8 / www.universityaffairs.ca / January 2017
Concordia ventures into
open access book publishing
at a time when publishers and libraries
are grappling with economic pressures,
Concordia University has jumped into the
fray, launching its own scholarly press that
will operate out of the university library.
Concordia University Press is Quebec’s
first fully open access academic press that will
publish books in English and French. The
goal, according to university librarian
Guylaine Beaudry and editor-in-chief Geoffrey Little, is to create a sustainable operation
for research dissemination in the arts, humanities and social sciences
by offering online access
to ebooks free of charge.
The venture, which
officially launched Octo-
ber 27, emerged from a sense of urgency and
a desire to create new options, explains Dr.
Beaudry. “Libraries are in a very difficult situ-
ation. More than 50 percent of journals are
controlled by five publishers, and these pub-
lishers are creating an oligopoly in the mar-
ket. That is putting pressure on the libraries,
and now we see that we have less and less
money in our budget for books.”
Concordia University Press provides an-
other outlet for scholars to publish their find-
ings in a monograph and not just in journals,
she says. “As librarians and members of the
university community, we value the book as a
The press is set to publish four titles in
2017 and 10 titles annually by 2022. “We’re
in the process of learning and adjusting the
model with a long-term vision,” she says.
“We’re conscious that it’s the reputation of a
new publishing house that we’re building. If
we don’t have that, in five years we can turn
off the lights and go home.”
Because the business model of an open
access press is not driven by projected sales,
an early commitment of $150,000 from the
Birks Family Foundation and $100,000
from alumnus Brian Neysmith proved criti-
cal for establishing the initiative. The funds
will go largely toward production costs.
“What we want to be able to demonstrate
– anqi shen
to authors, funders, administrators and read-
ers is a book’s impact,” says press editor Mr.
Little, “which you can’t judge simply by the
number of downloads or hits. I think those
metrics have become a little more sophisti-
cated even in the past year and a half.”
In the past decade in Canada, Athabasca
University and the University of Calgary also
have opted to run fully open access presses.
“ We’re conscious that
it’s the reputation of a
new publishing house
that we’re building.”
White winter key to a greener air conditioner
One of a series of tweets by University of British Columbia
President Santa Ono (@ubcprez) on Nov. 14 highlighting education, research and shared governance as the core of a university.
[W]hen someone asks why it is important
to involve students in decision-making,
I reply: Have you forgotten that we exist
to educate them?
a cleaner, greener air conditioner might
just be found at the bottom of a snow pile.
Researchers at the University of British
Columbia Okanagan have analyzed three air
conditioning models that use snow as a
coolant to discover which one is the most
sustainable alternative to the air conditioning
units found in most Canadian buildings today.
In snow-based cooling systems, snow is
stored in the winter and meltwater is pumped
from the stockpile to a building’s circulation
system. It’s how snow gets stored in the system
that determines how sustainable the model
really is, according to the study published in
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy.
A conventional snow storage system
keeps snow in an underground pit on coarse
grain. Space requirements make this method
least sustainable. A watertight snow storage
system uses asphalt or plastic to waterproof
the pit, but this system loses points because
the materials aren’t green. A high-density
snow storage system, which compacts the
snow before it gets stored in a waterproof pit,
proved most sustainable of all.
“The potential of this system to be used
for large buildings and institutions looks
promising,” Rehan Sadiq, a study co-author,
told Popular Science. “This type of system could
eventually help large organizations recoup
some of the considerable costs associated with
snow removal.” – natalie samson
Geoffrey Little co-leads
(with head librarian
new publishing division.