Day/Time: Wednesday, May 25, 10:30am – 11:30am

Let’s talk about academic labour: Changes in the academy and independent scholarly publishing


  • Jessica Lange, McGill University
  • Sarah Severson, University of Alberta


Trends in academia indicate declining numbers of tenure-track faculty, the increased use of contract academic staff, as well as an increasingly neoliberal academy. Scholarly journal editors typically require stable, academic positions in order to “afford” them the space (and incentive) to contribute volunteer labour to the academic knowledge commons. If academic labour overall is more precarious, how does this impact academic scholarly publishing, in particular, the independent scholarly journals who are supported by library publishers?

Furthermore, there are troubling trends about who make up full-time versus contract academic appointments. Research out of Canada suggests tenure-track faculty are less diverse than contract appointments. If tenure-track faculty are the persons best incentivized and supported to undertake editorial work, what does that signal for improving the diversity of scholarly publishing?

Using survey and interview data on labour, compensation, and organizational structures for non-commercial, Canadian scholarly journals, the presenters will discuss their results considering these trends and the implications for library publishers. The presentation will include space for participants to discuss their library’s publishing models and how they see changes in the academy affecting independent journal production.

Should library publishers offer plagiarism screening? A pilot project at York University Libraries


  • Tomasz Mrozewski, Digital Publishing Librarian, York University


A key tenet of high-quality scholarly publishing is rigorous oversight of research integrity. In its Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, The Coalition on Publication Ethics (COPE) recommends that “[p]ublishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism.” However, scholar-led platinum Open Access publications hosted by library publishers often cannot effectively screen for plagiarism because of limited human and financial resources.

This presentation describes an ongoing, one-year pilot project at York University Libraries to provide library published journals with access to CrossRef’s Similarity Check service. The pilot will help York University Libraries determine whether to provide broader access to plagiarism screening software as part of its York Digital Journals publishing program and will explore questions such as: what proportion of editorial decisions are influenced by the plagiarism screening? Are the similarity reports useful? Do the editors have sufficient technical and human resources to interpret the similarity reports, and what support would they need going forward? Does plagiarism screening support editor confidence? Does use of plagiarism screening impact journals’ credibility among authors, indexers, or with organizations such as COPE?

This presentation discusses the rationale for the pilot project as well as the implementation. It considers arguments for libraries to offer plagiarism screening services to their journals, as well as possible alternatives.