About the Journal

Scope

Pathfinder is a student-led, open access journal dedicated to promoting the scholarly work of students and early career information professionals from across Canada. Based at the University of Alberta, issues are published once a year and are peer-reviewed.

Pathfinder welcomes original scholarship in the fields of library science, information studies, and archives from current Canadian LIS or archival students, library tech students, and early career professionals (individuals that graduated from information science programs within 2 years). 

Pathfinder’s mandate is to allow all types of information science students and early career professionals to

  • disseminate their scholarly work and reflections on the field through an open access journal;
  • connect with other students and their work;
  • build bridges across different disciplines in information studies;
  • develop concrete skills by publishing a peer-reviewed open access journal.

Sections and Section Policies

Manuscripts published in Pathfinder may take any of the following forms. Specific guidelines are located in the Author Guidelines.

  • Original Research 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☑Peer Reviewed

Both quantitative and qualitative research papers are encouraged. Such manuscripts will generally include a statement of problem, a review of the research literature, description of methodology, results, and implications for future research.

  • Scholarly Papers 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☑Peer Reviewed

Authors are encouraged to submit a range of scholarly work including, but not limited to:

Critical scholarship. Authors working within contemporary alternative research paradigms and/or grounding their work in critical theory, philosophy, narrative studies, postmodern and post structural studies, historical research, discourse analysis, post colonial and feminist studies. 

Position Papers. Papers which describe a problem or an issue, then suggest a solution or direction. The position is supported with logical argument and a review of theory/literature.

Case Studies. Papers which describe a particular case setting or event and a problem or issue in that framework. They present a report on the theoretical and scholarly context and report attempted solutions, results, and implications for practice. 

  • Literature Reviews 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☑Peer Reviewed

Literature reviews may be either qualitative or qualitative summaries that explore the research literature on a topic in order to determine directions of importance for future research. They offer useful context to understand the issues in relation to theory, practice, and previous research. 

  • Book Reviews 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☑Peer Reviewed

Book reviews submitted Pathfinder should follow the aims and scope of the journal. Reviews should include relevance of the material to the field (particularily if it is not obviously related), an assement of quality (both strengths and weaknesses if they exist), and a statement regarding which parties would benefit from purchasing the item for their collection.

  • Research Posters

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☑Peer Reviewed

Research posters will concisely summarize information and/or research through the use of brief text mixed with tables, graphs, and pictures.  

  • Teaching Resources 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☐Peer Reviewed

Pathfinder seeks teaching resources to enhance and support the teaching practices of LIS professionals in school libraries, learning commons, and other relevant positions. Such submissions may include innovative teaching methods, materials, and evaluative criteria.

  • Reflections 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☐Peer Reviewed

Pathfinder publishes reflections, personal accounts, and narratives that give readers a fresh perspective about the practice of LIS work. These submissions should explain and describe events, results, conflicts, complicating actions, and how practicioners responded. The author(s) should also evaluate the experience and explore its meaning for future practice. Both historical and contemporary narratives are encouraged. 

  • Conference Reports 

☑Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☐Peer Reviewed

Conference reports provide a concise summary and synthesis of the main ideas, conclusions and recommendations from significant conferences and meetings.

  •  Editorials 

☐Open Submissions ☑ Indexed ☐Peer Reviewed

  • News and Announcements 

☐Open Submissions ☐ Indexed ☐Peer Reviewed

Statement on Publication Ethics 

Editorial Team

  • Ensure that all communication between the editorial team, peer reviewers, authors, and the broader scholarly community will take place in a clear, respectful, timely and transparent manner.
  • Decisions on whether to accept or reject materials will be based solely on their scholarly or journalistic merit, which includes their importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the journal’s scope.
  • Maintain objectivity and balance in the review of all articles, acting without bias or favoritism based on the origin of the article, author, or on the grounds of commercial considerations.
  • Adhere to the same rules governing conflict of interest and improper use of unpublished articles as peer reviewers.
    • Members of the editorial team who wish to submit a paper to the journal will submit it directly to the Editor-in-chief who will anonymize it and direct it through the publication process. 
  • Adopt editorial policies that promote comprehensive, honest, and ethical reporting.

Authors

  • Ensures that all communication between the editorial team, peer reviewers, authors, and the broader scholarly community will take place in a clear, respectful, timely and transparent manner.
  • Will conduct their research in line with relevant best practices. They will adhere to the latest edition of the TCPS 2 where applicable. The paper complies with the ethical requitements of informed consent. 
  • Will declare any conflicts of interest.
  • Ensure that all authors are named on the manuscript and in the order in which they wouuld like to be acknowledged at the point of submission. Publication has been approved by all co-authors.
  • Will have obtained permission of the copyright holder for the inclusion of third party material including images. 
  • Ensure their submission includes no instances of plagerism or academic dishonesty including the falsificaiton or fabrication of findings. 
  • Ensure their submission follows guidelines for submission. 

Peer Reviewers

  • Ensure that all communication between the editorial team, peer reviewers, authors, and the broader scholarly community will take place in a clear, respectful, timely and transparent manner.
  • Respect the confidentiality of peer-review and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond those that are released by the journal.
  • Will not use any information obtained during the process for their own or any other person’s advantage.
  • Will declare all potential conflicting interests and will declare knowledge of the author if they detect it in the manuscript.
  • Will be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from hostile, libelous, personal, derogatory or inflammatory comments.
  • Will decline to review if they feel unable to provide a fair, unbiased, timely review.
  • Will promptly disclose to an article’s editor that an article may be plagiarized, if data has been fabricated or inappropriately manipulated, or if there are undeclared competing interests.

Statement on Conflicts of Interest 

At the time of submission, all manuscripts that are submitted to the journal must be accompanied by a conflict of interest disclosure statement or a declaration by the authors that they do not have any conflicts of interest to declare. 

Authors should disclose any conflict of interest that may have influenced either the conduct or the presentation of the research to the editors, including but not limited to the following interests and relationships:

  • Financial interest and relationships of any size from the past three years from the month of submission. This may include current or future direct employment, grants and funding that you have received, speaking fees, or other honoraria.
  • Non-financial interest and relationships of any size from the past three years from the month of submission. This may include relationships with those who may be helped or hurt by the publication, academic interests and rivalries, membership or affiliation to non-governmental organizations that have interest in the submission, and any personal, religious or political convictions relevant to the topic at hand.

Declarations of such conflicts will be included at the end of manuscripts, following any acknowledgements and prior to references under the heading "Conflict of Interest Statement". If no such declaration is made, the following will be printed under this heading: "None Declared". Alternatively, authors may state that "The author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest".

Reviewers are also asked to complete a competing interest statement during the peer-review process. They are also governed by the policies laid out in Pathfinder's Statement on Publication Ethics.

Peer Review Process

Section editors will perform an initial review of all submitted manuscripts and may reject papers that are clearly outside of the scope of the journal or that do not meet ethical standards. 

Recommended submissions are forwarded to at least two reviewers recruited from among current students across Canada (Masters and PhD level) and early career professionals. These manuscripts are subjected to a double blind peer review process: Authors are not told who reviewed their paper and the peer referees' identity remains unknown to the authors throughout the review process.

Authors are informed of the results and recommendations of the review process, and are given the opportunity to revise and respond to reviews. 

Publication Frequency

Pathfinder is published bi-annually. Our regular issue is published in May and a special issue of conference proceedings for the Forum for Information Professionals (FiP) is published shortly after the conference is held. 

There is also the possibility of other special issues highlighting work in specific areas, addressing particular, pre-identified themes, or publishing conference proceedings.

Submissions to the journal are open year round but deadlines for specific issues will be publicized. Authors are required to read and complete the author guidelines and submission checklist.

Digital Archiving Policy

This journal is archived with the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) Preservation Network. This LOCKSS program offers decentralized and distributed preservation, seamless perpetual access, and preservation of the authentic original version of the content.

Open Access Statement

Pathfinder provides immediate Open Access to its content under the principle of free global exchange of information. As such, copyright for articles published by Pathfinder are retained by the authors.

There is no fee required to submit any work to Pathfinder.

Terms of Use

Authors retain all copyright for their work published by Pathfinder. The Editors and Editorial Board of Pathfinder strongly encourage authors to publish the Work under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY NC SA 4.0) that allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the Work as long as they credit the Author for the original creation. The Author may however choose to have their Work distributed under any of the Creative Commons licenses currently available (see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ for a description of each license). The specific copyright information for each work is included with the work itself.

Pathfinder retains the right of first publication. Use and reproduction rights of any articles or abstracts on the Pathfinder website are granted for individual, non-commercial, and educational purposes only, and if properly cited for electronic materials. Otherwise, permission must be obtained from Pathfinder or the authors.

All other materials are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-SA).

Editorial Team (to change for each issue)

  • Editor in Chief
  • Associate Editors
  • Copy Editors
  • Peer Reviewers