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Transforming Scholarly Communications

Alongside our members, we are changing Canada’s research landscape, with an ever-increasing focus on equitable, sustainable, and open access to knowledge. CRKN is committed to advancing Canada as a leader in the shift towards open scholarship.

Negotiation and Licensing Strategy

In 2022-2023, the Content Strategy Committee (CSC) and the CRKN Licensing Team successfully renewed a total of eleven licenses. The CSC focused on CRKN’s overall goal of transforming scholarly communications as well as containing the cost of negotiated license agreements, following priorities set out by the membership.

Major license renewals included a read-and-publish agreement with Wiley, covering all accepted articles in hybrid journals by authors affiliated with the 72 participating CRKN institutions. Under the agreement, CRKN anticipates that over 4,000 articles by Canadian researchers will be published under an open access license in each of the two years of the agreement (2023-2024). The agreement is cost-neutral for CRKN libraries, with no increase in costs above license fees paid in 2022.

In addition, CRKN partnered with the Association of Canadian University Presses (ACUP) and De Gruyter to bring ACUP publications to members with unlimited user access for 2023 and beyond. Participation in the agreement and purchases of frontlist and backlist collections increased considerably as a result of the new agreement, and upgrades of previously purchased collections have also been well-supported by members.

Open Access Partnerships

CRKN partnered with a number of organizations and publishers to increase open access content and publishing opportunities for member libraries.

Significant partnerships included:

  • The extension of our long-standing agreement with Érudit for an additional two years, including 54 member participants and 223 journals (140 immediate open access, 19 added in 2023).
  • A publishing partnership agreement with Public Library of Science (PLOS) for their All-Titles model, covering unlimited publishing in all PLOS journals for the contract term of 2023-2024. Accepted articles from authors affiliated with the nine CRKN institutions participating in this agreement will be published open access at no charge to the author.
  • An open access partnership with Canadian Science Publishing (CSP) for unlimited publishing in five journals for the period of 2023-2025. Accepted articles from authors affiliated with the 45 participating CRKN institutions will be published open access at no charge to the author.
  • An agreement with University of Toronto Press to support the launch of their open access title Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy, published under the Subscribe 2 Open model. This model permits institutions to subscribe to a journal, and if a target threshold of subscription revenue is met, that year’s publications are made open access. Twenty-one CRKN members are currently participating in the agreement for the Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy, which reached its revenue target in 2023.
  • Participation in the fourth round of the Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS), which provided funding to three critical open access services and infrastructure: Dryad, LA Referencia, and ROR. Support for SCOSS in Canada continues to be jointly managed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and CRKN, and our members collectively pledged over €151,000 over three years in support of the SCOSS Round 4 services.

In June 2022, the CSC also released its Assessment Guidelines for Open Access Publishers, which outline criteria for the financial sustainability, academic quality, and operational practices under which open access models and resources will be assessed. CRKN is proud to continue supporting our members and the wider library community by creating and sharing these types of documents.

Expanding the Canadiana Collections

The Canadiana collections continued to expand throughout 2022-2023 with particular focus on publications from minority language communities, as well as publications created by or advocating for working class communities.

We also began prioritizing the addition of digitized content from members and partners to the Canadiana collections. This past year, we added 22,000 maps from the 1:50,000 scale National Topographic Series, digitized by McGill University Library, to the Canadiana collection. The Maps collection is the first large-scale addition of CRKN member content and a new content type for the Canadiana collections.

CRKN also digitized a collection of student publications from the University of Regina Library. The collection consists of 34 annual and periodical issues (approximately 3,000 pages) and has become part of the Canadiana collections. Titles include the student yearbook The Tower, and the early student journal The Regina College Register.

Meanwhile, in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC), we enhanced the Héritage collection with content added to the popular Letters Patent (Western Land Grants) collection, as well as to the Department of Indian Affairs’ School Files Series, Thousand Series, and Black Series of the Central Registry System.

CRKN also enhanced governance of the heritage program. Following recommendations outlined by the Heritage Content Priorities Task Group in its Final Report (2021), the Canadiana Content Sub-Committee was established. This advisory committee is accountable to the Preservation and Access Committee and provides guidance and recommendations to staff on additions to the Canadiana collections.

This year, staff added 580,320 pages of content to the Canadiana collections including 1,233 annuals issues (123,921 images), 20,771 newspaper issues (167,636 images), 22,000 maps and 175 Héritage reels (266,763 images). Content added to Canadiana in 2022-2023 includes: Kanadai Magyar Ujság = Canadian Hungarian news, Winnipeg, Man., [1928], Minutes of the … Grand General Indian Council, [Ontario, 187-?-18– or 19–], St. Peter’s Bote, Rosthern, N.W.T., Canada, [1904-1947], Le Madawaska, Edmunston, N.B., [1913-1994], Annual report for the year … Protestant Hospital for the Insane, [Montréal, 1887?-19–], Annual report of the Night Refuge for the Homeless and … of Seamen’s Bethel and Reading Room, 186 Lower Water Street, near Shipping Office, [Halifax, N.S, 1877?-188-? or 19–?], Semi-annual report of the Upper Canada Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and for the Blind [Hamilton, Ont, 1858?-18– or 19–].

With support from the University of Ottawa, we also added a selection of French-language newspapers representing Franco-Ontarian communities to Canadiana.

Increasing Discoverability of the Canadiana Collections

CRKN is pleased to report that the Canadiana monograph collection is now available in Alma’s Community Zone. Canadiana records are currently available in OCLC, Ex Libris, and EBSCO systems. 

Staff have also created a citation guide for those using Canadiana content in their work. In addition to encouraging users to include Canadiana in their citation of the original materials, this guide will allow CRKN to better understand how Canadiana is being used.

Canadiana Metadata and Respectful Descriptions

CRKN continues to implement more open and standardized metadata and software in Canadiana. In January 2023, we replaced IssueInfo, a custom metadata schema used for issue-level metadata, with a Dublin Core schema. There is no change to the display of metadata, but this change will increase the ease of including external objects and metadata in Canadiana.

Phase II of CRKN’s project to implement respectful descriptions in Canadiana, as approved in June 2020, is underway and includes the following:

  • Perform updates to well documented changes in vocabularies. Updates will be comprised of subject headings that were mapped to outside vocabularies, such as the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL), and found in Indigenous library catalogues. Example terms are “Eskimo” to “Inuit” and “Micmac” to “Mi’kmaq.”
  • Remove the term “Indian” from subject headings. For example, “Algonquin Indians” will be updated to “Algonquin,” which aligns with both the GVPL updated subject headings and the Xwi7xwa Library at the University of British Columbia.

Interim equivalents have been determined for most of the subject headings by consulting spreadsheets created by libraries and individual community websites. Because there is consensus through others’ work and through community websites on most terms in Phase II, we have started to make updates to the records in Canadiana. As of June 30, 2022, staff processed three of the six master files of descriptive records and the changes are live online. The remaining Phase II files are larger and will require more time and effort than the first three files. The updates will be iterative as each file is completed.

Canadiana Platform

CRKN added new features and functionalities to the Canadiana website and associated websites, including pan and zoom capabilities, full-size image downloading, single-page PDF downloads, and an updated layout. With feedback received from the National Claims Research Directors and the Library of Parliament, CRKN further improved these functionalities to meet the needs of researchers and stakeholders.

Underlying this work was the structural split between the preservation and access components of the Canadiana infrastructure. This split forms the foundation of important and necessary modernization work for the infrastructure, and will eventually serve to improve the user experience and features on Canadiana.

Digitization Services

This year, CRKN carried out digitization projects with the University of Ottawa Library, the University of Regina Library, the University of Victoria Libraries, OurDigitalWorld, Global Affairs Canada, the Saskatchewan Legislative Library, and the City of Peterborough.  

Hosting and preservation projects continue for long-term partners such as the McGill University Archives, the Library of Parliament, and Global Affairs Canada.

Trustworthy Digital Repository Audit

The Canadiana Trustworthy Digital Repository Audit Group delivered its final report in January 2023. The audit was undertaken between September 2021 and June 2022, with a goal to evaluate Canadiana and form an overall risk analysis as it relates to long-term access to data acquired and managed by Canadiana. The methodology was based largely on the Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories (CCSDS, 2011), which provided a set of metrics and controls trusted worldwide in the digital preservation community.

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