Aid to Scholarly Journals

September 2021 Competition

Value Up to $30,000 per year (base grant)

Up to $5,000 per year (supplementary funding)
Duration 3 years
Application deadlineFootnote * September 10, 2021 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced March 2022
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

On this page


Aid to Scholarly Journals grants are expected to respond to the objectives of the Insight research program. They support Canadian scholarly dissemination by offering a contribution to enable journals to explore innovative activities as well as to help them to defray the costs associated with publishing scholarly articles, digital publishing and journal distribution on Canadian not-for-profit platforms.

Aid to Scholarly Journals grants are meant to:

  • increase dissemination, discoverability and readership of original research results in the social sciences and humanities through Canadian scholarly journals;
  • leverage significant federal investments in digital scholarly publishing infrastructure;
  • assist journals as they seek to take advantage of developments in digital technologies and innovative practices; and
  • encourage the transition to open access models of publishing.

Value and duration

Aid to Scholarly Journals grants are valued at up to $30,000 per year over three years.

The value of the grant will be calculated on the basis of a fixed rate for each approved, peer-reviewed scholarly article (see Definitions below) to be published during each year of the grant period.

There are two per-article rates:

  • $1,050 for journals that offer immediate open access or delayed open access with an embargo period of 12 months or less, and do not charge article processing charges (APCs); and
  • $850 for journals that offer immediate open access but charge APCs.

In addition, as part of the total grant value, the applicant may request up to $5,000 per year to contribute to the costs related to the development and implementation of innovative practices (e.g., developing a social media strategy aimed at increasing the dissemination and impact of the journal’s articles and/or content; extensive hyperlinking within the text; developing innovative layouts and structures for articles; producing high-quality graphics, videos and podcasts; offering interactivity for after-publication discussions).

Supplementary funding for journals hosted on Canadian not-for-profit digital content and distribution platforms

SSHRC recognizes the importance of increasing access to research results and ensuring that viable Canadian not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform options are available to Canadian researchers and journals. Therefore, journals hosted on a Canadian not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform (see Definitions below) can request, on top of their $30,000 base grant, supplementary funding valued at up to $5,000 per year.


Subject matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Proposals can involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. See the guidelines on subject matter eligibility for more information.

A journal is ineligible for funding under this funding opportunity 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 and focused on clinical research and education, psychomotor research and kinesiology, counselling and therapy, and epidemiology.

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 will, prior to the deadline, make every effort to offer prospective applicants advice regarding the eligibility of a journal’s subject matter. While SSHRC aims to provide the best possible advice in advance of an 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 or, in the case of an editorial collective, one of the editors;
  • be a faculty member of an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution; and
  • assume responsibility for the grant.


Grant funds can be administered only 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 proposing to administer a 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 solely to the Aid to Scholarly Journals funding opportunity. See SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions.

All not-for-profit organizations that require institutional eligibility must contact SSHRC at at least five business days prior to the application deadline to be added to the application form and begin the eligibility process.

Applying for or renewing institutional eligibility

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. Applications for institutional eligibility must be submitted at least five business days prior to the grant application deadline.

Journals and articles

To be eligible for support, a journal must:

  • meet the definition of a scholarly journal (see Definitions below);
  • offer either immediate open access upon publication or delayed open access with a 12-month maximum embargo period;
  • submit each article (see Definitions below) 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 two issues per year, each having at least three peer-reviewed articles or, for electronic journals not publishing in issue format, at least six peer-reviewed articles per year over the two-year timeframe—journals unable to meet the required publication minimums due to the impacts of COVID-19 can nevertheless be considered eligible for support, but to be considered eligible, must describe these impacts in their application;
  • publish primarily in English and/or French; and
  • meet at least one of the two following criteria:
    1. a minimum of one third of the core editorial board is affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution; and/or
    2. the journal title is owned by a Canadian not-for-profit organization.

Note: Journals that are published and/or distributed by a commercial organization may apply if they meet all the criteria above; however, a case will need to be made for the need for SSHRC funding.


SSHRC provides Definitions of Terms used in the grant application process. The following definitions apply specifically to this funding opportunity.


For the purposes of this funding opportunity, an 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.

Ineligible article types include: introductions; individual book, article or event reviews; letters to the editor; and editorials.

Canadian not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, an eligible Canadian not-for-profit digital content and distribution platform must offer integrated technical services that meet international standards related to:

  • data and metadata processing (indexing, search functionalities, reference set, metadata standards, identifiers digital object identifiers);
  • workflow management, use of open source or non-commercial publishing tools (e.g., Open Journal Systems, Lodel, other XML tools) to manage the publishing process; and
  • dissemination (distribution, interoperability, referencing, harvesting, metrics).

The platform must host more than 20 scholarly journals as defined above; they may include some journals with content outside the social sciences and humanities, but cannot include student-run journals.

Examples of eligible platforms: Érudit, Canadian Science Publishing, University of Toronto Press, University of Alberta Libraries.

Scholarly journal

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a scholarly journal is defined as a peer-reviewed academic publication that disseminates the results of original scholarship.

A publication is ineligible as a scholarly journal 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 is a hybrid journal offering some content open access (with or without an APC) and other content via subscription; and/or
  • a non-Canadian publisher owns the exclusive copyright to its contents.

Application process

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer, or equivalent, from the applicant’s institution, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organization who has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

Once the 8:00 p.m. (eastern) application deadline has passed, the application server will be offline for 48 hours and unable to accept applications.

Evaluation and adjudication

Applications are adjudicated, and available funds are awarded, through a competitive merit review process. SSHRC bases funding decisions on the recommendations of the adjudication committee and on the funds available. Committee discussions are guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

SSHRC is committed to ensuring high-quality adjudication of all proposals, in particular by ensuring that an appropriate variety of disciplines are represented and that committee members are well versed in journal operations.

Aid to Scholarly Journals grant applications are evaluated through a single-stage committee review process that does not involve external assessments. All Aid to Scholarly Journals adjudication committees are multidisciplinary.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used 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 traditional metrics or altmetrics, or as described by the applicant).
  2. Editorial direction (30%):
    • leadership provided by the editor-in-chief;
    • appropriateness of the editorial board / publishing team membership;
    • evidence of the active engagement of board/team 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 (30%):
    • 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
    • design and usability of the journal’s website.

Journals will be asked to provide online access to the issues/articles published since June 1, 2019.

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria above, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score.

Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria in order to be recommended for funding.

Score Descriptor
5-6 Very good to excellent
4-4.9 Good to very good
3-3.9 Satisfactory to good
Below 3 Unsatisfactory

Communication of results

SSHRC makes competition results available to applicants (via the SSHRC Extranet for Applicants) and institutions (via the Grants and Scholarships Administration Portal), as applicable. All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the adjudication committee’s evaluation of their proposal, where applicable.

Regulations, policies and related information

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information included. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

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

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

Aid to Scholarly Journals grant funds cannot be used for salaries, stipends or release time for faculty (including editors, co-editors, and/or members of editorial or review boards).

Contact information

For information not found here or in the Aid to Scholarly Journals Frequently Asked Questions, contact:

Tel.: 613-996-6976

Date modified: