Aid to Scholarly Journals

Warning This funding opportunity is not currently offered. For information on currently offered SSHRC funding opportunities, see Funding

Warning This funding opportunity is currently under review. A competition for funding will be held in 2018.

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June 2014 Competition

Value Up to $30,000 per year
Duration 3 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
June 2, 2014 (Closed)
Results announced Fall 2014
Apply Application form not available

Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Administrative Regulations and Related Information
Contact Information



SSHRC recognizes that peer reviewed scholarly journals are a primary tool for fostering intellectual debate and inquiry. Today, new information and communication technologies are changing how research results are published and disseminated, allowing information to circulate more rapidly and widely than ever before.

In response, and in accordance with SSHRC’s policy on open access, SSHRC designed this funding opportunity to allow journals to seek support regardless of business model or distribution format.

The Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity’s goal is to increase dissemination, access to, and readership for, original research results in the social sciences and humanities, through Canadian scholarly journals. It also assists journals as they seek to take advantage of advances in digital technologies.

Aid to Scholarly Journals grants are awarded to help defray the costs of publishing scholarly articles, to assist with distribution costs, and to support journal organizations in transitioning to and maintaining digital formats.

For a comprehensive list of eligible expenses, please consult the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide. Other eligible expenses under the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity include costs related to:

  • salaries, stipends and related federal, provincial and institutional nondiscretionary benefits for work performed by editorial support staff (e.g., administrative staff, technicians);
  • copy preparation (including typesetting, copy-editing, translation);
  • document layout (including image presentation and conversion of images to digital formats);
  • marketing and other promotional activities;
  • fees paid to electronic-publication service providers;
  • printing and mailing;
  • technical assistance; and
  • technological training for journal staff.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • release time, salaries or stipends for faculty (including editors, co-editors, and/or members of editorial or review boards).


Value and Duration

Aid to Scholarly Journals grants are tenable for three years. The maximum value of an Aid to Scholarly Journals grant is $30,000 per annum. The value of the basic grant will be calculated on the basis of $850 for each approved, peer reviewed scholarly article to be published during each year of the grant period.

As part of the total grant value, the applicant may request up to $5,000 per annum for each of the two following expenses:

  • distribution costs, or those costs directly related to the print or electronic circulation of the journal (i.e., printing and mailing costs, or fees paid to electronic-service providers); and
  • costs directly related to transitioning to or maintaining an electronic format (e.g., the purchase of new computers and/or software; and/or costs related to launching a website, supporting an existing website, and/or training staff).

If funds are requested for the above expenses, applicants must provide detailed estimates of costs.



Journals and articles

For this competition, “scholarly journal” is defined as a peer-reviewed academic publication that disseminates the results of original scholarship. Subscription-based journals, journals using an open access business model, and journals using a “moving wall” arrangement to provide delayed open access are eligible for support.

For this competition, “article” is defined as a record of previously unpublished, high-quality, original research or scholarship that has been accepted for publication after a peer review process. The adjudication committee will apply this definition to determine what is or is not a research article.

Eligible article types include: research or theoretical articles and/or essays, and literature reviews, provided they meet the other criteria of being original, peer-reviewed and high-quality. Applicants will be required, in their application, to justify their choices of peer-reviewed articles.

Article types that are not eligible include: introductions; individual book, article or event reviews; letters to the editor; and editorials.

To be eligible for support under this funding opportunity, a journal must:

  • meet the definition of a “scholarly journal” provided above;
  • submit each article to be published to a rigorous, independent peer review process;
  • have been founded at least two years prior to the application deadline and have published, within that timeframe, a minimum of four issues, each having at least three peer-reviewed articles, or, for electronic journals not publishing in issue format, at least 12 peer reviewed articles over the timeframe;
  • have an editor-in-chief who is a faculty member of a Canadian postsecondary institution;
  • have an editorial board responsible for the intellectual direction and content of the journal, of which at least one-third of members are scholars are affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution; and
  • publish primarily in English and/or French.

A journal is not eligible if:

  • it disseminates previously published research results, or mainly publishes material assembled by nonspecialists from secondary sources;
  • it is a professional or trade magazine, bulletin, newsletter, or advocacy publication, or is instructional in nature;
  • it is sponsored or published by, or on behalf of, a government department, agency or commission;
  • it is edited and published solely by students;
  • any member of its editorial board is under SSHRC sanction for financial or research misconduct;
  • it has an operating surplus equal to or greater than two years worth of operating expenses; or
  • a non-Canadian publisher owns the exclusive copyright to its contents.

Journal subject matter

SSHRC’s Subject Matter Eligibility guidelines apply to all SSHRC funding opportunities. A journal is ineligible for Aid to Scholarly Journals funding if:

  • its mandate and/or content is primarily focused outside of discipline(s) within SSHRC’s mandate; and/or
  • its content is primarily health-related or aimed at improving, promoting or influencing health, health care, health policy, or health-care-related services.

 Note: Multidisciplinary journals that publish articles outside of SSHRC’s mandate are eligible to apply for Aid to Scholarly Journals funding, provided that their mandate and publications fall primarily within SSHRC’s mandate. If a multidisciplinary journal has been deemed eligible and is successful in the Aid to Scholarly Journals competition, the level of funding awarded will be adjusted to reflect the percentage of its articles devoted to social sciences and humanities content.

If formally requested, SSHRC staff can, prior to the deadline, offer prospective applicants advice regarding the eligibility of a journal’s subject matter. Prospective applicants may receive such advice by submitting the following to the program officer before January 31, 2014:

  • a formal letter (maximum two pages) from the journal’s editors to the Aid to Scholarly Journals program officer, explaining how the journal meets SSHRC’s subject matter eligibility criteria; and
  • the four most recent issues of the journal (or, for online journals, the 12 most recently posted articles) published prior to November 29, 2013 as well as a copy of the journal’s mission statement or mandate.

SSHRC will endeavor to provide advice in response to these formal requests by the end of March 2014. While SSHRC aims to provide the best possible advice in advance of application, final decisions on eligibility for all applications will be made only upon receipt of the full application.


The applicant must be the editor-in-chief of the journal.


Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible postsecondary institution or eligible not-for-profit organization (which, for the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, is defined as either the journal itself or a scholarly association or press that either administers or owns the journal).

Institutions or organizations proposing to administer any grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. The institutional eligibility of a journal, scholarly association or press is normally restricted to the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity only.

Important: SSHRC strongly encourages all journals, scholarly associations and presses that wish to establish or renew institutional eligibility for this funding opportunity to contact SSHRC as early as possible, at Note that institutional eligibility is granted to some not-for-profit organizations on a per-grant basis. These not-for-profit organizations must, therefore, apply to renew their eligibility before the applicant submits the Aid to Scholarly Journals grant application.  

Application Process

Applications must be submitted by the applicant (i.e., the editor-in-chief of the journal) on behalf of the journal. Applicants must complete the application form (available under Apply) and follow the accompanying instructions.


Evaluation and Adjudication

All applications will undergo adjudication by scholars from a variety of disciplines and who are well versed in journal operations.

The adjudication committee will base its assessment on:

  • the two most recent issues of the journal, or, if the journal does not distribute articles by issue, the six articles published immediately prior to the application deadline;
  • documented readership data (e.g., subscriber lists and/or web-usage reports);
  • all available measures of impact for the journal (e.g., as taken from citation indexes and/or altmetrics, where available), or, lacking these, an evaluation by the applicant of the journal’s impact;
  • the editor-in-chief’s record of research and scholarly achievement;
  • the full list of members of the editorial board;
  • a description of the editorial board’s role and responsibilities;
  • the journal’s mission statement or mandate;
  • a full, detailed description of the journal’s procedures for selecting articles and conducting peer review;
  • an outline of the journal’s strategic direction for the period to be covered by the grant; and
  • the journal’s publication plan for the period to be covered by the grant.

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used by adjudication committee members to evaluate Aid to Scholarly Journals grant applications:  

1. Quality and Impact of the Journal (40%):

  • rigour and quality of the processes used to select and peer review articles;
  • relevance of the articles published in relation to the journal’s objectives;
  • distinctiveness of the journal’s content;
  • value of the contribution the journal has made to its field(s) of research; and
  • impact of the journal’s articles (e.g., as measured through citation indexes, metrics, or as described by the applicant).

2. Editorial Direction (40%):

  • academic standing of, and leadership provided by, the editor-in-chief;
  • appropriateness of the editorial board membership;
  • evidence of the active engagement of board members; and
  • soundness of the journal’s proposed objectives for the period covered by the grant.

3. Nature and Effectiveness of the journal’s Current and Proposed Dissemination Strategies (20%):

  • diversity and relevance of the journal’s proposed strategies for reaching the appropriate readership;
  • nature and extent of the journal’s readership, and of the journal’s efforts to increase or broaden that readership, including, where applicable, plans for transitioning to an open access business model;
  • overall appearance and presentation of the journal’s content; and
  • where appropriate, design and usability of the journal’s website.


A journal must receive a total score of 75 per cent or higher to be considered eligible for funding; however, eligibility does not guarantee funding. All applications receiving an overall score of 75 per cent or higher will be rank-ordered.

The adjudication committee will then establish an appropriate level of funding for each eligible journal by assessing the viability of its publication plan, and, if applicable, its justification for distribution costs and/or costs related to transitioning to or maintaining an electronic format.

The number of eligible journals that receive grants will depend on the overall funding opportunity budget and the availability of funds.

Administrative Regulations and Related Information

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications. Grant holders must comply with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

For descriptions of SSHRC terms, see Definitions of Terms.

Contact Information

For more information about the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, please contact the program officer, at:

Tel.: 613-996-6976