Aid to Scholarly Journals
June 2011 Competition
||Up to $30,000 per year
||June 30, 2011 (Closed)
||Application form not available
Value and Duration
Evaluation and Adjudication
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 the way 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 position on open access, SSHRC has designed this funding opportunity to allow journals to seek support regardless of business model or distribution format.
The objective of this funding opportunity is to increase access to, and readership for, original research results in the social sciences and humanities through Canadian scholarly journals.
Through the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, SSHRC will contribute to the broad dissemination and impact of original research results in social science and humanities scholarship through Canadian scholarly journals. The funding opportunity will also assist journals as they seek to take advantage of advances in communication technologies.
Funds will be awarded to help defray the costs of publishing scholarly articles, to assist with distribution costs, and to support journal organizations in their transitions to digital media.
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 (i.e., support staff, research associates, technicians);
- copy preparation (including typesetting, copy-editing and translation);
- document layout (including image presentation and converting 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
Grants are tenable for three years. The maximum value of a 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, up to $5,000 per annum may be requested for each of the two following expenses:
- distribution costs, or those costs directly related to the circulation of the journal, be they either print or electronic (printing and mailing costs, fees paid to electronic-service providers, or support of existing websites); and
- transition costs, or those costs directly related to the transition to an electronic medium (the purchase of new computers, including software, costs related to the launch of a website, and staff training).
If funds are requested for these expenses, applicants must provide detailed estimates of costs.
Journals and Articles
For this competition, a 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.
Also, for this competition, an "article" is defined as a record of previously unpublished, high-quality, original research or scholarship that has been accepted for publication after a process of peer review. 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 the 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; or editorials.
To be eligible for support under this program, a journal must:
- meet the definition, given above, of a scholarly journal;
- 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;
- have a minimum of 250 regular readers, as demonstrated through a detailed web-usage report or other verifiable documentation, such as a list of subscribers;
- 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 the board's members are scholars affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution; and
- be published primarily in English and/or French.
A journal is not eligible if:
- it disseminates previously published research results, or mainly publishes material assembled by non-specialists 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 one year's operating expenses; or
- a non-Canadian publisher owns the exclusive copyright to its contents.
Guidelines for the Eligibility of Journal Subject Matter
New SSHRC guidelines regarding subject matter eligibility for health-related research came into effect in 2009 for all SSHRC funding opportunities. For the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, SSHRC’s health–related and general subject matter criteria mean that a journal is ineligible if either of the following occurs:
- the mandate of the journal is primarily focused outside of discipline(s) within SSHRC’s mandate; and/or
- the journal’s content is primarily health-related, or aimed at improving, promoting or influencing health, health care, health policy, or health-care related services.
Given that Aid to Scholarly Journals funding is based on a journal’s content in the two years preceding the application deadline, SSHRC staff can offer prospective applicants advice regarding the eligibility of a journal’s subject matter prior to the deadline. Journals that wish to receive advice from SSHRC as to whether they are eligible to receive SSHRC funds, based on their previous two years of publications, are asked to follow these steps:
- Address a formal letter (maximum two pages) from the journal’s editors to the program officer for the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, explaining how the journal meets SSHRC’s newly clarified subject matter criteria .
- Alongside the letter, submit the four most recent issues of the journal (or, for online journals, 12 most recent articles) published prior to November 1, 2010, as well as a copy of the journal’s mission statement or mandate.
- Send any formal requests prior to January 31, 2011.
SSHRC will endeavor to provide advice in response to these formal requests by the end of March 2011.
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.
Similarly, non-health-related 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 journal has been deemed eligible and becomes successful under the Aid to Scholarly Journals competition, the level of funding awarded to it will be adjusted to reflect the percentage of its articles devoted to social sciences and humanities content.
Applications must be submitted by the applicant (i.e., the editor-in-chief of the journal) on behalf of the journal.
Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible postsecondary institution (the home institution of the applicant) or an eligible not-for-profit organization. For the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity, an eligible not-for-profit organization is defined as either the journal itself or a scholarly association or press that either administers or owns a journal. Institutions or organizations that propose to administer any grant awarded under this funding opportunity must meet the requirements for managing SSHRC funds and must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. The institutional eligibility of a journal, scholarly association or press will normally be restricted to the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity only.
Important: SSHRC strongly encourages all journals, scholarly associations and/or presses that wish to establish institutional eligibility for this funding opportunity to contact SSHRC as soon as possible at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evaluation and Adjudication
All applications will undergo adjudication by scholars from a variety of disciplines who are well-versed in journal operations.
The adjudication committee will base its assessment on, at a minimum, an examination of the following:
- 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;
- all available measures of impact (e.g., as taken from citation indexes) for the journal, or, lacking these, a self-evaluation 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 functioning of the editorial board;
- the journal's mission or mandate statement;
- 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;
- the journal's publication plan for the period to be covered by the grant; and
- documented evidence of the number of regular readers (such as subscriber lists and/or web-usage reports).
Applications will be assessed and scored according to three broad criteria:
I. 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 or as described by the applicant).
II. 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.
III. 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;
- 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 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 and transition costs.
The number of eligible journals that receive grants will depend on the overall funding opportunity budget and the availability of funds.
Applicants must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications. Grant holders must comply with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.
Please address questions about the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity to:
Jocelyne B. Pilon