongst Canadian journal editors (we
have the support of the Canadian Association of Journal Editors of
which I am an executive member) means we will probably be providing
these services for many more Canadian and international journal in the
near future. Although AU has been a wonderful supporter of this
initiative, unless we can convince them of the absolutely remarkable
value of this initiative, they are unlikely to provide support over
150,000 a year. As noted above, people in the Canadian establishment
have generally ignored ICAAP (probably because we are doing the
opposite of what they intend, of have done what they have been unable
to do) so funding from official Canadian sources is unlikely in the
near future.

ICAAP's technology has recently been used to launch the 100% free (and
intended to be 'the' distance learning journal) International Review
of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Also, we are working with a commercial publisher ( in an
experiment designed to demonstrate that commercial viability of open
access scholarly publication (ispub will draw revenues from
advertising and product announcements). And, the Nordic Journal of
Philosophical Logic, which is owned by Taylor and Francis, has
recently affiliated to see whether a widely distributed and free
electronic publication can help support a commercially based print

As noted at the outset, I realize we are not the ideal form of
electronic publication. More of a hybrid between traditional journals
and the full potentials epublication. However we do have an
uncompromising attitude towards access and have so far managed to
negotiate the waters without caving on our principles.

I think ideally, we would move towards the open archive standards. The
fact that our inhouse journals are all in SGML, and that we help other
journals move towards SGML, will hopefully make that eventual move
technically simple to make for all our papers. from there, it is just
a short step towards the ideal's Harnad espouses

mike sosteric

>> journals available electronically in Canada.

    Stevan> What does participating mean? Paying for access,
    Stevan> presumably (for users) and being paid (for
    Stevan> publishers). That is all well and good, but it simply
    Stevan> entrenches further a system of access barriers that is no
    Stevan> longer necessary or justified.

    Stevan> This is a give-away literature, from its authors' point of
    Stevan> view, unlike other literatures such as books. Canada
    Stevan> should ask itself whether it wishes to collaborate with
    Stevan> the access-barrier system or to help eliminate it.

>> "This initiative will allow Canada's scholarly journals to
>> leave their isolation, to gain access to professional means of
>> publishing and distribution, and to join a national and
>> international network," says Gerard Boismenu, Scientific
>> Director of Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal and le
>> Centre Érudit.

    Stevan> Online accessibility is always beneficial, but most of the
    Stevan> important journals are already available online (for a
    Stevan> fee) and they are indeed already being aggregated in
    Stevan> portals. Hence this new online aggregator at most keeps
    Stevan> Canadian journals on a par with them in that respect. As
    Stevan> long as the access is still toll-gated, there will be no
    Stevan> differential advantage to Canadian journals.

    Stevan> [Are Canadian journals "isolated"? How? Why? A high
    Stevan> quality scholarly journal is presumably dedicated to a
    Stevan> subject matter, not to a geographic region (unless its
    Stevan> subject matter happens to be a geographic region); the
    Stevan> quality comes from the editorial board, referees, and
    Stevan> authorship; their composition is based on scholarly merit,
    Stevan> not citizenship. Knowledge has no borders.]

>> John Teskey, director of libraries at the University of New
>> Brunswick, adds that the portal to Canadian scholarly
>> publishing will allow for electronic citation-linking - each
>> reference in an electronic journal will have a direct link to
>> the original article, where applicable. "This project will put
>> Canada at the forefront of scholarly electronic publishing,"
>> says Teskey.

    Stevan> Yes, but this will only be useful for the parochial
    Stevan> citations that go only from one Canadian journal in this
    Stevan> collection to another Canadian journal in this collection:
    Stevan> Is that a natural scholarly border of some sort?

>> "Our intention is to have a prototype site up and running by
>> the end of this year," says Teskey. "We will be looking for
>> partners throughout 2001, and we hope to engage in joint
>> marketing of all the electronic journals on the site by 2002."

    Stevan> There are plenty of online, for-fee aggregators
    Stevan> materializing currently all over the world, and they will
    Stevan> no doubt be happy to interlink with this one: Their goal,
    Stevan> though unstated, is a "Click-Through Monopoly," whereby
    Stevan> the only way to access the online journal literature will
    Stevan> be by e-commerce-based fee agreements
    Stevan> (Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View, S/L/P), much as
    Stevan> it always has been

    Stevan> In my opinion, this form of online access is a Trojan
    Stevan> Horse. Caveat Emptor.

>> The Canadian portal to scholarly publishing is an outgrowth of
>> the Virtuoso project, which brought together not-for-profit
>> publishers to share information, solve common problems and work
>> on joint development. Funding for the preliminary work on the
>> Canadian portal to scholarly publishing is being supplied by
>> the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, a federal
>> granting agency; and Quebec's Fonds FCAR (Fonds pour la
>> Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche).

    Stevan> Nonprofit publishers are always more attuned to
    Stevan> scholarship's real interests than commercial publishers,
    Stevan> but as long as they rely on the S/L/P toll-booth model,
    Stevan> their interests will remain in conflict with those of
    Stevan> those of their authors.

    Stevan> The conflict of interest can only be resolved if S/L/P
    Stevan> toll-booths are eliminated entirely, and publishers
    Stevan> downsize to providing only their essential Quality-Control
    Stevan> and Certification (QC/C) SERVICE, paid for out of the
    Stevan> institutional S/L/P savings, rather than providing the
    Stevan> now-redundant PRODUCT, online papers, currently paid for
    Stevan> out of institutional S/L/P.

    Stevan> The papers should instead be self-archived by their
    Stevan> authors in their institutional eprint archives
    Stevan> <>, which can then be aggregated
    Stevan> through their compliance with the Santa-Fe Convention
    Stevan> <> into global, barrier-free,
    Stevan> borderless Open Archives, accessible free for everyone,
    Stevan> everywhere, forever.

>> NRC Research Press is Canada's foremost publisher of
>> peer-reviewed scientific information and is one of the most
>> advanced electronic publishers in the world. All 14 of its
>> scientific journals are published in an electronic format.

    Stevan> Along with countless other publishers whose journals are
    Stevan> now also available in an electronic format! The advanced
    Stevan> step now is not merely going online, but liberating the
    Stevan> literature from the redundant and counterproductive access
    Stevan> barriers that are still in place.

>> Le Centre Érudit de l'Université de Montréal is a major
>> electronic publisher, with 10 journals in a wide range of
>> fields particularly in the social sciences and humanities,
>> published in both a printed version and an electronic version
>> based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a format for
>> organizing, retrieving and archiving data on the Web.

    Stevan> Again, admirable. XML is grand. But not new. And not
    Stevan> liberating in and of itself...

>> The University of New Brunswick is a leader in electronic
>> collection development and is active in researching metadata,
>> the categorizing and arranging of large amounts of electronic
>> information.

    Stevan> Commendable: But why is it making common cause with the
    Stevan> maintenance of needless access-barriers to give-away
    Stevan> papers, instead of working to eliminate them?

>> For more information, contact:

>> Elizabeth Katz, NRC Research Press (613) 993-3854

>> Guylaine Beaudry, le Centre Érudit de l'Université de Montréal
>> (514) 343-6111 #4711

>> Alan Burk, University of New Brunswick Electronic Text Centre
>> (506) 453-4740


    Stevan> For more information on how to free the refereed
    Stevan> literature, see the archive of the ongoing discussion on
    Stevan> freeing access to the refereed journal literature at the
    Stevan> American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):


    Stevan> --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stevan> Stevan Harnad Professor of
    Stevan> Cognitive Science Department of
    Stevan> Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582 Computer Science
    Stevan> fax: +44 23-80 592-865 University of Southampton
    Stevan> Highfield,
    Stevan> Southampton SO17 1BJ

Dr. Mike Sosteric <>   Managing Editor, EJS <>
Department of Global and Social Analysis  Executive Director, ICAAP <>
Athabasca University                      Cell: 1 780 919 7569
This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. 
Those that receive the rewards are totally separated from those who
shoulder the burdens.  It is not a wise leadership - Spock, "The Cloud Minders."
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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