January 2024

In This Issue:


What’s New at Scholars Portal?

  • Join us in welcoming Virginie Paquet and Tameem Hamid to the Borealis Team!
  • Planning is underway for Scholars Portal Days 2024. This will be a virtual event, and information about dates, theme, and lightning talk submissions will be available soon.
  • We have a Bluesky account!
  • OCUL, CARL, UTL, and Scholars Portal have begun collaborations for a Shared National Repository Service.The service will be built using DSpace with Scholars Portal providing reliable hosting, security, and tech support. More information about the project and a call for early adopter participants will be available soon.
  • The SPOTDocs migration is only a few weeks away! XWiki will be the new home for SPOTDocs and will go live on Tuesday, February 13. The new SPOTDocs URL will be docs.scholarsportal.info. Learn more about what to expect in the coming weeks, including key dates and an introduction to XWiki on the Project RAMP Migration FAQs page.
  • A year of goodbyes is ahead of us! 2024 is the final year of RACER and Nesstar. With the new Odesi fully integrated with Borealis and new avenues of resource sharing open to us, both RACER and Odesi’s former Nesstar repository will officially sunset in the coming months.
  • Scholars Portal is hosting a two-part virtual event for Love Data Week 2024 on February 15 and 16 at 1 p.m., in partnership with Borealis, Queen’s University, the Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA), and the Consortium on Electoral Democracy (C-DEM). The sessions will focus on public opinion and election data in Odesi, and will feature presentations on research data initiatives for data equity and democracy. This event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required.
  • We will also be hosting a Scholars Portal 101 webinar on Thursday, March 7 at 10 a.m. The webinar will provide an overview of Scholars Portal’s history, services, and projects. Both new and longtime OCUL library staff are encouraged to attend. Registration is required.


New Content

New on Scholars Portal Journals:

  • As of the end of 2023, there are over 4 million Open Access articles on the Journals platform.
  • BioLine International, a database of Open Access biosciences journals from developing countries supported by the University of Toronto at Scarborough, will be sunsetting in 2024. The archived content will be hosted on Scholars Portal Journals. We have received the BioLine data and are working to convert the original database into a format we can load to the Journals platform.

New on Scholars Portal Books:

  • As of 2024, all ACUP titles will come exclusively via De Gruyter. We are loading them as soon as we receive them, and there is no change except to activate the 2024 collection when it becomes available in Alma.
  • The Azrieli Holocaust Survivors Memoirs series is now available and open to all Scholars Portal Books subscribers by request. To request access to this collection please email books@scholarsportal.info.

New geospatial datasets in Scholars GeoPortal:

  • DMTI 2023 CanMap Content Suite Collection (In Progress – Coming Soon!). The CanMap Content Suite from DMTI contains over 100 unique and rich content layers. Each layer has a unique file and layer name with associated definitions, descriptions, attribution and metadata. The collection includes coast-to-coast GIS data from Streetfiles, Route Logistics, and Postal Code Suite, plus: Topographic information including water, rail, parks, land use and enhanced points of interest; Utility infrastructure; Police and fire stations; Provincial and municipal boundaries; Street network and routing attribution (speed limits, turn restrictions, etc).

New surveys in Odesi:

  • Individuals File, 2021 Census of Population [Canada] (Public Use Microdata Files), Census year 2021: The Individuals File, 2021 Census Public Use Microdata Files (PUMF) provides data on the characteristics of the Canadian population. The file contains a 2.7% sample of anonymous responses to the 2021 Census questionnaire. The files have been carefully scrutinized to ensure the complete confidentiality of the individual responses and geographic identifiers have been restricted to provinces/territories and metropolitan areas. With 144 variables, this comprehensive tool is excellent for policy analysts, pollsters, social researchers and anyone interested in modelling and performing statistical regression analysis using the Census.
  • National Travel Survey, 2022: Person file [Canada]: The National Travel Survey provides statistics on the activities of Canadian residents related to domestic and international tourism. It was developed to measure the volume, the characteristics and the economic impact of tourism. For the Canadian System of National Accounts, NTS measures the size of domestic travel in Canada from the demand side.
  • Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey, 2022: The main objective of the Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey is to gather information about the prevalence of cigarette smoking, vaping, and cannabis use. Health Canada and other organizations will use the data to monitor changes in vaping, cannabis use and tobacco use. This information is vital to the effective development and implementation of national and provincial strategies, policies and programs aimed at reducing the harms associated with the use of these substances.
  • Canadian Income Survey (CIS), 2020: The CIS is a cross-sectional survey developed to provide information on the income and income sources of Canadians, with their individual and household characteristics. It is a short questionnaire which is asked of a sub-sample of respondents to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), gathering information on labour market activity, school attendance, support payments, child care expenses, inter-household transfers, personal income, food security and characteristics and costs of housing.


Spotlight: A Year in the Life: A Library Publisher Supporting Student Journals

The spotlight is an opportunity for members of the OCUL community to share how Scholars Portal services fit into their work. This edition’s spotlight was contributed by Kristin Hoffmann and Emily Carlisle-Johnston at Western Libraries.

Western Libraries’ journal publishing service, provided by Research and Scholarly Communication Librarians Kristin Hoffmann and Emily Carlisle-Johnston, publishes 38 active Open Access journals via Open Journal Systems (OJS). Of those 38 journals, 15 are faculty journals while the other 23 are student journals. Of the student journals, 12 primarily publish content by undergraduates, while 11 publish content by graduate students. They publish in a range of subject areas—from music to medicine—and three are multilingual, publishing content in French or Spanish as well as in English.

Scholars Portal’s exceptional hosting and technical support for OJS means that we can focus on providing tailored support for journal teams rather than on maintaining the OJS software.

Most student journals publish one issue of their journal each year. Here are key things we do over the year to support student journal teams:

  • In the fall, we reach out to and meet with new editors. Many student journals have yearly turnover, and we can provide a stable point of contact to help with their succession planning.
  • To further help their succession planning, we created a transition document for student journal teams. Editors can customize and fit it to the unique needs of their journals, but the idea is that they document workflows, timelines, and passwords—anything that future journal teams would need to know.
  • In the winter term, we organize a journal meet-up for students to share their experiences as editors. These meet-ups are fun and invigorating. Students enjoy talking about how their journal operates, and they get new ideas from their peers. We also benefit from hearing them talk candidly about what is working well or what challenges they have.
  • In the spring, we meet with editors again. Since this is often when they are getting ready to publish their issue, we review the publishing steps to make sure that the articles are published properly. Some teams ask us to review their published issue so that they can quickly address any errors. We also talk about their transition plans for the coming year, referring to the transition document and asking that they pass our contact information on to successors.
  • We also encourage students to participate in the annual online Student Journal Forum (SJF), which is now in its 9th year. The SJF is a Canada-wide event that lets student editors connect with one another and improve their skills and knowledge of journal publishing. Several of our student editors have presented sessions about their journals at past Forums, and several more will be presenting this year.

This year’s Student Journal Forum will take place on February 20-22, 2024 and all are invited. To see the program and register, visit the SJF 2024 event page.

Our tailored and active approach to supporting student editors has enabled their continuity over the years, and we are grateful that the technical and hosting support from Scholars Portal have given us room to provide this level of service to our students!


Kristin Hoffmann and Emily Carlisle-Johnston are Research and Scholarly Communications Librarians at the University of Western Ontario. You can learn more about Western Libraries’ Journal Publishing Services on the Western Libraries’ OJS page

Scholars Portal hosts Open Journal Systems (OJS) for 12 institutions across Ontario, with over 150 active journals containing more than 45,000 published articles. The service includes software hosting, troubleshooting, upgrades, and Crossref sponsorship for DOI minting.


The Nitty-Gritty

New and improved features:

  • All Permafrost Archivematica instances were upgraded to v1.14 on November 9, 2023.
  • There is a new Report Issue Form for Ask a Librarian, intended to enhance user accessibility and efficiency.
  • We are working on a new tool that will let the ACE team edit the auto-generated Table of Contents files for digitized books, allowing for much neater chapter splitting.
  • The Odesi team is in the process of creating a new, combined version of the Data Explorer and Data Curation tools for Odesi in Dataverse. This work will take place over the coming months. More information about the new tool will be announced at the Love Data Week event on February 16 at 1 p.m.
  • The Journals team has modified the De Gruyter loader to convert XML full text so that HTML and EPUB versions of this content can be provided.

Bug fixes:

  • The Journals team has resolved an issue with the Wiley FTP, reconciling Blackwell and Wiley collections and updating the property file so the Wiley loader will load the content from Wiley datasets instead of Blackwell datasets.
  • The Journals team has resolved an issue with duplicate folders and the duplicate has now been removed.

Many thanks to all those who reported bugs to us or assisted in testing! If you spot any problems, please report them via our built-in feedback forms or to help@scholarsportal.info.


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Next edition: May 2024

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