Category Archives: Publishing Models

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.

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.

Open Education Resources Grant workshop

Applying for an Open Educational Resource (OER) Grant

Thursday, May 2, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 PM

UVic Libraries – Digital Scholarship Commons (DSC)

Thinking about replacing expensive undergraduate texts or materials with open, freely accessible, and customizable alternatives? The 2019 UVSS Grad Class Executive, the LTSI, UVic Libraries, and University Systems has collaborated to offer a new Open Educational Resources (OER) grant to help instructors create or use OERs in their courses. Attend this info session for more information about OERs and how to apply. Application deadline is May 23, 2019.

WILEY and Projekt DEAL in Germany sign agreement

January 15, 2019

Wiley and Projekt DEAL establish groundbreaking partnership for Germany to pilot new publishing models, better enable researchers to create and disseminate knowledge through Wiley’s journals, and continue to provide participating German institutions access to Wiley’s portfolio of academic journals.

Under an annual fee, this transformative three-year agreement provides all Projekt DEAL institutions with access to read Wiley’s academic journals back to the year 1997, and researchers at Projekt DEAL institutions can publish articles open access in Wiley’s journals.

To support the overall advancement of scholarly research, Wiley and Projekt DEAL are together launching three important new initiatives as part of the partnership. First a new flagship open access journal. This interdisciplinary journal will publish top-tier scholarship from the global research community and will serve as a unique forum for the development of new open access publishing models. In another key aspect of the agreement, Wiley and Projekt DEAL will establish an open science and author services development group focused on innovating and accelerating new publishing approaches. The partners will also create and host a new annual symposium for early-career German researchers focused on surfacing cutting-edge ideas on the future of research communications.

More information available at:

Cambridge launches new mid-length publishing program

January 15, 2019

Cambridge Elements are a new concept in academic publishing and scholarly communication, combining the best features of books and journals. They consist of original, concise, authoritative, and peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific research, organised into focused series edited by leading scholars, and provide comprehensive coverage of the key topics in disciplines spanning the arts and sciences.

Elements are:

  • Rapidly published and disseminated.
  • Authoritative, written by leading scholars and rigorously peer-reviewed.
  • Structured in focused series, edited by senior figures in each discipline.
  • Short: 20,000-30,000 words (40 to 75 pages).
  • Available in online, onscreen, and print versions.

Elements include:

  • Analytical surveys on foundational building blocks of the discipline.
  • Original, cutting edge insights into frontier topics.
  • Masterclasses and advanced tutorials on emerging topics.
  • Detailed descriptions of novel technologies or protocols (in Medicine and Engineering).

Open access options are available for Elements:

  • CC BY-NC license
  • Gold OA fee of $5,500 pounds, excluding taxes

Free Public Screening of Film “Paywall: the Business of Scholarship” – Open Access Week 2018

Join us at the UVic Libraries Digital Scholarship Commons for a public screening of the documentary, “Paywall”. Everyone is welcome. There will be popcorn provided!

A public screening of the movie will be held on:

Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Time: 2-4:30pm.

Panel discussion to follow the movie until 4:30pm Panelists include:

  • Dr. Frank van Veggel, Chemistry
  • Dr. Chris Eagle, Math. & Stats.
  • Lisa Petrachenko, Associate University Librarian, Research & Collections
  • Maxwell Nicholson, Senior Economics Lab Instructor & Undergraduate student
  • Alyssa Arbuckle, Ph.D Candidate & Associate Director, ETCL

Where: UVic Libraries, Digital Scholarly Commons

Please register at

paywall movie poster

About the filmPaywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which:

  • focuses on the need for open access to research and science
  • questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers
  • examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier, and
  • looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.

Produced and directed by Jason Schmitt, Clarkson University, NY

The film is also available to stream for free here:



Insta Novels on Instagram!

Gary Price | August 22, 2018

The [Insta Novels] program, created by Mother [an independent advertising and creative agency] in New York and developed in partnership with the New York Public Library, aims to make some of the greatest stories ever written more accessible to every New Yorker and Instagram user.

The program will launch on the Library’s Instagram account (@nypl) on August 22 with a newly digitized version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

The novel is illustrated by well-known designer Magoz (@magoz).  Mother searched for designers with significant presence on Instagram in creating the program.

Complete Launch Announcement at:

Instagram website:

Open Education Week Event on Vancouver Island – March 8

Open Education Week: Open in Action

Date: Thursday March 8

Time: 9:30 am- 3:00pm

Location: Babcock Canada Interaction Lab in the Jack White Building (#13 on Map) @ Interurban campus, Camosun College

Free Registration

Open Education Week’s goal is to raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone, everywhere, right now.  We want to highlight how open education can help people meet their goals in education, whether that’s to develop skills and knowledge for work, supporting formal studies, learning something new for personal interest, or looking for additional teaching resources.

Join faculty, staff and students at the Innovations Lab @ Interurban campus, Camosun College to celebrate the Open Education Movement in BC. This event will include presentations from open advocates at various Institutions who will discuss their projects in detail and share how they have put open education into action.

9:30 am Welcome and Introduction

9:40-10:20 am Kelsey Merkley – The Intersections of Open

Kelsey Merkley is an open innovation practitioner. After 7 years in South Africa she has extensive experience in managing Pan-African projects with an open education focus, including Africa Open Toolkits, the Pan-African Open Advocate Training Program #openafrica & Kumusha Bus stops. Previous projects include working with Siyavula, Nolwazi, WikiAfrica, University of Cape Town IP Unit, City of Cape Town Open Data Project, UNICEF Innovation Unit, and the Shuttleworth Foundation. She has hosted events including the first African Open Textbook Summit and the Institute for Open Leadership. She founded Open Textbooks for Africa a project designed to support the adaption and adoption of Open Textbooks across Africa.

Now based in Toronto, Kelsey is Public Lead for Creative Commons Canada after serving as Public Lead for Creative Commons South Africa for 4 years. Creative Commons is the global standard for legal sharing. Kelsey has expertise in IP Law, Open Textbooks, Open Educational Resources, Open Policy, Open Business Models and loves Community Building.

Most recently Kelsey has worked with Creative Commons HQ, and e-Campus Ontario.

Kelsey’s talent is creating a robust local and international partnerships and communities. She was named one of South Africa’s brightest young minds by Mail & Guardian in 2015 and was a speaker at 2015 TEDxCapeTown.

10:20-10:30 am Break

10:30- 11:00 am Inba Kehoe – Scholarly Publishing UVIC

11:00-11:30 am Elizabeth Childs and Jo Axe – Transforming an entire department RRU

11:30-12:00 pm Amanda Coolidge, BCcampus – Project Updates and New Call for Proposals

12:00-1:00 pm Lunch sponsored by BCcampus

1:00-2:00 pm Lightning Rounds

Michael Paskevicius, VIU

Sue Doner, Camosun College

Janni Aargon, UVIC

George Veltsianos, RRU

2:00-3:00 pm Uncommon Women Panel – hosted by Kelsey Merkley, featuring UnCommon Women, Mary Burgess and Jennifer Walinga

In the 2014 Tutu Lecture “Women in Peace” Mary Robinson, President ofIreland, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke to the importance of gender equality of the decision-makers in the room.  And the value of amplifying the voice of women leaders brings more to the room and the decisions – Her practical recommendation was simple “that women in positions of authority walk into a room that is dominated by men should ask “What’s wrong with this room?””

Kelsey Merkley started UnCommon Women because she saw a gap between the women in senior operating roles and the men in “Thought Leader” roles. In other words, the women were getting s*** done. Kelsey wanted to celebrate and amplify the many strong brilliant and busy women of the commons.

Join Kelsey Merkley as she interviews and facilitates a conversation with UnCommon Women, Mary Burgess and Jennifer Walinga.

Amanda Coolidge, MEd
Senior Manager of Open Education
BCcampus | connect.collaborate.innovate