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Erudite, Quebec jewel at the forefront for 25 years

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan20,2024

Érudit, Quebec jewel at the avant-garde for 25 years

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Launched in 1998, Érudit now has 5 million visitors per month, s relies on partnerships with some 1,200 libraries and makes more than 300 scientific and cultural journals accessible.

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Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, allows you to generate spoken text from written text.

The Érudit platform has been supporting scientists and academics for 25 years by offering them free online access to a host of publications in French, mainly in the fields of humanities and social sciences. Meeting with Frédéric Bouchard, the president of this “national treasure”.

They were crazy dreamers, the founders of the platform. In the 1990s, we were very far from the technologies we have today, but we were at the confluence of two realities, with the democratization of the Internet. We suspected that scholarly journals were going to be increasingly digital.

C It was visionary that, as early as the 1990s, Quebecers said to themselves that the future of magazines was online.

A quote from Frédéric Bouchard, chairman of the board of directors of Érudit

At that time, research in the humanities and social sciences was not the priority of private publishers. However, she also had to participate in this revolution. This is where Érudit's contribution can be explained.

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The starting point is a partnership between three universities: the &x27; Laval University (ULaval), the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), and the University of Montreal (UdeM).

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Frédéric Bouchard, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Montreal, as well as president of the board of 'Scholar administration.

Now, we are working on open science, more accessible and democratized, and not only in French, but also in German and Brazilian Portuguese, and we must be extremely proud of that. This adds to the fact that we have a research capacity anchored in our society, and relevant in our language.

Science in French did not have the means to make this digital transition. At the beginning, the question was Quebecois: how to ensure that the humanities in French are at the cutting edge of technology? It was profoundly ambitious, even subversive!

If the human sciences in French did not find the means to be as avant-garde as those in #x27;other languages, they would not be as important today.

It is a question of scientific sovereignty, of ensure that research in all fields is taken seriously and accessible to everyone.

We didn't talk as much about open science at the time, but from the start of Érudit, there was this desire for broad and generous transmission of awareness. From the beginning, the values ​​of the public Internet – free and open – were constitutive of the project.

However, before transmitting something, you must have content. So the idea was first to ensure that the humanities in French were part of the topics of the discussion.

It's really important for each society to have its own national research capacity. Consider dropping out of school. In Quebec and Japan, these are not the same causes nor the same remedies.

A researcher who wishes to compare school dropouts in Montreal and Chicoutimi, if he publishes his research in a French-speaking journal, he does not have to justify the fact that he is looking at these questions in French. If he submits his research to an international journal, a good part of his text will explain why he is studying it in French.

We collaborate with pride with French researchers, but there must be Quebec journals.

Furthermore, centralizing everything into a single language, English for example, would harm us. The dominance of English in science is not bad in itself, because it has allowed many scientists to transmit their knowledge across borders, but I am convinced that we are moving towards greater diversity. linguistics, thanks to open science.

I would be very surprised if in 40 years, or even 20 years, science is only English-speaking. Automated translation technology and the democratization of science will reduce the influence of linguistic standardization. However, for this to come to fruition, we need platforms like Érudit.

Knowledge that is not transmitted is dead knowledge. We cannot predict which use of knowledge will be the most relevant, but if we keep knowledge within a small circle of initiated people, we limit its potential.

With Érudit, there are plenty of high school students who discover what university is like through their research for homework. They discover that this researcher is at UQAM, that this sociologist is from Trois-Rivières, etc.

Open science helps show that everyone can participate in research. It also nourishes curiosity in this world made of passions and hobbies.

A quote from Frédéric Bouchard, president of the Board of Directors of Érudit

Obviously, it is beneficial for researchers, and not only here, also in less privileged countries which cannot afford journal subscriptions.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">It fascinates me, all these people I meet and who benefit from Érudit: journalists, researchers, people in various ministries, etc.

Érudit is used every day by people all over the world. Right now, there is someone in Tunisia reading research that has been done here. It makes our researchers known internationally.

Érudit is a happy act of subversion. We're just trying to change the world, and we're doing it. It is crucial that each country has its international research capacity. It would be a big risk for Canada to say to itself: We are only going to rely on American platforms. Imagine if they cut off access to the server, like Meta is doing right now with news on its platforms.

Quebec and Canadian research has led to great achievements for a long time. When Érudit was launched, we knew that we were going to be able to have a big impact through the quality of our research.

Quebec and Canada occupy a special position on the world stage, with our openness and credibility. We do not try to take control or dominate others. We really have something to contribute to the world. We have to give ourselves permission to be proud of what we have done, and give ourselves permission to expand our ambitions.

It’s a national treasure, I truly believe that.

A quote from Frédéric Bouchard, president of the Board of Directors of Érudit


I am convinced that our great collective successes begin with crazy dreams, then continue thanks to people who work every day to prove that it is not not crazy, after all. Érudit will one day celebrate its centenary, I am convinced. I think we can be very proud of it.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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