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Research Spotlight

How Hip Is the Partnership? The Value of a Generalist Journal in a Niche World

Partnership Journal

Homepage of The Partnership Journal
Homepage of The Partnership Journal

The Partnership journal is a Canadian, open-access journal that covers every library sector and is written by library practitioners on a variety of broad topics. Articles can be written in French and English. This year, the journal is celebrating its ten year anniversary. As such, Robin Bergart, who is the editor-in-chief of the journal, thought it would be a good idea to evaluate the journal. With Leanne Olson and myself on board (we are also editors of the journal), we wanted to know the answers to the following questions:

  • Where does the Partnership journal fit into the LIS community?
  • What is valuable about the Partnership journal? What is not valuable?
  • How do we improve the journal?
  • How important is a Canadian generalist journal in a globalized world?
  • Is it part of the Partnership journal’s role to provide a venue for Canadian librarians who are required to publish in peer-reviewed journals, but whose work does not neatly fit into more niche publications?

Research Process

After receiving ethics approval from all three of our respective institutions, we interviewed 19 LIS experts (librarians, consultants, library technicians, and library students) across the country. The purpose of the interviews was to refine our survey.

We asked:

  • How do you keep up with LIS literature?
  • Is Canadian content important to you?
  • What are the strengths and drawbacks of a generalist library journal?
  • What matters to you when you are choosing where to publish your work?
  • What words or images come to your mind when you think of the journal?
  • What is your sense of the journal’s reputation?
  • How important is it to include French language articles?

Once the interviews were completed and the answers analyzed, the survey could be refined and then translated into French for distribution. The survey was launched April 26 and closed June 10, 2016. In total, there were 426 responses to the English survey and 10 responses to the French survey.

Conference Presentations

In May and June, we presented our preliminary findings at the Manitoba Library Association and the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians conferences. We have yet to analyze the survey fully, but we do have some preliminary insights:

  • Approximately 67% of respondents were somewhat or very familiar with the Partnership We still have some work to do to promote and publicize this journal.
  • Respondents who were familiar with the journal valued its Canadian content and open access status above all else.
  • Partnership journal does have a good reputation in Canada.
  • We have work ahead of us to improve the submission process, the navigation, and look of the journal website.
  • We have work to do to create a more bilingual journal.
  • We need to make it more apparent which articles are peer-reviewed and which are not.

Next Steps

Analysis and writing our findings has started. Stay tuned to read the full article in a journal near you! If you have any questions about this project or about the Partnership journal, please feel free to contact Robin, Leanne or Nathalie.

  • Nathalie Soini, French Language Editor (soinin [at]
  • Robin Bergart, Editor-in-Chief (rbergart [at]
  • Leanne Olson, Profiles Editor (lolson3 [at]

Nathalie Soini is Head of Information Services and liaison librarian for French Studies and Languages, Literatures, and Culture at Queen’s University. She can be reached at soinin [at]

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