Maximizing UVic Libraries eBooks for Students

eTextbooks for Students (2022-2023)

We are continuing with UVic Libraries pilot project, started in fall 2021, to track the use of library licensed electronic books assigned in courses for fall 2022-23 academic terms. The eTextbooks project supports access and affordability efforts that are important to student success. The website lists the ebooks by title, Course number, term, and Instructors’ last name.

This project complements the Libraries’ advocacy efforts around open education resources (OER) and aligns with its Strategic Directions. Our OER initiative includes an annual offering  of OER grants, cross-campus collaborations with Learning Teaching Support & Innovation, the Bookstore, and the Undergraduate Student Union (UVSS). The project gave us the opportunity to scan the university landscape to determine the extent to which the Libraries’ licensed resources were being used at all levels of course work. The Libraries’ expanded ebook collection allows instructors to assign quality course materials, while providing affordable solutions for students.


FACULTY: Lets us know if you are using an open textbook or a UVic Libraries licensed resources for you course this academic year.

STUDENTS: Let us know if you are access an open textbook or library licensed resources for your course!

International Day for Universal Access to Information / Right To Know Week 2022

What is the Right To Know?

The right to know is a fundamental principle in Canada. It is enshrined in the Access to Information Act and it ensures that Canadian citizens have access to information about their government and its activities. It also allows Canadians to hold their government accountable and participate fully in our democracy.

What is the International Day for Universal Access to Information/Right To Know Week?

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Universal Access to Information and Right To Know Week are observed around September 28 every year. These two closely related events promote the right of citizens to access information held by public bodies. They also raise awareness about issues such as freedom of information, open government, and access to public services and encourage people to use their right to access information.

What is the role of UVic Libraries in exercising the Right to Know and Universal Access to Information?

Libraries of all types play a vital role in ensuring that everyone has access to information. They provide a safe and inclusive space for people to learn, explore, and discover. Libraries also offer a range of services that can help people exercise their right to access information.

UVic Libraries provides its stakeholders on- and off-campus (students, faculty, and the wider community) with essential information around the right to know. Not only does UVic Libraries provide free and comprehensive access to its holdings and services beyond the campus community to all members of the public. It also makes an important contribution as a regional memory institution by preserving and providing access to relevant materials on local and regional history in its collections. This involves preserving and indexing traditional library holdings and archival materials but also systematically archiving websites that have local community relevance.

Resources provided by UVic Libraries to help exercise one’s right to know

Subject-based LibGuides – detailed resources developed and maintained by UVic librarians – were created specifically to educate the campus community as well as the wider public about pathways to information around their civil rights, government activities, the history of democracy, Indigenous governance, and other related topics.

Please visit our LibGuides on British Columbian and Canadian Government Information, including knowledge around open government and access to information and freedom of information requests (Contact: David Boudinot).

Additional LibGuides with a focus on the right to know developed by librarians at the UVic Law Library provide information on A Legal History of the Right to Vote, Constitutional Law in Canada, Legal Information Services in Victoria, Indigenous Law / Indigenous Legal Traditions, including by the Coast Salish peoples, and Municipal Law, with a focus on British Columbian municipalities (Contact: Emily Nickerson and Jessie Lampreau).

These library-curated resources contribute to exercising the right to know and universal access to information and are a good example of how core values and ideas of open scholarship – transparency, accessibility, openness – can have an impact beyond the scholarly community.

Uvic Libraries’ contribution to providing universal access to information and supporting the right to know is guided by its Strategic Directions 2018-2023, which emphasize its role in:

  • providing differentiated approaches to […] digital citizenship, and the critical and creative inquiry skills needed to navigate complex, information-rich environments in order to nurture adaptable, resilient, life-long learners
  • providing experiential learning opportunities for students and the broader community
  • investing in preservation expertise, infrastructure, and partnerships in order to provide sustainable access to knowledge

Universal Access to Information in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Both the University of Victoria and UVic Libraries support the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals. Ensuring public access to information is one of the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions declares to “Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements” as its target 16.10.

By providing the above-mentioned services and resources around universal access to information, UVic Libraries contributes to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Introduction to Altmetric Explorer – Understanding Immediate Visibility of Publications

October 3, 2022

Featuring a spotlight on the extensive attention generated by open access publications. 

Altmetric Explorer is an online tool that monitors attention on the web beyond traditional citations for digitally available research publications. It captures mentions for all types of research outputs, including theses and dissertations, datasets, software and code, media files, etc. 

The training session will be led by Patty Smith of Altmetric. This hour-long session will introduce you to the platform and its features, and how individual researchers can use the platform to illustrate the reach of their work alongside traditional citation-based metrics. In celebration of Open Access Week 2022, we will highlight the wide reach of open access publications in addition to a general introduction. There will be plenty of time for questions. 

Related LibGuide: Alternative Metrics by Emily Nickerson


Altmetric Logo

What is Altmetric Explorer?

Altmetrics, in the broader sense, are a way to measure impact by capturing online mentions of research outputs such as papers and datasets. Altmetric Explorer, Plum Analytics and Impactstory are some popular altmetrics tools, and the Library has recently purchased a subscription to Altmetric Explorer.

Using Altmetric Explorer to improve visibility of your work?

Altmetric Explorer is an online tool that searches the web for “online attention” of research outputs. It captures the attention for all types of research outputs including theses and dissertations, datasets, software and code, media files, etc. Altmetric Explorer pulls data from:

  • Public policy documents
  • Mainstream media
  • Post-publication peer-review platforms (Pubpeer and Publons)
  • Wikipedia
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc)
  • Multimedia platforms (YouTube, Stack Overflow, etc)
  • Patents
  • Open Syllabus Project
  • Blogs & Research Highlights (Faculty Opinions)
  • Online reference managers (Mendeley)

The overall attention accumulates into an algorithm that calculates the Altmetric Score and provides a visualization (the “Altmetric donut“).

Altmetric Explorer is a powerful tool that can provide contextual information when documenting the impact of your work in CVs, tenure & promotion dossiers, or grant and job applications. Not only does it provide insight into the attention your work receives, it also closes a gap where traditional metrics tend to be in the dark, by covering immediate attention.

The tool helps to answer questions about your output such as “Was my work covered by any news outlets?” – “Are other researchers commenting on my work?” – “Which countries are looking at my publications?” – “Was any of my scientific output cited in any policy documents or patents?” or “How does attention of my open access publications compare to those published in closed access?”.

As an additional feature, the Altmetric Score will be displayed for all content in our repository UVicSpace.

Learn more through our libguide

Attend one of our upcoming workshops!

SCOPUS – Introductory and Advanced Workshops

October 3, 2022

What is SCOPUS?

Scopus (Elsevier) is an abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature including scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings. Scopus provides a comprehensive overview of worldwide research output in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

UVic Libraries is hosting two workshop in October for the campus community to learn more about SCOPUS.


With over 88 million records indexed, Scopus is the world’s largest curated abstract and citation database. As a subscriber to Scopus, researchers and administrators at the University of Victoria have access to this database to support their research activities. In this introductory Scopus training session, we will cover the foundations of the data set, how to build simple and complex search queries, setting up alerts for new research, and exporting and analyzing search results.

Register: October 26, 1-2pm

SCOPUS for Bibliometrics In-Person

In addition to supporting researchers in finding the right research when they need it, the Scopus database can enable powerful research analyses and intelligence. In this workshop, we will cover the foundations of using Scopus for bibliometric analyses, including: data sources & analytical potential, query generation, co-author network mapping, measurement of research, and uptake of research within and outside of the Academy.

Register: October 26 2022, 2:30-4pm


Related LibGuide: Introduction to Scopus: Researchers, research staff, and graduate students by Sue Bengtson


Peer Review Week 2022

peer review week logo

September 19 to 23 sees the international celebration of Peer Review Week in the academic community, emphasizing the central role peer review plays in scholarly communication. The theme for 2022 is Research Integrity: Creating and Supporting Trust in Research.

What is peer review?

In broad terms, peer review is the pre-publication evaluation of scholarly work by experts in the same field as the submitting authors or with expertise in the methodology they chose. It is common in academic publishing and helps ensure the rigor of publications. Its aim is to either help improve or reject submitted papers that do not meet minimal criteria of good scholarly practice, originality, and methodology. The purpose of this quality control is to build and maintain trust in the published scholarly content, the publishing platforms, and the research process as a whole. Reviewers are invited by the editors or suggested by the authors. Referee activity is considered a courtesy and an academic honor, reflecting a certain reputation and expertise that a reviewer has gained. It is not usually compensated.

A brief history of the peer review process

It is challenging to determine precisely how old the academic peer review process is. While some historians of scholarship have dated it back to the pre-Gutenberg era, and others quote Francis Bacon as one of its trailblazers, many histories of the scholarly system agree that the origins of the contemporary peer review system can be traced back to the editorial practices of the learned societies in the early to mid-18th century, with the Royal Society of London commonly named as one of the main originators.

Contemporary peer review slowly emerged in the second half of the twentieth century. The steadily growing volume of scientific publications called for a screening process, and the newly invented Xerox photocopier made it possible to send out copies of manuscripts to multiple reviewers on a large scale. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that some of the most reputable journals in academia embraced the practice (Nature in 1964; The Lancet in 1976). Today it is a well-established system, guided by standards and principles that preserve it as one of the pillars of the academic publishing ecosystem.

The increasing awareness of the concept in the broader public is the latest chapter in the history of peer review. Previously it was known primarily to an expert scholarly audience. The Covid-19 pandemic changed that. The tremendous demand for readily available knowledge about the virus led to an unprecedented acceleration of related research. To make the exponentially growing SARS-COV-2 research available as quickly as possible, interest in preprints – scientific papers published before peer review on dedicated servers – increased. Because these preprints are now more commonly used as primary sources, explanations of the peer review process have since found their way into journalistic reporting on scientific topics.

Different types of peer review

Since its establishment, the peer review landscape has diversified. Not only are there different approaches to traditional peer review, but with the advent of the open scholarship movement, newer peer review practices have emerged. They break with some of the established practices of classical peer review, such as anonymity (in Open Peer Review) or confidentiality (in Social Peer Review).

The terminology around peer review is not always used consistently, but some procedures and their terms have become largely accepted. The main types of traditional peer review are commonly distinguished by their approach to anonymity. Anonymity is seen as a critical factor in traditional peer review to eliminate or minimize potential bias among reviewers. Any comments and editing suggestions by the referees remain confidential and are not published along with the work.

  • Single-blind PR – Reviewers are aware of authors’ identities.
  • Double-blind PR – Neither authors nor referees know each other’s identities.

Recently, the term “blind” has come under criticism for being ableist and a number of journals and publishing platforms have shifted to referring to it as “anonymous peer review”.

Newer, innovative types of peer review step away from anonymity/confidentiality and include:

  • Open Peer Review – The identities of authors and reviewers are known to each other and sometimes revealed to the public (there are other interpretations of this term).
  • Transparent Peer Review – The identities of authors and reviewers are known to each other, and any comments and editing requests by the referees will be made publicly available. The published article usually has an accessible version history.
  • Social or Community Peer Review – The wider (academic) community is invited to participate in reviewing a submitted work and suggest changes. These suggestions and the resulting revisions are usually documented publicly. This approach can be found in the form of pre-publication or post-publication reviews.

Common critique of the peer review system

Critics of traditional peer review question whether it is adequate in a scholarly environment evolving toward more open procedures and principles. Commons criticisms include:

While many critics believe the peer review system needs improvement and some are calling for its elimination, there seems to be an ongoing consensus among an academic majority that the system is a foundation of academia.

Current discussions

This is only a selection of current discussions. Peer review is a broad topic that is studied extensively not only in scholarly communication, philosophy of science, and scientometrics but also in individual academic disciplines themselves.

Further Information

To learn more about peer review and Peer Review Week, consult the Peer Review Week committee’s official blog, their Youtube Channel, or Scholarly Kitchen’s series of articles in celebration of the event. On Twitter, follow the handle @PeerRevWeek and use the hashtag #peerreviewweek22.










IFLA Open Access Statement – Call to Action

September 1, 2022 | IFLA

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recently issued its 2022 statement on open access.

IFLA declares:

Full and immediate free access to research outputs and publications ensures that everyone – including researchers, policy makers, citizens, scientists, and the public – has the data, evidence, and knowledge they need to address societal, environmental, and global challenges. Open access (OA) moves research towards the goal of full access by removing paywalls and broadening global access across disciplines. OA seeks to make research globally available and discoverable for the long-term and not only in times of crisis.

Call to Action for IFLA and its members:

  • Raise awareness about the rights-based dimensions of OA and how it contributes to
    intellectual freedom and freedom of expression through the work of IFLA’s Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression, submissions to UN processes, and national advocacy
  • Advocate at an international level including rights retention in favour of researchers and their institutions, permissive licensing practices, and sustainable business models that reflect OA mandates and laws, the role of public, trusted knowledge in society, bibliodiversity and the need for diverse routes to OA in a highly-constrained budgetary environment so that outcomes are equitable for libraries and their users
  • Build partnerships and coalitions with other organisations and utilise existing advocacy opportunities to advance these positions, reflecting the alignment of OA with other issues including information poverty, media and information literacy, open government, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and copyright reform
  • Collaborate to promote sustainable investment in the infrastructure underpinning OA
  • Lead by example, and complete the transition of IFLA’s publications to OA in 2022


“Knight Poet Anarchist” – Herbert Read

“Knight. Poet. Anarchist”: Understanding the Legacies of Herbert Read Through His Archives 

Dr. Ruth Burton  (Interpretation Officer, Special Collections, University of Leeds Library)

Herbert Read was a British First World War poet, publisher, art critic, Knight and professed anarchist who significantly influenced the art and literature of the mid-twentieth century. His diverse archive, which includes correspondence, notebooks and manuscripts, is held by both the University of Victoria and the University of Leeds in the UK. Dr Ruth Burton from the University of Leeds will talk about Read and current projects to identify and map his spheres of influence from archival correspondence, as well as the possibilities for inter-archive collaboration.

Location:             Special Collections and University Archives, Room 025

Date:                     Thursday, September 29th

Time:                    1:00pm

OER events at UVic

Let’s Talk About Teaching 2022 | August 30- September 1, 2022

Hosted by the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI), this year’s Let’s Talk about Teaching event focuses on connecting and building relationships.

There are four sessions on OER.

Our Journeys Developing Open Education Resources for Math Courses

Presenters: Trefor Bazett, Jane Butterfield, and Chris Eagle, Mathematics & Statistics

Summary: We are the recipients of three Open Education Resource (OER) LTSI grants in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics to work on three projects, two of which are online textbooks and one a review package. In this talk we will share our objectives for these projects and what our journeys have been thus far, bumps in the road included! We will share some of the cool elements made possible by technology such as having interactive websites for the projects with embedded problems, videos, and animations. Read more

Tuesday, August 30th

10:15am – 10:45am

Location: Online

Register Here

Create Materials with Students: Making Questions

Presenter: Lijun Zhang, Economics

Summary: This session introduces one assignment to:

1) encourage and facilitate active learning by students and

2) create more questions and build up a test bank, accumulating and updating an ORE resource sustainably.

One challenge of using OER is the lack of good facilitating resources. As instructors, we want the materials to be update-to-date and interesting to students. At the same time, flipping a classroom and inducing active learning has been proven effective if done appropriately. Read more

Tuesday, August 30th

12:30am – 1:00pm

Location: Online

Register Here

Day 2

Open Education Resources (OER) in Action: A Panel Discussion

Location: HHD 128

Presenters: Inba Kehoe, Head Copyright & Scholarly Communications, Gayle Palas and Jeff Baxter, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)

Panelists: Chris Eagle, Mathematics and Statistics, Loren Gaudet, Academic and Technical Writing Program,  Michael Paskevicius, Curriculum & Instruction, Inba Kehoe, Head Copyright & Scholarly Communications

Summary:  Are you curious to learn more about OER and how other educators are incorporating them into their practice? Join us for a robust conversation with current practitioners and subject matter experts on getting started with OER, keeping momentum, pedagogical considerations, and accessibility and inclusion. We will discuss what makes OER unique, the associated benefits for instructors and students, and share resources to support you in your OER journey.

Wednesday, August 31st

10:45am – 12:00pm

Register Here

About Loren Gaudet
About Chris Eagle
About Inba Kehoe
About Michael Paskevicius

Day 3

The Anti-Racism and Decolonial Potential of Open-Source Writing Textbooks

Presenters: Sara Humphreys, Academic and Technical Writing Program

Summary:  I had the good fortune to lead a team that built an LTSI-funded, open source textbook for The Academic and Technical Writing Program titled Why Write?: A Guide for Students in Canada. What makes this OER special is not just that it’s specifically designed for first-year composition courses in Canada; it explicitly takes into account anti-racist pedagogy, needs of Indigenous students, and Canadian perspectives while building upon the latest research and developments in the field of Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies. Read more

Thursday, September 1st

2:45pm – 3:30pm

Location: HHD 110

Register Here