Library Notes for Political Science

Teaching resources, news, and links to keep McGill’s Political Scientists informed

Archive for the ‘Academic publishing’ Category

What is open access?

Posted by Megan on October 25, 2011


A quick introduction to the concept of open access in universities.

For more information on how you can make your research more visible, visit:

This video was produced by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and McGill University Library.

Licence by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0

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Open Access Week: October 24-30

Posted by Megan on October 22, 2011

Why does open access matter for researchers? Here are some thoughts cross-posted from the McGill Library website:

What is open access?

“Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.”Peter Suber

Why should I care?

Open access

  • …gives your work more exposure.

    By making by making your work openly available on the internet, it can be found via most search engines (like Google).

  • …provides universal access to your work.

    It is no longer hidden behind subscription barriers, and it can be accessed by everyone not just those who can pay.

  • …meets the requirements of many funding agencies.

    Many funders stipulate that research be made publicly available since it is being funded by the public. eScholarship@McGill meets this requirement.

Copyright and your scholarly work

Your rights as an author

  • the author holds copyright of a work unless they transfer it to someone else in a signed agreement
  • assigning copyright to someone else matters, as they can do anything with your work, and can prevent you from using it in course work and reusing it in subsequent work
  • there are tools available where you can transfer copyright while holding back key rights – publishing agreements are negotiable

SPARC Canadian Author’s Addendum

The SPARC Canadian Author’s Addendum is a legal instrument that helps you modify the publisher’s agreement and keep key rights to your article.


  • retain your rights
  • reuse your work without restrictions
  • receive proper attribution for your work
  • make your work openly available through an open access repository

…Read more!

Posted in Academic publishing, In the news | Comments Off on Open Access Week: October 24-30

Canadian researcher survey 2010

Posted by Megan on July 14, 2011

Rather old news, but still of interest!

Last year, the publisher Taylor & Francis conducted a survey of 1,500 Canadian researchers on their publishing preferences and information seeking strategies.

The full report can be read online.

Unsurprisingly, when selecting a journal in which to publish, participants considered timeliness of the review process and reputation of the journal to be most important. More than 70% indicated that the “right to circulate the article after publication” to be very important or important, which has important implications for the uptake of open access policies in Canada.

Of interest for libraries in particular was the question “When you look for research articles, where do you start?”

It would appear that respondents could enter more than one option, since the percentages add up to more than 100, but at any rate, 64% selected Google as a starting point. Next in popularity was library websites (54%), followed by JSTOR (31%). It would be interesting to get more nuanced data, though, as to whether researchers took the question to refer to starting points for tracking done known citations or for surveying research literature in general. JSTOR, of course, does not include the most recent issues of most journals, so it’s not usually recommended as a starting point for research.

In other Taylor & Francis news, their online journal platform has recently undergone some updates to refine the search functions and article displays, including mobile access. Note that journals previously accessible from Informaworld are now part of the Taylor & Francis suite. McGill subscribes to 182 Taylor & Francis journals in Political Science and International Relations.

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2010 Journal Citation Reports

Posted by Megan on June 30, 2011

ISI’s 2010 Social Sciences Journal Citation Reports are now available.

Among other subjects, rankings for journals published in the fields of Political Science and International Relations are included in the reports.

Based on ISI’s formulas, the Political Science journals with the highest impact factor in 2010 were:

1. American Political Science Review

2. Annual Review of Political Science

3. American Journal of Political Science

4. New Left Review

5. Global Environmental Politics

*American Political Science Review was again cited most frequently overall.

In International Relations, the publications with the highest impact factor were:

1. International Organization

2. International Security

3. World Politics

4. Foreign Affairs

5. Common Market Law Review

*International Organization was again cited most frequently overall.

I wrote more about journal rankings last year—always a controversial topic!

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Journal prices

Posted by Megan on June 19, 2011

Back in April, Library Journal published the figures from its annual Periodicals Price Survey. The news once again is, well, bleak…as subscription prices are increasing at a rate higher than the Consumer Price Index, while library funding (both public and academic) is decreasing.

Inquiring minds might be interested to know that Chemistry journals tend to break the bank, with an average price of more than $4,000 for a single annual subscription.

The average Political Science journal, among those indexed in the Social Sciences Citation Index, costs $622 per year. This represents a 9% increase since 2009. It is projected that costs for social sciences titles in the index will increase by 6.6% by 2012.

See the full article for more details, as several data sources are analyzed.

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Undercurrent journal

Posted by Megan on March 6, 2011

The most recent issue of Undercurrent, the Canadian Undergraduate Journal of Development Studies, is now available.

To quote:

This issue is a compilation of work by undergraduate scholars from across Canada.  The essays presented there reflect Canadian students’ views and research relating to a variety of topics dealing with international development. Topics include Chinese involvement in Sudan, the work of youth in Guatemala, and a Marxist critique of microcredits, among other illuminating pieces.

The issue is available free for download, or for sale in hardcopy through

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Dramatic growth of Open Access

Posted by Megan on October 26, 2010

McGill Library recommended reading from Open Access week:

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: September 30, 2010

The dare to compare section below asks the evocative question of whether the open access sector is, or soon will be, ready for serious comparison with the subscription sector. There are at least four major free or open access journal collections that are more than twice the size of the largest commercial publisher, Elsevier, in terms of number of titles. Read on

The blog The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics is a great destination for learning more about open access.


Posted in Academic publishing | 1 Comment »

What would scholarly communication look like if we invented it today?

Posted by Megan on October 23, 2010

Recommended reading from Open Access week:

“What would scholarly communication look like if we invented it today?” by Cameron Neylon at Science in the Open.

If we imagine what the specification for building a scholarly communications system would look like there are some fairly obvious things we would want it to enable. Registration of ideas, data or other outputs for the purpose of assigning credit and priority to the right people is high on everyone’s list. While researchers tend not to think too much about it, those concerned with the long term availability of research outputs would also place archival and safekeeping high on the list as well. I don’t imagine it will come as any surprise that I would rate the ability to re-use, replicate, and re-purpose outputs very highly as well. And, although I won’t cover it in this post, an effective scholarly communications system for the 21st century would need to enable and support public and stakeholder engagement. Finally this specification document would need to emphasise that the system will support discovery and filtering tools so that users can find the content they are looking for in a huge and diverse volume of available material. Read on

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Sci-Bytes> Political Science: High-Impact U.S. Institutions, 2005-09

Posted by Megan on October 22, 2010

From Sci-Bytes, Sci Watch:

Universities ranked by citations per paper, among U.S. institutions that published at least 75 papers in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals of political science between 2005 and 2009.

SOURCE: University/Institutional Science Indicators, 1981-2009.

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Open Access Week

Posted by Megan on October 18, 2010

International Open Access Week 2010, October 18-24, 2010

Learn. Share. Advance.

Open access is one of the most important current issues in scholarly communication. As it has been explained by

Open access is a growing international movement that uses the internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. Encouraging the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, the open access movement is gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers put their weight behind it.

The McGill library has several new web pages about open access, explaining why it’s such an important issue for researchers and students.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has partnered with the McGill University Library and University of Toronto Libraries to produce this advocacy video and a webcast on the issues of open access and proposed copyright reform in Canada.

The roughly one minute animated video explains the concept of open access to students and faculty in a simple and fun format. The video is available in both French and English, can be placed on websites, displayed on monitors in libraries during open access week, and is available for free and is licensed under a Creative Commons license. It can be viewed at or on the library’s website.

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