Author Archives: ChristianS

UVic 2022 “Pathways to Impact” Grant: Eric Higgs

 UVic’s “Pathways to Impact” fund aims to move original research that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and move it into real-world applications for greatest impact. The fund is a partnership between UVic’s Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) unit and UVic Libraries. Funded projects will make their research openly accessible, including via UVicSpace, contributing to the democratization of knowledge and knowledge equity. The inaugural UVic fund is one of a few institutionally led knowledge-mobilization funding initiatives across Canadian research universities and among the first to directly target the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Sentinels of change: Rising treelines and raising knowledge.

UVic researchers address cultural, ecological and environmental urgency behind the Mountain Legacy Project.

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 6, 13, 14 and 15

Among the seven projects that were selected for the 2022 Pathways to Impact fund is Sentinels of change: Rising treelines and raising knowledge, led by Prof. Eric Higgs, a professor at the School of Environmental Studies (Faculty of Social Sciences) at the University of Victoria. The research project uses historical photographs from the Canadian Rocky Mountains to analyze tree line change over the last century. The results will be applied to discuss the effects of climate change on such ecosystems and possible practical implications. The funded project is part of the Mountain Legacy Project.

Besides an article in Scientific Reports, an open access journal by reputable academic publisher Nature…

Trant, A., Higgs, E., & Starzomski, B. M. (2020). A century of high elevation ecosystem change in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Scientific Reports, 10(1), Art. 1.

…an episode of the appraised podcast Future Ecologies was recently published in connection with the project:

“In a forgotten corner of a national archive, some very heavy boxes held a rare promise: an opportunity to look back in time at a landscape scale.”

Listen to the episode here.

Find a list of achievements and publications by Prof. Higgs on his website and on his ORCiD profile.

UVic Libraries congratulates Professor Higgs and his team on the successful application and their valuable research contribution to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ SDGs.

Mt. Assiniboine and Magog Lake: A. O. Wheeler, 1913 & Mary Sanseverino, 2017Mt. Assiniboine and Magog Lake: A. O. Wheeler, 1913 & Mary Sanseverino, 2017

UVic’s 2022 “Pathways to Impact” Grant: Caetano Dorea

UVic’s “Pathways to Impact” fund aims to move original research that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and move it into real-world applications for greatest impact. The fund is a partnership between UVic’s Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) unit and UVic Libraries. Funded projects will make their research openly accessible, including via UVicSpace, contributing to the democratization of knowledge and knowledge equity. The inaugural UVic fund is one of a few institutionally led knowledge-mobilization funding initiatives across Canadian research universities and among the first to directly target the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

A prospective cohort study of access to safe drinking water in Malawi – Community dissemination and engagement

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 6, and 17

Among the seven projects that were selected for the 2022 Pathways to Impact fund is
A prospective cohort study of access to safe drinking water in Malawi, the summary of the doctoral research of Dr. Alexandra Cassivi – supervised by Dr. Caetano Dorea.

Dr. Cassivi’s research potential was recognized in 2020 with a Green Talents award. She is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Université Laval. Dr. Dorea is a professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Victoria, research group leader of the Public Health & Environmental Engineering (PH2E) Lab, and the director of the NSERC CREATE in Water & Sanitation for Low-Resource Contexts (#WASHCanada) project.

This research project is dedicated to exploring access to safe drinking water and sanitation for diverse populations in Malawi. It is hoped that the findings can be applied globally to make recommendations for assessing and monitoring access to water, particularly for low- and middle-income countries.

The following articles were published in connection with the project so far:

  • Cassivi, A., Tilley, E., Waygood, E. O. D., & Dorea, C. (2020). Trends in access to water and sanitation in Malawi: Progress and inequalities (1992–2017). Journal of Water and Health, 18(5), 785–797.
  • Cassivi, A., Tilley, E., Waygood, E. O. D., & Dorea, C. (2021a). Evaluating self-reported measures and alternatives to monitor access to drinking water: A case study in Malawi. Science of The Total Environment, 750, 141516.
  • Cassivi, A., Tilley, E., Waygood, E. O. D., & Dorea, C. (2021b). Household practices in accessing drinking water and post collection contamination: A seasonal cohort study in Malawi. Water Research, 189, 116607.
  • Cassivi, A., Tilley, E., Waygood, O., & Dorea, C. (2021c). Seasonal Preferences and Alternatives for Domestic Water Sources: A Prospective Cohort Study in Malawi. ACS ES&T Water, 1(6), 1464–1473.

Dr. Cassivi’s doctoral thesis, on which this project is based, is available in UVicSpace:

Find a full list of achievements and publications by Dr. Caetano Dorea here and those of Dr. Cassivi here.

UVic Libraries congratulates Professor Dorea, Dr. Cassivi, and the rest of their team on the successful application and their valuable research contribution to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ SDGs.

UVic 2022 “Pathways to Impact” Grant: Dr. Megan Ames

Canadian mapping of Autism-specific supports for postsecondary students

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 4, and 10

The Pathways to Impact fund is a partnership between the Office of UVic’s Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) unit and UVic Libraries. Its aim is to move original research into real-world applications for greatest impact. The funded research projects align with and advance UVic’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a set of goals that “encompass equity issues for humanity—reducing poverty, hunger, and inequality—along with sustainability issues that imperil the globe’s habitability.

Among the seven projects that were selected for the 2022 Pathways to Impact fund is the  Canadian mapping of Autism-specific supports for postsecondary students by Dr. Megan Ames (University of Victoria) and Carly McMorris (University of Calgary).

Dr. Megan Ames is an assistant professor at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Victoria. Her research–the topic of the funded research project is outlined as follows:

“Prospective post-secondary students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their parents often spend an extensive amount of time researching potential schools and supports. CFYS research fellow Dr. Megan Ames and Dr. Carly McMorris from the University of Calgary have conducted an environmental scan of the websites of all public post-secondary institutions in Canada looking for support provisions. Out of over 250 institutions, only 6% listed at least one support specific to students with ASD. The team is hoping to make this list publicly available in the near future.”

The following article was published in connection with the project:

Ames, M. E., Coombs, C. E. M., Duerksen, K. N., Vincent, J., & McMorris, C. A. (2022). Canadian mapping of autism-specific supports for postsecondary students. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 90, 101899.

Funded projects will make their research openly accessible, including via UVicSpace, contributing to the larger conversation around the democratization of knowledge and the role that higher education institutions play in contributing to knowledge equity.

The inaugural UVic fund is one of a few institutionally led knowledge-mobilization funding initiatives across Canadian research universities and among the first to directly target the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Find list of other articles published by Dr. Ames here.

UVic Libraries congratulates Dr. Ames and Dr. McMorris on their successful application and their valuable research contribution to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ SDGs.

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.

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.

TK Labels: Tool for Indigenous Peoples to assert sovereignty over traditional knowledges

Logo for the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples


August 9 marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, an annual celebration of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted in 2007. It is an opportunity to highlight the significant contribution that Indigenous Peoples have made to our world and it serves as a reminder to reaffirm everyone’s commitment to advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to working together to address the challenges they still face around the world.

This celebratory blog post is dedicated to Traditional Knowledge Labels (TK Labels) – a framework for preserving Indigenous knowledges in digital environments. It will outline how the system works and discuss how it can be helpful in scholarly work.

1.   What are TK Labels?

Traditional Knowledge Labels (TK Labels) is a digital tagging system developed by the Local Contexts initiative in partnership with Indigenous communities worldwide to recognize, categorize, and acknowledge traditional knowledges of Indigenous Peoples and their contexts and regulate how and by whom that intellectual property can be used. Together with other tools such as Local Context’s BC Labels, GIDA’s CARE Principles, or the Mukurtu Content Management System (CMS), they ensure the cultural sovereignty of Indigenous peoples worldwide.

2.   What can TK Labels add to existing frameworks regulating intellectual property?

TK labels appear to be akin to statutory copyright and trademark law. Yet they were developed because legal concepts of regulating intellectual property are often at odds with how traditional knowledge is passed on, shared, and exercised. Copyright laws have been exploited many times to appropriate Indigenous knowledges and traditional cultural expressions, including by the scientific community.

Instead, the concept of TK labels is loosely inspired by Creative Commons (CC) licenses. CC licenses form another labeling system, that is intended to complement copyright by offering a more general framework for sharing intellectual property. But TK labels are more elaborate than Creative Commons and designed to provide a holistic perspective on the context in which traditional knowledges and Indigenous cultural heritages live. They can, for example, show provenance and specify protocols that should be applied when using the knowledge and they can be customized to serve local contexts. TK labels also contrast with Creative Commons because the open philosophy of which these licenses are a component is not in harmony with indigenous traditions of learning, teaching, and knowing.

Although not legally binding, TK labels create a safe space for traditional manifestations of intellectual property and their contexts that existing copyright laws generally cannot capture and legislate.

3.  How do TK Labels help protect Indigenous Knowledges and promote Indigenous cultural sovereignty?

Currently 20 different TK Labels help to raise awareness of Indigenous knowledges and their interrelationships. Labeling traditional knowledges that exist in digital environments makes them more recognizable. By contextualizing them with the help of TK Labels, knowledge-keepers can decide to provide clarity, depth, and meaning to audiences outside of their communities. As a result, these labels can prevent misappropriation by making clear where the knowledge and teachings originate and in what way their usage is authorized. This can encourage future use, foster their preservation and prevent undesirable or illegitimate applications. It is the exercise and sometimes the restitution of control over their dissemination. TK Labels help to repatriate sovereignty over knowledges and cultural expressions, that have been torn from their ancestral settings. And not least, they can encourage engagement with the inherent nature of Indigenous knowledge traditions and lead to a deeper understanding of them.

An image of 12 different TK Labels and their meaning

Examples of different TK Labels and their meanings. Source: Local Contexts and

4. What role TK Labels can play in indigenizing digital scholarship

TK labels offer an opportunity to improve the social impact of digital scholarship by promoting decolonization and indigenization. As more non-Indigenous researchers turn to traditional knowledge to solve societal problems to which Western science cannot find sufficient answers, such as wildlife conservation or the life-threatening effects of the climate crisis, it is increasingly important that this knowledge be used appropriately, respectfully, and in harmony with its bearers. TK labels can provide a framework for this use. With TK Labels, global Indigenous communities have an additional tool in their hands with which they can gain recognition for knowledges and cultural practices that have been considered a common good by the scientific community for centuries and have thus been appropriated without acknowledgement of their sources. Now these communities can claim it on their own terms.

5. How students, researchers and academic institutions can implement TK Labels in their learning, teaching, research and heritage work

The labels themselves can only be applied by Indigenous communities. Researchers and educators as well as academic and heritage institutions (archives, museums, libraries) who would like to refer to traditional knowledges in their works or in collections they host can apply a TK notice to them by registering their projects or collections in the Local Contexts Hub. That will notify Indigenous communities of potential Indigenous rights and interests in their publications, data or holdings, who can then decide if and which labels to apply to those projects. 

An important application relevant to scholarly and preservation work that includes the TK Labels is the Mukurtu CMS for building digital collections that contain manifestations of Indigenous cultural practices and traditional teachings. Learn more about how TK Labels are implemented into Mukurtu here.

Further Reading on Indigenous Knowledges

A special issue of UVic’s open access journal KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies has been dedicated to Indigenous Knowledges in 2021.

20 years of Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) inspire Open Access at UVic

In the 2022 edition of the influential CWTS Leiden Ranking, UVic was ranked as top Canadian university in open access publishing: It is ahead in making its research publicly accessible, with an overall share of 57.8% circulating in open access journals and repositories.

With other Canadian universities close behind, this is a remarkable success for open scholarship and the open access movement at the university.

An important cornerstone for this development is the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The influential declaration was signed in February 2002. Although there are predecessor declarations advocating for public access to specific forms of information, the BOAI is considered the first international declaration on the general free availability of scientific publications and the first to adopt and define the term Open Access (OA). It gave momentum to the emerging OA movement by consolidating the ideas of several pioneering initiatives and laid the foundation for successive OA declarations that became equally influential, such as the Bethesda Declaration on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (both 2003).

The focus in the original 2002 BOAI declaration was on the transformation of scholarly, peer-reviewed journal publications to OA, either by publishing in OA-only journals (the golden road) or by self-archiving articles that had not appeared in OA journals in subject and/or institutional repositories (the green road).

The declaration was renewed (BOAI10) in 2012 to mark its 10th anniversary. The first generation of OA declarations made an impact and the acceptance and implementation of OA has improved since. The result was a set of detailed proposals on a wide range of critical issues. For the first time, they encouraged research institutions and funders to adopt policies to promote (green) Open Access publishing. In addition, the statement urged building sustainable infrastructures through repositories and open metadata. It advocated the use of the most open licenses possible to disseminate knowledge and open metrics to assess its visibility. The statement ended with a plea for greater collaboration within the global Open Access community and a call to create a positive narrative for Open Access.

This year’s 20th anniversary of the BOAI declaration led to a new update of its recommendations. The BOAI20 declaration highlights the role of open access as a building block toward open scholarship as a whole. Its key recommendations for more OA are:

  1. The use and expansion of open, non-commercial infrastructures for the realization of open access and open scholarship
  2. A reform of the evaluation procedures for research achievements that includes rewarding open access publishing
  3. Economic independence for researchers in OA publishing by moving away from APCs and even more consistently towards repositories (green OA) and free open access journals (diamond OA)
  4. Returning to the original goals of the open access movement in the face of an impending monopolization of the OA publishing market by a few dominant, commercial players and a global imbalance for researchers in accessing their publishing platforms. It specifically suggests a critical reassessment of Read & Publish (also called transformative) agreements with those publishers under these circumstances

UVic’s measures regarding Open Access moved along BOAI’s recommendations early on and they continue to do so:

The recent recognition of this fact by the Leiden Ranking confirms UVic’s existing strategies around open scholarship, and especially open access. Nevertheless, the latest recommendations for BOAI’s 20th anniversary hold plenty of incentives and suggestions for continuous improvement. Thank you for the continuous inspiration and Happy Anniversary, BOAI20!

Beyond BPCs – MIT Press: Direct To Open (D2O)

For anyone wishing to publish open access (OA) scholarly monograph, the book processing charges (BPCs) typically raised by publishers can be an obstacle. This blog series will provide an overview of alternative publishing funding models (Subscribe to Open) for open access monographs in which UVic Libraries participate. The range of innovative approaches to sustainable funding of OA books highlighted here all has in common that authors are relieved of paying costly publication fees.

Direct to Open logo

MIT Press is a renowned academic publisher with strong advocacy for publishing Open Access.  Beginning in 2022, all new monographs and edited volumes published by MIT Press will be made freely available through the Direct To Open program.

The D2O funding model focuses on libraries, not authors. Participating libraries collectively raise a certain amount to cover the cost of making the books available in open access. Bundled into themed packages, participating institutions can decide which content they would like to support.

By default, all D2O titles are published under a CC-BY-NC-ND license, but authors are free to choose another Creative Commons license. All books are listed on MIT Press’ own e-book platform, MIT Press Direct, in major discovery indexes, and in established OA inventories, like the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). Parallel print editions will be available in bookstores. By distributing each D2O title through multiple channels, they receive the widest possible visibility and dissemination. 

UVic Libraries is participating in the program, thanks to which over 30 titles have already been made openly accessible in 2022.

If you have any questions related to the program, please contact the Office of Scholarly Communication.