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Strategic Plan

In October 2019, following unanimous support by members, CRKN launched its 2019-2024 Strategic Plan. Building upon past achievements and looking ahead to future goals and collaborations, we are proud to share an ambitious strategic plan that takes clear steps towards transforming scholarly communications and collaborating to advance open scholarship and access to knowledge.

CRKN’s strategic planning process began in August 2018 and continued over ten months of consultations with members and stakeholders. Guided by these contributions, and following an extensive review process, Board members formulated three strategic goals: Transform Scholarly Communications, Develop and Foster Partnerships, and Collaborative Advocacy. Building upon CRKN’s expanded mandate, the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan also includes updated vision and mission statements.

A vital aspect of the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan is its strategic project, “A CRKN Approach to Open Scholarship: A Multipronged Strategy to Advancing Access to Knowledge.” This project will support the goals of the new strategic plan by working collaboratively to develop a Canadian approach to open scholarship and providing resources to support and advance open access initiatives across Canada. The Strategic Plan is supported by an operationalized annual plan that details the priorities for the year. The Annual Plan is approved by the Board of Directors and reviewed at each meeting by the committees. The results from October 2019 to March 2020 are described in this annual report and highlight a year of innovation and transition as we support our expanded mandate, membership, and stakeholders.


Our Programs

Licensing and Negotiations

Working with librarians, researchers, administrators, funders, and publishers, CRKN undertakes large scale licensing of scholarly content for academic institutions in order to expand research capacity in Canada. Currently, CRKN negotiates and manages over 50 licenses on behalf of its member institutions.

Preservation and Heritage Collections

CRKN provides access to over 60 million pages of Canadian documentary heritage through the Canadiana and Héritage collections and preserves this heritage through the Canadiana Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR), ensuring its integrity and accessibility as technologies change over time. CRKN also provides digitization services to our member and stakeholder community, providing best-quality digital reproductions of materials that adhere to metadata and technology standards.

Financial Oversight and Sustainability

CRKN’s professional finance staff under the policy framework maintained by the Finance & Audit Committee (FAC) continue to administer over $130M in annual expenditures on behalf of member institutions. The FAC also reviews and supports CRKN’s internal risk management framework and budget development and monitoring process. This includes recommending budget and fee models which support CRKN’s ongoing sustainability, and projecting budget decisions out over a five-year horizon.


Meeting our Strategic Objectives

Transforming Scholarly Communications

Transformation is at the core of our business. In 1999, the Canadian National Site Licensing Project was created to provide an innovative infrastructure to increase Canada’s research capacity. Building on our successes, today, we define and put into place the next act of CRKN’s innovative approach to access to knowledge. Over the past year, we refined our approach to open access and built the groundwork for future initiatives that will increase accessibility to scholarly and heritage content throughout Canada and the world.


This year, CRKN undertook and completed the renewal of several key licenses, including Taylor & Francis journals, Springer Nature journals, Center for Research Libraries’ (CRL) Global Resources, and ACUP / eBOUND ebooks.

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Sixty-seven CRKN member libraries renewed their participation in the third phase of SCOAP³  (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access in Particle Physics Publishing), covering 2020-2022.

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The Canadiana collections saw major improvements and enhancements throughout 2019-2020. The Early Canadiana Online portal and other thematic portals were integrated with Canadiana to create a single access point for published documentary heritage available through Canadiana.

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Increasing Discoverability of the Canadiana Collections

A significant priority this past year has been increasing the discoverability of the Canadiana collections by sharing metadata (MARC and KBART records) both on the CRKN website and with external organizations (such as OCLC and 360KB).

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Decolonizing Metadata

CRKN is committed to working collaboratively and purposefully to decolonize the Canadiana collections by building on the work of other leaders in this area.

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Providing Digitization, Access, and Preservation Services

CRKN provides full lifecycle support for members and stakeholders wishing to digitize, host, or preserve their documentary heritage.

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Platform Development

This year, following the roadmap for platform development as approved by the Preservation and Access Committee, CRKN staff continued the process of splitting our digital repository into separate preservation and access platforms, each tailored to its function.

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Trustworthy Digital Repository

In 2019-2020, we completed a full review of Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR) operations, infrastructure, policies, and practices. We also developed a work plan for ongoing improvements and for fully integrating the TDR into CRKN’s governance and operations.

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Develop and Foster

As a member organization, CRKN understands the importance of partnerships to achieve key goals. Over the past year, we strengthened our relationships with national and international organizations to enrich our network and build towards shared strategic objectives.


CRKN continued its collaboration with the Regional Consortia as we collectively aim to eliminate duplication of licensing efforts and find other ways to improve efficiencies in the work we undertake as consortia.

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CRKN continues to participate in the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) initiative.

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CRKN continues to support the development of Canadian infrastructure for open scholarship as we strengthen our partnership with Érudit.

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DataCite Canada Consortium

On January 1, 2020, CRKN collaborated with CARL Portage to launch the DataCite Canada Consortium, formerly managed by the National Research Council (NRC).

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2019-2020 was a successful year for ORCID-CA. We welcomed three new members bringing the total to thirty-seven.

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Throughout the year, CRKN continued to encourage publisher implementation of COUNTER Release 5.

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Representing its members, CRKN serves on the Advisory Board of the Consortia Collaborating on a Platform for Library Usage Statistics (CC-PLUS) project.

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This year, in collaboration with CARL, CRKN joined the Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS).

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CRKN sits on the Steering Committee of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy.

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Collaborative Advocacy

Over the past year, working collaboratively, we continued advocating for our members and stakeholders. Using data to provide tangible benefits to our community and leveraging our platform to share their perspectives, we encouraged action locally and across the country.


In 2019, we embarked on a redesign of the CRKN logo and branding to reflect the expanded portfolio of our organization.

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In 2019, we enhanced the annual edition of the Journal Value Analytics (JVA) tool by providing improved normalized and publisher subject data, enhanced status details for all titles, and three years of historical data.

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During the year, CRKN continued to offer its Foreign Exchange Service for two continuing license agreements, with the USD billing option provided on two agreements under renewal.

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Launched in 2016, the Canadian National Digital Heritage Index (CNDHI) is a growing index of digitized heritage collections from across Canada.

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This year, we increased the discoverability of gold open access journals supported by CRKN member institutions by launching the CRKN Open Access Journals List.

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Recognizing CRKN’s expanded mandate as a merged organization, we transitioned our Annual General Meeting to a full conference in 2019.

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Christopher Callbeck was recognized as the 2019 recipient of the Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award at the CRKN Conference.

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During the year, the CRKN risk register was updated to include a new framework for measuring risk and to incorporate risks related to operating a Trustworthy Digital Repository.

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In parallel with the approval of CRKN’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, staff developed the 2020-2021 budget to ensure adequate resourcing for the updated strategies and priorities of the organization.

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During the year, CRKN updated its cybersecurity and information management practices.

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