About the Journal


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

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 who graduated from information science programs within the last two years).

Pathfinder’s mission is to provide a robust publishing platform that allows 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; and
  • 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.

Peer-Reviewed Sections

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, postcolonial and feminist studies. 
  • Position Papers. Papers that 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 that 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.

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.  

Non-Peer-Reviewed Sections

Book Reviews 

☑ Open submissions ☑ Indexed ☐ Peer-reviewed

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

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.


☑ 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 practitioners responded. The author 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.

Statement on Publication Ethics 

Associate editors will:

  • 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.
  • Decide on whether to accept or reject materials 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.
  • Advise and adopt editorial policies that promote comprehensive, honest, and ethical reporting.
  • Act as advisors in the case of complex publishing allegations.

Peer reviewers will:

  • 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.
  • Refrain from using any information obtained during the process for their own or any other person’s advantage.
  • Declare all potential conflicting interests and will declare knowledge of the author if they detect it in the manuscript.
  • Be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from hostile, libelous, personal, derogatory or inflammatory comments.
  • Decline to review if they feel unable to provide a fair, unbiased, timely review.
  • 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.

Authors will:

  • 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.
  • Conduct their research in line with relevant best practices, and adhere to the latest edition of the TCPS 2 where applicable, including ensuring their paper complies with the ethical requirements of informed consent. 
  • Declare any conflicts of interest.
  • Ensure that all authors are named on the manuscript, in the order in which they would like to be acknowledged at the point of submission, and that publication has been approved by all co-authors.
  • Have obtained permission of the copyright holder for the inclusion of third-party material, including any images. 
  • Ensure their submission contains:
    • no instances of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, including the falsification or fabrication of findings; and
    • no statements that may be or are misleading, fraudulent, libelous, defamatory, infringing, plagiarizing, or otherwise unlawful.
  • Ensure their submission follows all the guidelines for submission as outlined in Pathfinder’s website. 

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 Ph.D. 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 author's identity remains unknown to the peer reviewers 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 generally published bi-annually. We publish one regular issue yearly, as well as one special issue that features the conference proceedings for the Forum for Information Professionals (FIP) conference. There is also the possibility of other special issues highlighting work in specific areas, or addressing particular, pre-identified themes.

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, the copyright for articles published by Pathfinder is retained by the authors.

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

Copyright Policy

All authors published in Pathfinder retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative Commons License of their choice. If authors select the recommended Creative Commons International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), then anyone may share, copy, and adapt the material for any purpose, as long as they credit the author and this journal. See the Creative Commons website for information about other CC licenses.