VANCOUVER, April 25 2016 – Richard Dumont, Director General of the Libraries Branch of the Université de Montréal, was honoured today by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries for his considerable contribution to the development of research libraries.
Considering that the takeover of knowledge by commercial publishing firms is an increasingly considerable hindrance to the advancement of knowledge and ultimately of society, Mr. Dumont actively argues for universities to regain control over the knowledge they produce.
“Knowledge is imprisoned behind increasingly high fee barriers and subjected to rules that greatly limit it from being shared and re-used. I’m concerned about the fact that five multi-nationals control more than 50% of the scholarly publishing market, and it makes me angry to see the outrageous profits they are making off universities and taxpayers. Recall that Elsevier, the largest commercial publishing company, reports profits exceeding $1.5 billion per year,” states Mr. Dumont.
In 2013, Mr. Dumont challenged the status quo and suggested rebuilding the large sets of periodicals. The team of libraries was joined by the Université’s management, deans, professors’ union and student associations in order to show a united front. This high degree of mobilization was facilitated through an exemplary communication campaign and the considerable support from a number of influential members of the UdeM community.
This bold decision then led Mr. Dumont and his team to suggest holding a consultation within the community to scientifically determine the periodicals that are essential to research and teaching at the UdeM, rather than assume what their needs are. Right from the outset, collegiality coloured the effort because the professors and students helped develop the methodology, assisted by Professor Vincent Larivière, a bibliometrics expert. Note that the approach chosen combines a quantitative component based on usage statistics and citation indexes and a qualitative component based on the opinions of the people consulted. The outcome of that consultation resulted in a paradigm shift in the UdeM’s negotiations with the commercial publishing firms, whereby only the titles actually meeting the needs of the UdeM community are considered when the time comes for determining the amount to put out for a large set of periodicals. That consultation will soon be undertaken by 23 Canadian universities under the auspices of the Canada Research Knowledge Network (CRKN).
Aware that the scope of rebuilding a large set is still local and, therefore, in no way resolves the funding problem, the Libraries/UdeM were hoping to take action on a more large-scale basis. In 2015, Mr. Dumont submitted a resolution at the CARL’s General Meeting, which led to the forming of an Institutional Mobilization Task Group. The mandate is to make widely know the issues in connection with scholarly publishing, both within and outside of Canada’s university communities, and to propose potential actions.
Also, as a member of the CARL’s and the CRKN’s Boards of Directors, Mr. Dumont plans to draw on the vertical integration approach advocated by the company Apple in order to consider the future from a holistic perspective in terms of knowledge management and dissemination in Canada. As such, it was in 2013 that the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) concept came to be. The primary objective is to identify and explore potential synergies among the many Canadian players contributing to digital knowledge.
The partnership between the CRKN and Érudit, a scholarly journal dissemination platform, aligns perfectly with the IDSE philosophy. Formerly considered just a commercial relationship, these two organizations joined forces to transform scholarly publishing in Canada in order to make it a sustainable activity for everyone. As a member of Érudit’s Board of Directors, Mr. Dumont helped facilitate the evolution of that relationship.
“I am very honoured to receive this honour today. It was made possible because I have the tremendous privilege of working with people who trust me, which is even more crucial when the issue is uncertain. My contribution that you are acknowledging today is actually the result of team work. This award provides me with a perfect opportunity to publicly acknowledge that,” said Mr. Dumont.
In recognition of his many contributions, the CARL is very pleased to give Richard Dumont the 2016 CARL Award for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship.
We thank ProQuest for their generous ongoing support to the CARL Award.
CARL includes Canada’s twenty-nine largest university libraries. Enhancing research and higher education is at the heart of our mission. CARL promotes effective and sustainable scholarly communication, and public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information.
For more information:
Susan Haigh, Executive Director
613.482.9344 ext. 101