Building Canada’s knowledge infrastructure
To build on existing knowledge, researchers must have convenient and timely access to research literature. Gaining access to a broad spectrum of academic literature, however, is both resource intensive and costly. To ensure the research community’s access to such information, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), along with provincial governments and universities, invested in a knowledge platform that transcends the boundaries of any single region, institution or discipline.
Established in 2000, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) negotiates large-scale licenses for digital content with publishers for its more than 1.2 million users from 75 member universities. This gives researchers and students timely access to high-quality research material, regardless of the size of their institutions. If member universities had to negotiate content licences with publishers individually, their costs would be two to three times greater than the cost through the CRKN. This has meant an estimated savings to members of $1.43 billion since the network’s inception.
A recent expert panel convened by the CFI recognized the CRKN as a global leader in information sharing and as a “game changer” for the Canadian research community. Its efforts have not only saved universities money, but more importantly, afforded them easy electronic access to research knowledge which enables Canadian researchers to remain internationally competitive.