Changes at CISTI Announced

The National Research Council’s national science library, the Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) is relied upon by many researchers worldwide for its resources and services. The notice below of upcoming changes went out to a number of listservs today; since I couldn’t see it posted to CISTI’s own website, I am sharing it here since others may find it of interest. Also of note, the CISTI website has changed to comply with new Common Look and Feel guidelines from Canada’s Treasury Board Secretariat (see the notice).

My apologies for the appearance of the French copy below; unfortunately the characters with diacritics were stripped out of the French version in both messages I received.


An announcement from CISTI as to the upcoming changes:

Dear colleagues,

I would like to share some news with you regarding upcoming changes to CISTI as a result of the recently approved Canadian federal government budget.

Over the course of 2008, the National Research Council (NRC) was included in the Government of Canada’s Strategic Review process. As a result, NRC will be realigning resources and programs, which will include major changes to CISTI.

The NRC Strategic Review plan focuses on the issue of ‘core role of government’. For NRC-CISTI, this will be realized through the spin-off of NRC Research Press and the transformation to new delivery models of the Information Intelligence Services and National Science Library Programs.

CISTI will continue to exist but will function on a significantly smaller scale, and will seek to deliver some services via private sector vendors or partners. The provision of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information remains a priority for NRC and the Government of Canada. CISTI will continue to partner with other organizations to fulfill its core role as part of Canada’s innovation infrastructure, as feasible under the new model.

The option we have recommended for the Research Press is to move to a new not-for-profit corporate entity to permit a continued commitment to provide a viable Canadian S&T publishing option. Free electronic access to Research press journals for Canadians is in question due to the projected loss of DSP support.

It is too early to say how these changes will affect the way we work with you. The proposed program transformations will require investigation of feasibility and best options, consultation with staff, potential partners and stakeholders, and planning. This planning phase will occur in 2009, with implementation beginning in early 2010. You will be consulted as CISTI moves into the planning phase, and I will provide you with more information when I have more details.

CISTI’s core value of delivering quality STM information service remains unchanged and we will try to minimize the impact of these changes on our clients and stakeholders. However, this year is going to be a very challenging one for everyone at CISTI due to the scale and complexity of the proposed changes and the ambiguity around how some of them will be implemented.



Chers collgues,

J’aimerais vous entretenir des changements qui seront apports sous peu l’ICIST, conformment au dernier budget fdral.

En 2008, le gouvernement fdral a inclus le Conseil national de recherches du Canada (CNRC) dans de son processus d’examen stratgique . Le CNRC doit donc procder l’harmonisation de ses ressources et de ses programmes, ce qui aura des rpercussions majeures sur l’ICIST.

Le plan du CNRC dcoulant de cet examen stratgique insiste sur la mission fondamentale du gouvernement. Pour l’ICIST-CNRC, ce plan se traduira par la cration de l’entreprise drive des Presses scientifiques du CNRC et l’laboration de nouveaux modles de prestation de services pour les programmes des Services d’information et d’intelligence et de la Bibliothque scientifique nationale.

L’ICIST continuera d’exister, mais il fonctionnera une chelle considrablement rduite et cherchera fournir certains services par l’intermdiaire de fournisseurs ou de partenaires du secteur priv. La diffusion d’information scientifique, technique et mdicale (STM) demeure une priorit la fois pour le CNRC et pour le gouvernement du Canada. L’ICIST continuera de s’associer d’autres organismes pour remplir sa mission fondamentale dans le cadre de l’infrastructure d’innovation du Canada, selon le nouveau modle.

L’option que nous avons recommande est de transformer les Presses scientifiques en socit sans but lucratif afin de maintenir son engagement fournir une option viable pour la publication scientifique et technique au Canada. L’accs lectronique gratuit aux revues des Presses, pour la population canadienne, est remis en question en raison de la perte projete de l’appui du PSD.

Il est trop tt pour dire quelles rpercussions ces changements auront sur la collaboration que nous entretenons avec vous. Les transformations proposes aux programmes ncessiteront des tudes de faisabilit et l’valuation des meilleures options, des consultations avec le personnel et avec d’ventuels partenaires ou intervenants, ainsi que de la planification. La phase de planification se droulera en 2009, et la mise en oeuvre commencera au dbut de 2010. Vous serez consults lorsque l’ICIST amorcera la phase de planification, et je vous transmettrai plus de renseignements en temps opportun.

La valeur fondamentale de l’ICIST, qui consiste fournir un service d’information STM de qualit, demeure inchange. Nous essaierons de minimiser les rpercussions de ces changements pour nos clients et les intervenants. Toutefois, cette anne sera trs exigeante pour tout le monde l’ICIST en raison de l’envergure et de la complexit des changements proposs, et aussi de l’ambigut entourant la mise en oeuvre de certains de ces changements.


Pam Bjornson

Director General, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information
Directrice gnrale, Institut canadien de l’information scientifique et technique
National Research Council Canada | 1200 Montreal Road, Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6
Conseil national de recherches Canada | 1200, chemin Montral, Ottawa (ON) K1A 0R6
Tel/Tl: 613-993-2341 | Fax: 613-952-9112

If anyone has a better version of the French text I would be happy to replace this one.


  1. Difficult times. A not-for-profit model will definitely give them more flexibility with service, but would reduce their overall power in a cut throat world. Will be paying close attention.

  2. I haven’t used their services myself, so don’t feel too qualified to comment. My feelings are mixed, whether this will be good or not. Like you, will be watching to see what happens.