Research profile: Philippe Mongeon

Philippe Mongeon, School of Information Management

Rethinking scholarly publishing to support access to knowledge and a sustainable future

Access to scholarly knowledge is a prerequisite to its translation into improved practices and policies and to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. While much of the published research is behind a paywall and not easily accessible by the public, an increasing proportion of the literature is openly available on the Web. Our research program uses bibliometrics to study journals, open access publishing, open access policies, and the use of open access literature. We provide empirical evidence that publishers increasingly use open access publishing models based on article processing charges (APCs) to extract more profits than ever from the global research system. Indeed, despite recent efforts by Canadian universities to negotiate better “deals” with publishers, the gains have been largely offset by the fees for open access publications paid by researchers.

However, universities operate institutional repositories that can be used to make research accessible without relying on corporations. We provide an empirical overview of the use of these repositories in Canadian universities and of the institutional policies in place to support it. Finally, we hypothesize that the fundamental functions of scholarly journals—dissemination and structuring of research and research communities—have become secondary in our modern research system, where the notions of journals as profit-generating or ranking devices seem dominant. This research program aims to provide helpful evidence to support development of the more efficient knowledge mobilization systems that we urgently need to help us tackle the issues that jeopardize our future on this planet.