Live-blogging the 2009 Vancouver PKP Conference

Moving from Paper Production to Online Open Access with Open Journal Systems: The Session Blog

Presenter: Laura C. Botsford, Assistant to the Editor, Canadian Journal of Sociology, University of Alberta

Time: 4-5 pm, July 9th, 2009

Place: SFU Harbour Centre, Sauder Industries Room 2270


Session Overview


In the early days of the Canadian Journal of Sociology, a great deal of manual work was required to print the journal, from getting galleys to making notes in the margins, to cutting to appropriate size and pasting onto paper sheets, etc. The editors of the journal soon realized that they were susceptible to too many external factors and decided to move to typesetting and a mainframe computer. While this newer technology had its advantages, there were many codes to learn and all that could be seen was the markup language; not the end result. The lack of a preview often created surprises for the editors when the pages were printed. Eventually technology progressed and the journal got some computers with What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) capabilities– but they still had to go through the whole printing process. Dr. Kevin D. Haggerty took over as editor in 2007 and within a few months, decided to go electronic and open access with the journal. While everyone involved had many questions and qualms, they ultimately ‘took the plunge.’

Related Information Re: Printing Processes

Click here for a printing press demonstration on Youtube

A more recent version of the printing press:


Using the Open Journal System (OJS)

Moving to electronic publishing has reduced many of the traditional problems involved with the printing process and OJS has features that are very helpful, such as its functionality for the second review– the system automatically generates a list of reviewers and filters out those who have already declined in the first review.

However, OJS still poses many problems for users, so patience and technical support is absolutely critical.

Session Questions

Comment: There are currently seventeen journals running on the University of Alberta website, but the Canadian Journal of Sociology has been the most conversive, and questions have really pushed the development of OJS forward.

Question: What was the driving force to move to online and open access? We were becoming aware of the new generation of scholars coming up, and they are expecting to see their info on the internet. Also, printing and mailing is becoming increasingly expensive.

Question: How many copies were being printed prior to moving to electronic form? Answer: 1000

Question: How has converting from print to open access impacted the finances of the journal? Answer: It was a subscription journal, but the journal has been anomalous. We had some money in the bank, and received money from aggregators who have continued to contribute. One of the reasons for moving to open access was that subscriptions were dwindling– libraries were declining because they were lacking space and funding.

Question: Any plans to digitize back files? Answer: Yes. We haven’t tried it yet, but are definitely planning to.

Question: What is your business model? How much does it really cost to run the journal? Revenue stream? etc. Answer: Revenue stream usually from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and aggregators, but we also had money in bank that was invested. We also benefit from non-monetary things that the university provides, such as office space, release time from teaching for Dr. Haggerty, etc.


Taking the plunge Haggerty, K.D. (2008). “Taking the plunge: open access at the Canadian Journal of Sociology” Information Research, 13(1) paper 338. [Available at]

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