Scholarly communication

Institutional repository
Tri-Council Tips
Author agreements
Open Access
Additional resources

Scholarly Communication is an umbrella term that encompasses all of the ways that researchers and/or scholars communicate knowledge about a particular subject. This term includes information about traditional venues such as academic journals or annual conferences as well as social media strategies or online networks.

The whole system of scholarly communications, from the way research is funded, results are produced, data is organized, and results are distributed has changed in the online environment. Libraries, faculty members, researchers and students have to consider many more issues when conducting research such as open access, costs of published research, changing requirements by funding agencies and repositories of data.

The Library has developed a program to support scholarly communication at Laurier. This includes:

  • maintaining an Institutional Repository, Scholars Commons @ Laurier
  • outreach and consultation for faculty and students on:
    • Open Access Publishing, including meeting TriCouncil requirements
    • Author Agreements

The Library also has a program to support Research Data Management.

Library Open Access (OA) Support

The Library has worked to provide the following support through its relationships with publishers. This list will continue to be updated. The Library does not have funds to assist with APC costs.

APC (Article Processing Charge) Discounts

These discounts are available to Faculty and Staff publishing.

  • ACS (American Chemical Society) - As a result of the Library subscription to the All publications package there is a $250 USD discount on the ACS Author Choice Open Access Service. The discount will be automatically applied.
  • Cambridge University Press Journals - There is now a transformative agreement through our membership in CRKN. No charge for OA publishing in CUP hybrid and gold journals. The discount will be applied automatically with institutional email.
  • Canadian Science Publishing (formerly NRC Research Press) - There is a 25% discount of the APC for hybrid journals. Author must indicate affiliation when submitting.
  • Elsevier ScienceDirect - There is a 20% discount on APC for most hybrid and gold journals. Authors should indicated their institutional affiliation when submitting.
  • Institute of Physics - There will be no APC fees for most hybrid and gold journals. Author affiliation will automatically apply discount.
  • PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine - There are no APC fees for these two journals. Author affiliation will automatically apply discount.
  • Royal Society of Chemistry - There is a 15% discount on all hybrid journals. Authors should indicated institutional affiliation upon submission.
  • Sage Journals - There will be no APC charges for eligible hybrid journals. Authors will receive a 40% discount for most gold open access journals (exclusions apply). Author affiliation will automatically apply discount.
  • Taylor and Francis Journals - There is a 25% discount in T&F Open Select hybrid journals. Author affiliation will automatically apply discount.

Other Discounts

  • ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) Digital Library - provides a discount in our pricing based on APCs paid. This is important because there are providing some accounting of journal pricing and APCs.

Other Library support for OA Initiatives

  • BioLine - is a pioneer in the provision of open access to peer reviewed bioscience journals published in developing countries.
  • Coalition - a strategic partnership created by Érudit and the Public Knowledge Project. It is dedicated to the advancement of research dissemination and digital publishing in the social sciences and humanities.
  • DOAJ - is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • DOAB - is an online directory to increase discoverability of open access books.
  • Erudit - is full-text, peer reviewed Canadian journal articles, chiefly in French. Erudit is an inter-university consortium promoting the dissemination of scholarly research. While not fully OA, we are supporting their efforts towards greater OA and in developing a new model of publishing
  • HathiTrust - is a non-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving digitized books.
  • Knowledge Unlatched - creates and/or disseminates open access scholarly books and journals by working with publishers.
  • Open Library of the Humanities - is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs). Funded by an international consortium of libraries who have joined in the mission to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible, and rigorously preserved for the digital future.
  • ORCID - provides a persistent unique digital identifier for researchers to support research workflows, linkages between you and your work. ORCID-CA is the Canadian consortium of institutions in Canada that have memberships with ORCID to financially support the work of ORCID and leverage community support services.
  • SCOAP3 - is working with leading publishers and has converted key journals in the field of High-Energy Physics to Open Access at no cost for authors. SCOAP3 is centrally paying publishers for the costs involved in providing Open Access, publishers in turn reduce subscription fees to all their customers, who can contribute to SCOAP3.
  • Sherpa/Romeo - is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies.

An institutional repository (IR) is an online collection of digital content created by community members of the institution. The IR at Laurier, Scholars Commons, acts as an online archive that collects, preserves, and disseminates the intellectual, creative, and scholarly output of WLU’s community. Digital assets housed on Scholars Commons include electronic theses and dissertations, faculty publications, monographs, academic journal articles, and more.

Scholars Commons creates a consolidated Web presence for the dissemination, promotion, and preservation of research and scholarly publishing at Laurier. By sharing open content globally through the Internet, the university's scholarship becomes accessible to a much wider audience than through more traditional forms of distribution. The goal is to support open access, collaboration, and lasting visibility and recognition for Laurier scholarship.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Laurier's Scholars Commons now houses electronic versions of approved doctoral and master's level theses and is expanding to include major research papers as part of the requirements for graduation.

Faculty publications

Faculty are encouraged to submit scholarly articles to Scholar's Commons in order to ensure open access to the intellectual, creative, and academic work of the Laurier community. Many author agreements allow pre and post-print copies of articles to be deposited in Scholar's Commons, and faculty have the right to negotiate their publishing contract to include this provision.

Other collections


The Laurier Archives is the Library's research collection of archival papers, rare books, and historic university records. On Scholars Commons, the Archives collection houses digitized versions of The Cord dating back to December 1926. Senate Minutes is the newest addition to the collection.

WLU Press

Scholarly books can transform processes, minds, and cultures. By publishing work of scholarly integrity in various formats, skillfully edited, designed, produced, and marketed, we participate in this transformation and advance new developments in scholarly discourse, contribute to education within and beyond the university, and reflect both our local and global community through the world of ideas. On Scholars Commons, WLU Press contributes scholarly and creative content that does not fit the traditional publishing model, but still offers well-received, interesting content.

OA Journals

Scholars Commons currently houses fully open access journals:


The Library, the Press and the Office of Research Services are all here to assist. We welcome you to contact any of us to discuss meeting the Tri-Council requirements. The Office of Research Services maintains a helpful web page on OA as well.

A pdf copy of this information: Tri-Council Tips handout.

The Tri-Council Open Access Policy

The Tri-Council OA policy requires that you make your peer-reviewed journal article open access 12 months from publication (this only applies to journal articles, e.g. conference papers are not covered.) Read the full policy at Check out their FAQ page too.

You have many options to comply with the policy and that will/should not restrict where you want to publish. The main ones are:

  • Publish in an Open Access Journal
  • Publish any journal that allows or that you can negotiate the right to deposit in a repository like Scholars Commons @ Laurier. Many journals will allow you to deposit a post-reviewed version into a repository after an embargo period which is typically 12 months (to meet Tri-Council requirements it has to be the post-review version.)
  • You can pay an APC (Article Processing Charge) which will make it open access right away and will allow you to deposit a copy in Scholars Commons, but you will need to arrange for funding to do this, such as building APC funding costs in your initial grant application budget.

Tools to identify open access rights of journals

There are 2 main tools:

  • This is a comprehensive database that shows what the open access rights of journals are and saves you from having to go each individual journal's home page.
  • This is the main directory of open access journals. It's a great resource if you are trying to identify OA journals that you might want to publish in.

What to keep track of

There are a few things to get in the habit of doing if you haven’t been doing them:

  • Keep track of your pre-review version. This is the version you send to the publishers for review
  • Keep track of your post-review version. This is the version you send to the publishers after incorporating your reviewers comments and is the text of the version that will be published. We are not always allowed to post the final published copy in Scholars Commons.
  • Keep your author agreement. Remember this can often be negotiated or modified. How much and what clauses will depend on the publisher and what they are willing to accommodate. Over time if they know what faculty are looking for, they will develop better agreements that won’t need to be negotiated. See Author Agreements for more information.

Creative Commons

Open Access frequently makes use of Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons has six distinct licenses that offer more flexibility in the dissemination of work than traditional copyright. For more information please feel free to ask or visit their website,



Charlotte Innerd, Head, Collections and Acquisitions - x2073

Lisa Quinn, Associate Director, WLU Press - x2843

Scholars Commons @ Laurier -

Office of Research Services

Overview of publishing models

Broadly speaking, publishing is the act of making ideas public, whether as research or creative outputs. Traditionally, this has been formally marked by the printing process, which through the publishing industry exercised controls on editorial quality, design and formats according to the communication needs of particularly user groups or markets.

Scholarly publishing consists of both journals and books produced by university presses and other academic publishers, but communication technologies have expanded the options for publication beyond the book. Peer review is a unique and key component of scholarly publishing, and with the proliferation of choices authors need to assess whether peer review will be a component of their publication process. Open Access refers to the business model of publication, not an editorial process. An open access publication, like any commercial publication, whether digital or print, may or may not be peer reviewed.

Where an author publishes first can affect their publishing or use options later on.

  • For example, the availability of an early form of a work in a non-peer reviewed open form online (such as an institutional repository) may mean that the commercial market for that work is limited, which could affect the interest of journal or book publishers, including university presses, in publishing a book project resulting from the work.
  • Alternatively, signing an exclusive license or copyright over to a publisher may mean you are restricted from doing certain things with your own work without permission. It is important to assess your options and your dissemination goals or needs for a project before either signing over your copyright to a publisher, or signing an author agreement, or making your work widely available online.

Author agreements

An author agreement and a publishing contract are both legal documents that share more similarities than differences. Both documents specify the rights and responsibilities of authors and publishers or other content producers and distributors. You might want to watch this video about Author Agreements from SPARC.

What should you look at in your author agreement?

  • It can be negotiated but how much will be dependent on the individual publisher. Read over the agreement carefully and keep a copy of the signed agreement.
  • Pay specific attention to what it says about copyright.
    • Copyright is a collection of rights conferred on to the author via the Copyright Act. Author agreements will ask you to confer some rights to the publisher. It is important to understand what rights and how they are being transferred.
    • In Canada, copyright protection is automatically conferred to an author for all original literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, computer programs, translations and compilations of works, as well as sound recordings, performances and fixed communication. You can transfer those rights to another party, such as a publisher, through a copyright transfer agreement or license.
    • Author rights are those rights retained by the author when signing a publication agreement of any kind. If you have not signed a publication agreement of any kind, copyright resides with an author. If you have signed an agreement or contract, it should specify the status of copyright for the work.
    • Signing an exclusive license can be functionally equivalent to signing over all of your copyright, so read your agreement carefully and make sure you are clear on what rights you are retaining.
    • Where an author publishes first can affect their publishing or use options later on. For example, the availability of an early form of a work in a non-peer reviewed open form online (such as an institutional repository) may mean that the commercial market for that work is limited, which could affect the interest of journal or book publishers, including university presses, in publishing a book project resulting from the work.
  • Do I need to acquire permission to use a work?
    • There are various interpretations of how the law would apply to different uses. There is a difference between user rights, such as those outlined under the terms of fair dealing in the Canadian Copyright Act, and your right to reproduce anothers work as a creator, particularly if you are reproducing that work in a form which will be sold (commercial use). Please consult with your publisher about their policy and country of jurisdiction.

Read all agreements carefully to ensure you full understand their implications.


At Laurier, the Press and the Library both offer consultation services on matters related to all types of publishing contracts and author agreements should you be seeking clarification or advice on how to proceed.

Charlotte Innerd, Head, Collections and Acquisitions - x2073

Lisa Quinn, Associate Director, WLU Press - x2843

Open Access (OA) is a concept in which scholarly information is available to the widest possible readership.

Open access items have these qualities:

  • Free to the user
  • Available immediately (i.e. No publisher restrictions)
  • Permanent location or URL
  • Online format

Open Access allows scholarly research to be distributed as broadly as possible. By providing their information and scholarly output to others, researchers can increase the impact of their work in areas or circumstances they may not have originally considered.

Books, theses, data, reports, and peer-reviewed journal articles can be made ‘open access’ by:

  • Depositing your data or work in an institutional repository
  • Choosing to publish your research in an OA journal
  • Including a clause in your publishing contract that permits OA.

The Impact of open access

The impact of an Open Access (OA) item is the information, data or document being available online at no cost to the user, which allows readers who may be social policy analysts, community support workers, independent researchers or anyone who is unable to pay for the information or does not have access to library research databases to access and read the information.

Allowing research output to be disseminated widely increases the impact and value of the information as shown by its visibility and how often it is cited by other researchers. Researchers who have negotiated to keep their information open access may have it published in peer-reviewed journals and still be permitted to share it with other researchers, students, or post it to their website, all without contravening copyright.

By ensuring research remain open access, information is accessible to individuals regardless of cost or access limitations. Individuals are not required to subscribe to a scholarly journal or database, at a cost which can be thousands of dollars, in order to read the latest research in their subject area. Research is also available much more quickly than through an academic publisher and the authors of the research can choose to post their information in a digital repository for immediate and future use. Google and other search engines actively index Open Access repositories such as Laurier Library’s institutional repository Scholars Commons @ Laurier, so the resources held here are open to researchers worldwide.

Types of open access

Gratis OA is the term for items that have some permission barriers, often related to copyright or licensing. Libre OA is the term for items that have removed most or all of the permission barriers.

Gold publishing refers to those open access journals that contain peer-reviewed research which publishers make immediately and completely available at no cost.

Hybrid journals require that authors who contribute content pay an "OA" fee to have their research made available at the gold OA level. Increasingly, universities are maintaining an “authors’ fund” to provide financial support for researchers whose work is accepted for publication in these journals.

Green publishing is the term for the publishing model that allows researchers and authors to make their scholarly articles open access in an institutional repository, such as Laurier’s Scholars Commons. A large number of journals provide this type of open access, allowing authors to self-archive their work in pre-print or post-print format. Some publishers might require the author to wait a certain period of time after publication in the journal, an “embargo period”, before making their material available. PRE & POST PRINTS A pre-print is the name given the version of the item prior to peer-review and publication. The post-print is what it's called after that item has been peer-reviewed. Items which have not yet been copy-edited, after the peer-review process, might still be eligible to be deposited in an open access repository, however, each publisher has its own unique author permissions.

OA & COPYRIGHT Copyright is a collection of rights that the author or creator transfers to a publisher through a contract. If the author negotiates to hold part of the copyright, their work may continue to be used, for example:

  • deposited in an open access repository
  • distributed to colleagues
  • used as teaching materials

To find a publisher that allows author rights in this way, search the Sherpa/Romeo database found on the Additional resources page.

More information about open access

  • About Open Access Peter Suber (Harvard University) has written an overview of the development of the open access movement.
  • How Open Is It? An excellent guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”
  • SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) " international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system."
  • SHERPA/JULIET JULIET provides a summary of funder policies related to grant awards. It provides information related to requirements for open access archiving, open access publishing and data archiving.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO Searchable by publisher or journal title, this site provides information on publisher permissions related to the self-archiving of journal articles.
  • SPARC Canadian Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher's agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles, and a brochure on how to use it

Canadian research funding


Examples of open access collectives

  • Open access to over 500,000 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.
  • PubMed Central "The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature."
  • PLoS (Public Library of Science) PLoS, a non-profit organization founded by a group of biomedical scientists, currently publishes seven open access biomedical journals, six of which are ranked for impact factor by ISI's Journal Citation Reports.
  • BioMed Central (BMC) A commercial publisher which produces about 200 open access journals, over 20 of which are ranked for impact factor by ISI's Journal Citation Reports.