Where did the idea come from for this activity at UBC library?

UBC Library has identified open scholarship as a strategic direction in the UBC Vancouver Library Strategic Framework. The framework includes a stated commitment to, “lead and collaborate to advance open scholarship.” A key aspect of this direction requires that we first look to our own practices to raise understanding and evaluate our own work to better align with the principles of open scholarship.

In the past 5 years, UBC has made great strides toward acknowledging and supporting open agendas. The UBCV Strategic Plan and UBCO Strategic Plan identify open education as a future direction for the institutions.  Additionally, the UBCV Strategic Plan acknowledges the importance of Knowledge Exchange (Kx) which aligns with open practices as researchers seek to make research inclusive and accessible to non-academic partners.  Financial support for open initiatives on campus has increased through the creation of the UBC Open Access Fund for Humanities and Social Sciences Research, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Dissemination Fund, the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ Graduate Student fund, which now supports open access publishing, and the OER Funds on both the UBCV and UBCO campuses. Additionally, the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) declared a commitment to OER in 2020 agreeing to, whenever possible, the public sharing of CTLT educational resources with an open license.  By committing to support open scholarship, UBC librarians will not only fulfill our own organization’s stated directives (as identified in our Strategic Framework) but also align our work with the steps UBC is taking toward open. 

Recently, significant national and international initiatives have elevated open access. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (the Tri-Agencies) announced an Open Access Policy on Publications that requires federally funded peer-reviewed research to be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. SSHRC has also provided financial support for infrastructure development for open access with Coalition Publica, a partnership between the Public Knowledge Project and Érudit to support the social sciences and humanities journal community in the transition towards sustainable open access. In Europe we are seeing even broader support for open access with Plan S. Developed in 2018 by cOAlition S, a consortium of European research councils and funding bodies, this mandate requires that all scientific publications resulting from research funded by public grants be published in compliant open access journals or platforms.

Academic libraries across Canada have developed aspirational policies and practices to connect the work of the library with open practices. While UBC is seen as a leader in some areas of open scholarship, this commitment aims to further align the work of librarians with the principles of openness.  

UBC librarians have engaged in advocacy work related to open scholarship for a number of years, including offering workshops and events and collaborating with faculty, students, and support units to promote openness on campus. While this work has been valuable, the need for a considered and deliberate approach to open awareness has never been greater. The adoption of a more formal commitment to open scholarship could act as the cornerstone of this new approach.

Statement Purpose

The UBC Librarian Statement of Commitment to Open Scholarship aims to: 

  • build a culture of open scholarship, open data, and open operations at UBC Library
  • foster and promote awareness of open approaches across the institution
  • join our peers at institutions across Canada in articulating a commitment to open initiatives
  • align the actions of UBC librarians with open initiatives and practices on campus as well as national and international agencies, organizations, and initiatives we value 
  • establish UBC librarians as leaders and exemplars of open initiatives on a national and global scale 


UBC Librarians recognizes that it may not be appropriate or possible to make work open in all cases. Employees are encouraged to consider the ethical implications of sharing their work openly before proceeding to do so. In particular, it should be acknowledged that the creation and dissemination of knowledge has historically been controlled by Western, colonial institutions and when we choose to open up our practices and our work we must respect the cultural and intellectual property rights of community members, partners, and stakeholders. 

Additionally, this statement should not be interpreted or applied so as to limit or amend the provisions contained in any policy, collective agreement or employee manual entered into between the University and its employees.


While librarians are responsible for integrating the aspirational statements into their individual practices and workflows, the UBC Library Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office, and the cIRcle Office will provide guidance in support of the application of the aspirations, and will take the lead in assessment efforts.


We would like to acknowledge the work of the following institutions whose open access statements greatly informed our own discussions, approach and content:

What is open access?

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers.

What is open education?

Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment.

The foundation of open education is open educational resources (OER), which are teaching, learning and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. “Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials (Adapted from “Open Education”, SPARC,  CC-BY). 

What is open research?

There is no one definition of open research and it may be used interchangeably with open science. In general, the term refers to scholarly research practices that adhere to a set of principles that are collaborative, transparent, and reproducible. The Open Research Toolkit is an OER designed by Christopher Eaker at the University of Tennessee for librarians learning and teaching open research concepts and skills.

What are open copyright licenses?

A license assigned by the copyright owner granting advanced reuse permission to their work. Examples of such licensing schemes include Creative Commons licenses, the MIT License, the GNU General Public License etc.

What are author rights?

Author rights refers to the rights of a creator/author and are most often associated with the application of those rights in relation to formal publication. Publishers often ask authors to enter into publication agreements that entail a transfer of copyright ownership from the author to the publisher, resulting in an inability of the original author to disseminate or reuse their work.

What does the term “work” mean in the context of this document?

The statement applies to all scholarly and professional work produced by librarians, archivists and staff. Permission from co-authors should be sought.  Examples of works include:

  • articles
  • books and book chapters
  • conference papers, posters, proceedings and presentations
  • reports (e.g. study leave reports)
  • instructional materials such as videos, online courses, audio, presentation, slides, presentation slides, supplementary material and guides (e.g. LibGuides)
  • research,and/or institutional data
  • source code

What does open operations mean in the context of this document?

While there is no formal definition of “open operations”, in the context of this statement the term refers to the performance of work involving the practical application of open scholarship principles or processes with a focus on transparency and disclosure.

Who do I contact if I have feedback on this statement or request assistance in implementing the aspirational statements into my practice?

Both the UBC Library Scholarly Communications and Copyright Services Office and the cIRcle Office provide direction and assessment services in support of the Statement.  

Who do I contact to provide feedback on this statement or request assistance with open scholarship in practice?

The UBC Library Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office, and the cIRcle Office will be responsible for providing guidance and support for adherence to these principles, and for leading the statement assessment.