Aligning Open Access Publication with Research and Teaching Missions of the Public University: The Case of The Lethbridge Journal Incubator (If ‘if’s and ‘and’s were pots and pans)

The Lethbridge Journal Incubator is a joint project of the University of Lethbridge Library, School of Graduate Studies, and Faculty of Arts and Science. Its goal is to address the issue of the sustainability of gold open access journals by aligning the publication process with the educational and research missions of the public University. In this way, the open access publication, which is more commonly understood as a cost center that draws resources away from a host university’s core missions, is transformed into a sustainable, high-impact resource that improves retention and recruitment. It does this by providing graduate students with early experience with scholarly publishing (a proven contributor to in- and post-program student satisfaction and career success), highly-sought after research and technical skills, and project management experience. This article provides a background to the problem of financing gold open access publication and reports on the experience of the researchers responsible for establishing the incubator as it leaves its experimental phase and becomes a center of the University.