The following response from Cameron MacDonald (CISTI) is posted with his permission:
From: Macdonald, Cameron
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 12:15 PM
To: Dianne Kharouba
Cc: Meighan, Donna
Subject: NRC Research Press
Someone on my staff recommended that I should look at your website and review the material you had on the “The Press”.
All of us appreciate your concern for what is happening to us and to the national science library side of CISTI as a result of the recent federal government’s Strategic Review.
I would like to comment on the following text from your website:
“NRC Press will be privatized. Without being eligible for depository services program, the NRC Research Press journals will no longer be freely available to the Canadian public that funds them through their tax dollars. The NRC Press publishes many open-access, peer-reviewed journals. There is considerable risk that such privatization will lead to a takeover by a foreign publishing giant, effectively closing this door to open Canadian access.”
It is certainly correct to assume that when the NRC Research Press moves to a not-for-profit environment, we will eventually lose the support of the Depository Services Program. The DSP program support has been a great asset for all Canadians. The DSP is mandated to support only government publications and as such it is not reasonable to expect their continued support. The federal government has other publishing support subsidies and we will be investigating these programs. We at the Press are very grateful for the support shown by the DSP over the last 7 years.
In developing our plans for the new company we evaluated the risk of Canada losing the NRC Research Press journals, the advanced scientific publishing platform and the expertise. Our choice of a not-for-profit company structure and the involvement of stakeholders including societies, NRC, researchers and libraries in the future governance structure for the company addresses this risk and will help to protect the Press from a takeover by a “foreign publishing giant”.
Though moving the Press over to a new corporate entity poses many challenges, particularly in this economy, it also opens up a lot of opportunities. The Press has for years been expected to “recover its costs” within the National Research Council. It has in fact been a successful business for many years. We are really just moving the business from one environment to another.
Running this type of cost recovery organization has become more and more difficult as the Government has tried to institute strict measures to ensure accountable. The restraints erected in virtually all government processes and procedures have become increasingly difficult to manage over the last few years. Putting aside the obvious and serious impact on staff for a moment, it might in fact be beneficial for the Press to move out of the government and with new flexibility and freedoms, find a new path in scholarly publishing.
Again, thank you for your concern over our situation. If CHLA or its members have any questions regarding the progress of the NRC Research Press situation, please feel free to contact me.
Tel: 613 993-1931
Director,NRC Research Press,Canada Institute for Scientifc and Technical Information
National Research Council of Canada, Building M-55, 1200 Montreal Road, Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R6
Directeur,Presses scientifiques du CNRC, Institut canadien de l'information scientifique et technique
Counseil national de recherches Canada, Edifice M-55, 1200 chemin Montreal, Ottawa Canada K1A 0R6