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Memorial Libraries launch electronic journal hosting


Lisa Goddard is a scholarly communications librarian at the QE II.

By Lisa Goddard

Memorial University Libraries are getting into the publishing business with their new electronic journal hosting service. Open Journal Systems (OJS) is an easy-to-use publishing platforms for open access electronic journals that are produced by Memorial faculty and students. You can browse our current issues at journals.library.mun.ca.

Many Memorial faculty members are editors of specialized academic journals. Examples include the Analecta Hermeneutica, which is edited by Dr. Sean McGrath of the Department of Philosophy, or the Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis, produced by Dr. Michael Shute from the Department of Religious Studies. Editing and peer review are complex processes requiring the exchange of multiple versions of each submitted article and communication between authors, reviewers, editors and proofreaders. The OJS software helps to make all of this work less onerous by offering a full suite of professional publishing tools, including online article submission, e-mail notifications and peer review workflow management. Once content is ready, layout and publication can then be done with the click of a button. No programming or web development expertise is required.

Electronic journals are a great way to showcase student work. Mapping Politics, an undergraduate student journal, is published by Memorial’s Department of Political Science. According to faculty advisor Amanda Bittner “having a peer-reviewed article accepted for publication is a great way for students to build an academic curriculum vitae or to enhance a graduate school application.” Dr. Jennifer Lokash of the Department of English is using OJS as a teaching and learning tool for her graduate students. Students have the opportunity to become familiar with academic publishing, including the processes of editing and peer review. At the end of the course, final papers are published in an electronic journal called At the Edge. “Graduate students obviously benefit from participating fully in what is and will be entailed by the publication of their work,” Dr. Lokash explained. “But for these emerging scholars, the greater visibility of their research output and their more immediate involvement in the collaborative advancement of the critical conversation are also huge advantages of open access publishing."

All of the journals hosted on the Library’s OJS platform are open access (OA) publications. This means that anyone in the world can easily find, read and cite the articles. Open access journals are ideal for students and researchers, as all of the articles are freely available. There is no subscription fee, login or other barrier to access. The articles are indexed in major search engines, so people will discover them using a basic Google search. Authors benefit because OA articles have higher citation rates than articles published in subscription-based journals. OA authors also retain control over copyright, so they are able to share and reuse their own material in any way they see fit.

Long-term access and preservation are issues that are often neglected when journals are created in an ad hoc way. As the original editors or technical staff move on in the course of time, the site becomes neglected or orphaned, and the server may not be properly maintained. There is a high risk that articles published under these circumstances will not be available 10 or 20 years from now. Memorial Libraries are committed to maintaining and upgrading the OJS platform over time. We also assume responsibility for backing up content and migrating articles to new formats to ensure that all of our hosted content continues to be available as technologies change.

The electronic journal hosting service is available to any member of the Memorial community who wishes to launch a new electronic journal, to those who are looking for an electronic delivery platform for a journal that currently exists only in paper or to those who would like a more secure and permanent home for an existing e-journal that is hosted elsewhere.

Scholarly Communications Librarian Lisa Goddard (lgoddard@mun.ca) would be more than happy to answer your questions and provide more information about electronic journal hosting at Memorial Libraries.
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