Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship is an open access, peer-reviewed journal published by the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL).

The journal publishes articles on topics related to academic librarians and the profession of academic librarianship. For CAPAL, and therefore for the journal, defining features of academic librarians are that they are members of a profession committed to fostering and upholding the core academic values and principles associated with teaching, learning, and research in higher education, and they play an integral role in supporting the academic missions of post-secondary institutions. The journal’s particular focus is on topics that relate to these defining features of academic librarians and that relate to the values articulated in Academic Librarianship: A Statement of Principles:


Academic librarians are professional librarians committed to:

  1. Intellectual and academic freedom
  2. Shared governance
  3. Eradicating discrimination
  4. Academic integrity, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge
  5. Uncensored and unbiased access to information
  6. Fostering diversity and equity
  7. Collegial decision-making and mutual respect
  8. The pursuit of scholarship and professional creative endeavours in academic librarianship
  9. Sustaining and preserving knowledge for current and future generations
  10. Supporting all professional librarians as members of a common profession with shared values and principles
  11. Respecting different views and individual expertise
  12. Promoting high standards in the profession
  13. Fostering, upholding and defending the core principles of academic librarianship for the benefit of our communities

The journal is open to all disciplines and methodologies and welcomes submissions that address academic librarianship from diverse perspectives. Submissions must present substantive analysis of a topic. Submissions need not have a geographical focus; however, if they do, the focus should be on Canada or have a strong connection to Canada.

Submissions are accepted and published in English and French. Each article is published with two abstracts, one in each language.


Section Policies


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Review Essays

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Book Reviews

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Submissions are reviewed first by an editor to confirm that the submission is appropriate for the Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship. This step typically occurs within two weeks of submission. This editorial review considers questions such as:

  • Is the submission within the Aims and Scope?
  • Is the submission readable and within the desired word count?
  • Has the submission been published elsewhere?
  • Has the submission document been anonymized?


Editors must declare any conflicts of interest and if necessary disqualify themselves from involvement in the assessment of a manuscript. If the article is published, the declaration and explanations will be clearly indicated on the published paper with links to details (if necessary).


When the editor has determined that the submission is appropriate to be considered for publication, he/she contacts potential reviewers. Editors do not also serve as reviewers. Each submission is normally reviewed by two reviewers. Reviewers are asked to submit their reviews within four weeks and to follow the CJAL Reviewer Guidelines (see below).

Our goal is for reviews to be double-blind, such that neither the author(s) nor reviewers know each other’s identity. In some situations, however, such as submissions originating from CAPAL/ACBAP conference papers, double-blind review may not be possible to achieve. In that case, the review will be single-blind, with the reviewers knowing the author’s identity.

The editor considers the reviewers’ comments and recommendations and replies to the author. This reply includes any requests for revisions as well as a recommendation on inclusion in the journal, based on the reviewers’ input. The author(s) are encouraged to respond to requests for revisions with a revised manuscript, or with clarifications or questions, as appropriate.

The editors make the final decision about publication.

Potential reviewers are invited to contact the editors with a copy of their CV and a brief statement of the areas they are qualified to review. The editors will seek out potential reviewers who have expertise in the area of a particular submission.


Guidelines for Reviewers

The editors of Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship ask that reviewers consider the following criteria:

  1. Does the paper fit within the Aims and Scope of the journal?
  2. Is the paper original? Does it further the discussion within academic librarianship on the topic? Does the author present their findings or arguments in a way that sets the paper apart from previous work?
  3. Does the author clearly identify a research question or statement of purpose for the paper?
  4. Does the author review the relevant literature, and indicate the contribution of the paper to that literature?
  5. Has the author chosen an appropriate research design or approach? This includes theoretical framing or statistical analysis, as applicable. How rigorously does the author apply their chosen approach?
  6. How thoroughly and substantively does the author analyze their findings or arguments? Is the analysis mainly descriptive, or is it also critical, thoughtful, interesting, or novel?
  7. How significant are the paper’s conclusions? Are they appropriate, given the evidence presented? Do the conclusions reflect a thoughtful consideration of the paper’s topic? Do they open a new space for conversation within librarianship? Do they prompt and invite reflection on the part of the reader?
  8. Is the paper well written and well-organized? Could the presentation of the findings be improved?

We ask that reviewers make one of the following recommendations for publication:

  • Accept Submission
  • Revisions Required (when only minor revisions are needed)
  • Resubmit for Review (when substantial revisions are needed)
  • Decline Submission

We ask that reviewers conduct and write their assessment in a manner that is as fair and unbiased as possible, considering the paper on its own merits rather than on what the reviewer might know (or might think he/she knows) about the author. We ask that reviewers provide constructive criticism. Reviewers are encouraged to identify both strengths and limitations of each submission, and in so doing, seek to build on the submission’s strengths rather than tear it down because of weaknesses. The journal aims to provide helpful assessments to each author, whether or not the paper is accepted for publication.


Reviewers must declare any conflict of interest to the editors before undertaking the review, or report any detection of undeclared conflict of interest by the author(s) found in the text during peer review. Reviewers must declare knowledge of the author if he or she detects his or her identity in the manuscript. Please seek advice from the editorial team if you are unsure of what constitutes a conflict of interest.



Publication Frequency

Articles and book reviews are published on a continuous basis and combined into one volume at the end of each calendar year.


Open Access Policy

This journal is free of charge to all readers and authors.


Book Review Guidelines

Book Selection

  • The book has been published recently (within last three years).
  • The subject of book is relevant to the journal’s focus and scope.
  • The subject of the book is relevant to your own field of study or practice; you have adequate knowledge or background in the subject.
  • Avoid books written by an author you know personally, or for which you may have some real or perceived conflict of interest. Avoid subjects about which you feel strong emotion or that you do not believe you can review fairly and professionally.


Length of Review

About 1,000 words



Please head your review with the following elements:

Author, title in full, place, publisher, date, edition statement, number of pages, price.

Reviewer’s name, institution.



Stephen Bales, The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship: A Critical Approach. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2015, 219pp, $35.00.

Michael Quinn Dudley, University of Winnipeg



  • If you quote from the book, please indicate page numbers. If you quote from other sources, cite the sources according to Chicago author-date style. Keep all quotations brief, however.
  • Your overall evaluation may be favourable or unfavourable, but the review’s tone should be courteous. In all instances the reviewer owes the readers and the author a fair assessment of the book’s contents and conclusions.


What to Include

A strong review contains many of the following elements:

  • A description of the topic, scope, and purpose of the book.
  • Relevant information about the author or editor.
  • The author’s point of view or frame of reference.
  • The thesis or message of the book.
  • The school of thought or scholarly current that the book arises from.
  • Comment on intended audience or readership.
  • Evaluation of use of available sources and/or evidence.
  • Evaluation of the author’s success in achieving his/her purpose.
  • Contribution to knowledge in the field; relationship to a current debate or conversation in the field.
  • Comment on style.


What to Avoid

  • Mere summary or description of the content, rather than evaluation of the content. In particular, avoid a chapter-by-chapter summary. Such summaries are easily obtainable on publisher’s websites and elsewhere.
  • Criticism of typographical errors or minor errors of fact, unless, in your judgement, these errors are so numerous that they raise questions about the overall quality and reliability of the book.
  • Criticism that the author has failed to refer to or discuss some other author’s work, unless, in your judgement, that other work is essential or central to any discussion of the subject.
  • A book review is not an opportunity to “hold forth at great length on [the reviewer’s] own strongly held views.”[1] Remember that your readers want to learn about the book and its author’s opinions.
  • “Judge the book by its intentions, not yours. Don’t criticize the author for failing to write the book you think that he or she should have written.”[2]
Conflict of Interest
Reviewers must declare any conflict of interest to the editors before undertaking the review. Please declare any conflict of interest or connections with the authors, editors, or creators of the book reviewed. The editorial team may decline a proposal if they feel that the connection between the proposed reviewer and the document suggested for review is too close. If the article is published, the declaration will be clearly indicated on the published review with links to details (if necessary). Please seek advice from the editorial team if you are unsure of what constitutes a conflict of interest.

[1] Casey Brienza, “Writing Academic Book Reviews.” Inside Higher Ed. 27 March 2015.

[2] Wendy Laura Belcher, “Writing the Academic Book Review.” www.wendybelcher.com