Starting a journal

*Please note we are not currently accepting any new journal applications for fall 2023/winter 2024.*

What kind of support does McGill Library provide?

McGill Library will:

  • install and provide access to OJS software, waiving all fees
  • evaluate and install upgrades
  • offer initial training workshop on OJS management
  • acquire an ISSN for your journal
  • acquire a URL for your journal within the “” domain

We will also provide consultative services* related to issues of:

What do I need to do to get started?

Step 1: Confirm your journal meets the Library's eligibility criteria.

Step 2:  If you meet the eligibility criteria, review the information above to see if our services meet your journal’s needs.

Step 3: Fill out our questionnaire (for existing journals that wish to migrate to the OJS use this questionnaire)

Step 4: Email the form to escholarship.library [at]

After that the library will contact you to set up an initial meeting to go over any questions and discuss the next steps.

*Information provided to journals is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. 

Eligibility Criteria for Journals Hosted by McGill Library


  • At first: must have an editor-in-chief who is a member of McGill University.
    • McGill Library recognizes that faculty members move to new institutions and editorial boards change. Thus, the primary criteria over time for the editor-in-chief should be that they are a qualified researcher in the field. 

Student-led journals:

  • Must have at least one affiliated McGill staff or faculty member on the editorial board
  • Have demonstrated structure in place for continuity (e.g. 2 year commitment to serving on the editorial board)
  • Have published for at least two consecutive years 

Other criteria for hosting

The journal should:

  • Use an open access business model. The journal web site must state clearly and precisely the terms of use and reuse that readers and authors have when they submit an article or use the published content, particularly if the journal does not use a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licensing will be encouraged by McGill Library & Archives.
  • Include a reviewing process. Many forms of review are possible, including: editor reviewed, blind, double-blind, or open peer-reviewed.
  • Include publicly-available documentation about their review process on their website.
  • Be managed by an editorial board responsible for the intellectual direction and content of the journal.
  • Be active.  Under certain conditions McGill Library & Archives will take backfiles for journals who are not intending to be active on our publishing platform and who have ceased publication. See section: Policy on backfiles pre-library involvement.
  • Have an intent to publish at least once a year
  • Publish in a Latin-character language (the publishing system article poorly supports metadata in a non-Latin characters)
  • If a journal implements an article processing change (APC), they need to have their own mechanism for handling the fee transaction; the Library will not support collecting fees.
    • Author fees, if charged, will always be clearly stated in the “About” section of the journal."
  • Agree to the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)
    • The MoA and the journal's activity will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure McGill Library & Archives is meeting the needs of the journal. 
  • If a student journal wishes to use the word McGill in the title, they must show documentation of approval from Communications and External Relations under Clause 6.2 of the POLICY ON THE USE OF MCGILL UNIVERSITY’S NAME, LOGO AND OTHER TRADEMARKS
  • Faculty-run journals should also demonstrate that they have approval to use the word McGill in the journal title - this can be demonstrated via email confirmation from Communications and External Relations.

DOI Service

Faculty-led journals are automatically eligible for the DOI service. 

Student journals will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for eligibility with the Library’s DOI service.  

What publications are ineligible?

Professional or trade magazines, bulletins, newsletters, or advocacy publications. The journal should publish original, previously unpublished research.

Policy on back files pre-library involvement (including digitization)

The McGill Library & Archives offers a free service to pre-existing journals moving to publishing through the Library's journal hosting service to digitize back files of issues that only appeared in print. These back files will be available as searchable page-image PDFs. The Library will deliver to the journal editors volume level PDF files. Journal editors will be responsible for uploading this content into the same OJS instance as the new born digital issues are hosted, and may choose to break the initial volume level PDFs into smaller (e.g. issue or article level) files before uploading. Digitization services are subject to resource availability from the Library's digitization lab, and will be scheduled when feasible based on other work in process at the digitization lab. In order for items to be digitized the journal must have (or obtain) the proper copyrights

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