Above image is courtesy of Pixabay


In musical practice, there is an assortment of musical elements at “play”.


Just think. Real-time creative decision-making. Risk-taking. Collaboration.


So what happens when they all “play” together?


Improvisation! That is, musical improvisation.


“I’ll play it first and tell you what it’s called later.” – Miles Davis


The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is known as “a central source for the collection and dissemination of research on the social implications of improvisational practices”.


Founded as a partnered research institute from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) project, “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” (ICASP), IICSI has its own research team. It consists of 58 scholars, students, creative practitioners, and community partners representing 20 different academic institutions including the University of British Columbia (UBC) and over 30 community-based organizations.


Together, they are “creating a vibrant intellectual hub and a focal point for leading-edge research and critical inquiry in the field of improvisation studies”. Through this network comes the following benefits such as ‘new technologies and models for practice-based research, knowledge transfers, new research, student training, and development of policies, instruments, and technologies’ to list just a few.


IICSI has three main strategic research priorities: 1) Improvisation as Practice-Based Research, 2) Improvisation, Community Health, and Social Responsibility, and 3) Improvisation, Intermediality, and Experimental Technologies.


Below is a quick soupçon of the IICSI sample research-intensive questions under current exploration:


Sample Research Questions re: 1)

How do arts-based improvisatory practices themselves suggest new models of knowledge transfer?

How might these practices help us measure the impact of our research activities, and how might they enable a broader range of stakeholders to engage with these activities?


Sample Research Questions re: 2)

How do improvisational arts-based practices contribute to the development and flourishing of healthy communities?

How (and to what extent) do these practices help communities (particularly at-risk and aggrieved populations) produce new understandings of identity, history, memory, and the body?


Sample Research Questions re: 3)

How can new technologies help facilitate the ability of communities to improvise across time, space, and ability limitations?

How might intermedial co-creation develop new opportunities for mobilizing knowledge?


With more research questions arising faster than they can be probed, it is good to know that IICSI has created an online research library housing a range of items such as films, articles, think pieces, and interviews.


At UBC, cIRcle is not only helping to disseminate IICSI research and make it openly accessible, it is also archiving and preserving this unique musical form of scholarly research for future scholars, practitioners and the general public.


Explore the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) Colloquium cIRcle collection via UBC Library’s Open Collections portal and stay tuned for more!


Are you a UBC researcher? Click here to add your research to cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository



Above image is courtesy of Pixabay


At the University of British Columbia (UBC), the ‘highest calibre [of] research faculty and students’ create, innovate and inspire while they work and study at its two campuses located in Vancouver and in the Okanagan Valley. According to UBC 2016/17 figures, it ‘secures approximately $600 million in research funding each year with 199 companies spun off from UBC research; 1,326 research projects with industry partners; and 1,172 research contracts and agreements with government and non-profits’.


If you are looking for an openly accessible collection of such published and unpublished scholarly research by the UBC faculty community and its partners, take a moment to learn more about this notable one.


The UBC Faculty of Research and Publications collection in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository showcases all types of content ranging from grant-funded research datasets to text files of preprint and postprint articles, case studies, technical reports, working papers, book reviews, conference proceedings and summaries to audio and video recording files to historical photographs of people, places, and objects.


With 3,521 items now and counting, the oldest item found in this collection was published back in 1929. More recently, one of the newest items found in cIRcle was a journal article published just this year by UBC authors from these interdisciplinary areas: Faculty of Arts, Library, Faculty of Medicine, School of Journalism and the School of Population and Public Health.


This collection covers a broad range of both historical and current thematic subjects such as air pollution, Canada, community environmental health, forest productivity, genocide, health human resources, HIV, homelessness, medical technology, monuments and memorials, prisoners, war, workplace health, and much more. So far, the latest top country views and downloads originate from the United States, Canada, China, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Republic of Korea, Australia, India, and the Netherlands.


Part of this unique collection is the Adam Jones Global Photo Archive created by UBC Okanagan professor Adam Jones, head of International Relations at UBC’s Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. He is known as a “[g]lobetrotter, acclaimed author, and genocide expert” who has visited more than 103 countries to date.


One newly added item garnering media attention this month is a report written by UBC professor and Canadian Cancer Society Chair in Cancer Primary Prevention, Dr. Carolyn Gotay et al. She provides an update on the activities of the Breast Cancer Prevention & Risk Assessment Clinic in British Columbia. So far, it has received 1,369 views from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iran, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Japan.


Another part of this growing collection includes the Making Research Accessible Initiative (MRAi). Also known as the UBC Learning Exchange, MRAi is a community engagement initiative based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Did you know that the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is a funding partner and contributor of MRAi? With new items added nearly everyday, there are currently over 150 faculty research articles and other community-sourced historical materials from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside which are now openly accessible in cIRcle via UBC Library’s Open Collections portal.



Are you a UBC researcher? Click here to add your research to cIRcle








Above image is courtesy of SPARC


In the News: UBC and Abroad



BCcampus, BCIT, SFU, UBC CTLT and UBC Library celebrate International Open Access Week 2017

A BC collaborative event, in celebration of this global movement now in its 10th year, will be happening at BCIT’s downtown campus location tonight.


The event theme, Tension and Risk in Open Scholarship: A Conversation: 2017-10-26, will address not only the “benefits and opportunities of open access but also a recognition that openness can sometimes create unintended consequences for individuals and communities”.


Learn more


Explore Open Access Week at UBC




Building a Sustainable Knowledge Commons – COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories)

COAR just released an animated infographic highlighting the five prerequisites for a sustainable knowledge commons


About COAR

An international association comprised of 100+ global members and partners (representing libraries, universities, research institutions, government funders and others) aims to build a sustainable, global knowledge commons based on a network of open access digital repositories.


Download the PDF




Examples of open access in action


What concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly outputs openly available?


Check out SPARC’s new site highlighting 16 examples of the concrete benefits of making research open.


Learn more



A global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education.




Open access: six myths to put to rest

What are the six most common misconceptions about open access?

Test your knowledge courtesy of Peter Suber (Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and author of Open Access (MIT Press, 2012).



  • The only way to provide open access to peer-reviewed journal articles is to publish in open access journals
  • All or most open access journals charge publication fees
  • Most author-side fees are paid by the authors themselves
  • Publishing in a conventional journal closes the door on making the same work open access
  • Open access journals are intrinsically low in quality
  • Open access mandates infringe academic freedom


Uncover the facts here




Open Access at the Natural History Museum, London

In 2017, the Natural History Museum in London signed the International Open Data Accord (joining the growing number of museums) in publishing their collection databases and digital reproductions online. This undertaking is “part of its five-year plan to build a Museum for the future” by combining the expertise and skills from museum scientists, librarians, and archivists to create and digitize electronic records, making them openly accessible to all. So far, there are 3.8 million specimens already digitized and accessible via the Museum’s Data Portal comprised of the Museum’s research and collections data.


Learn more







Marking its tenth anniversary this October, the International Open Access Week: October 23-29, 2017 is a large scale, global event. It is where open access advocates, supporters and participants share their knowledge and experiences about the benefits of Open Access. This event serves to “inspire wider adoption and participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research”.


Starting in 2007 as an Open Access Day event dubbed as “a partnership between SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and students who organized local events on a handful of campuses across the United States”, it is now a worldwide event where anyone interested in furthering the dissemination of openly accessible scholarly research can partake.


The collaborative International Open Access Week 2017 event by UBC Library, UBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) libraries, and BC Campus will take place as follows:



Thursday, October 26, 2017



5:00-6:00pm (arrivals and appetizers)



6:00-8:00pm (including coffee and dessert)



BCIT’s downtown campus


The event theme, Tension and Risk in Open Scholarship: A Conversation: 2017-10-26, will address not only the “benefits and opportunities of open access but also a recognition that openness can sometimes create unintended consequences for individuals and communities”.


Register here and join BC’s open scholarship conversation in celebration of International Open Access Week 2017!





Photo credit: Don Erhardt


Situated on the UBC Vancouver campus, the Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution (APDR) Project is comprised of a network of colleagues not just from UBC but also from partner institutions in North America and Asia. The APDR Project supports research, analysis and policy proposals on cross-cultural dispute resolution in the areas of trade and human rights, with particular attention to Canada, China, India, Indonesia and Japan.


Known as an MCRI (Major Collaborative Research Initiatives) project, it is “a flagship-funding program within the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)” whose principal investigator is Dr. Pitman Potter, a professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. He has ‘published several books such as Assessing Treaty Performance in China: Trade and Human Rights (Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2014) and The Legal System of the People’s Republic of China (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013) and over 100 articles and essays’.


With the last part of this multi-year project falling into place, the dissemination of the multiple findings are now underway as each country and its research team of representatives prepare to release their publications. These much-anticipated publications are arranged around the following key ‘topics in which the research findings have been grouped for dissemination – development, good governance, health, labour and poverty/inequality – with these volumes which include papers from members of the different research teams’. They also added, “The number of publications from the project, as can be expected from a project in its last stage, is quite vast and varied in types. At the moment, we are updating the inventory of publications and they are being classified according to five main types: book, book chapter, journal article, policy report and miscellaneous (media and other types of publications)”.


So while the APDR Project was ‘granted funding before May of 2015, the new policy on Open Access released by SSHRC last year is not mandatory, the stakeholders are aware [that] this is something the agency is encouraging for all [of] its projects’.


Download the APDR Working Papers Series‘ items now (see directly below) and stay tuned for more new items coming soon!


APDR Working Papers Series’ items:

Learning Networks as a Tool for Good Governance: The Case of the Canada-China Forum on Industrial Relations and Employment Standards

Introduction: Labour and Human Rights

AIDS, Human Rights, and Public Security in China

Public Health and Drug Policing in Malaysia: Using Empirical Evidence for Advocacy

Four Suggestions on Establishing a Legal Environment for a Speedy Transformation of the Economic Development Model

An Analysis of the Social and Legal Problems in Transitional China

Inclusive Workplace Practice in Canada: Competing Inequalities in an Industrial-Mobile Society


Photo courtesy: Pixabay


It is a pleasure to announce the arrival of a new item recently added to cIRcle, UBC’s digital repository resulting from the collaborative efforts between a world-renowned scholar and several of UBC’s academic research units and community partners – School of Music, Hong Kong Studies Initiative, Centre for Chinese Research, Museum of Anthropology, and St. John’s College.


Nancy Yunhwa Rao is an Associate Director of Academic Studies who is both the Head of the Composition Program and the Head of the Music Theory Program of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. As “one of the leading scholars in Chinese American music studies”, she has amassed award-winning research which focuses on the “musical history of Chinese in the United States, Canada, and Cuba” which she “mined [from] immigration files” and so forth.


Examples of her published research are found in a variety of journal publications such as the “Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of the Society for American Music, Journal of 19th Century Music Review, as well as several collections of essays”. Interestingly, she has published ‘a book on Chinatown Opera Theater in North America via the University Illinois Press’ which is completely filled with the “analysis of playbills, performing networks, opera arias, stage spectacles, and more”.


Watch Parts One and Two of her talk here


Explore the Chinese Special Collections‘ Library Research Guide




Image: cIRcle Graduate Non-Thesis Research Submission Workflow Overview


The GSS (Graduate Student Society) cIRcle Open Scholar Award was a lottery based award held twice a year for graduate students at UBC Vancouver which went live on July 9, 2012.

Graduate students were eligible to submit exemplary non-thesis manuscripts or projects related to graduate coursework to the GSS (Graduate Student Society) cIRcle Open Scholar Award, with approval from their course instructors.

A random selection was made from items submitted to cIRcle during the previous 6 month period – four awards will be made per annum, two in April and two in October.

The GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award was a five-year (2012-2017) collaboration of the Graduate Student Society and cIRcle/UBC Library.

The first two awards were presented on October 18, 2012 and the last few awards were presented before the Award ended on May 1, 2017.

Congratulations to the 2016 & 2017 Award winners – Victor Ngo and Ali Hosseini* (April 2016); Jean-Paul Andre Joseph Benoit and Amy Myring (October 2016); and, Keilee Mok and Alejandra Echeverri** (April 2017)!

* Note: Co-authors are faculty members and were not eligible for the award.
** Note: Co authors had graduated prior to the award period and were, therefore, ineligible.


Over the course of its five-year term, the Award was presented to the randomly-selected UBC graduate students for their exemplary non-thesis research work in either traditional and/or interdisciplinary fields of study:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (CENES)
  • Community and Regional Planning (SCARP)
  • Computer Science
  • Educational Studies
  • Forest Resources Management
  • Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS)
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Theatre and Film

“I am grateful for the efforts of those responsible for cIRcle

because I see it as a positive alternative that facilitates sharing of research and work.

cIRcle catalyzes the sharing and building of ideas, motivating students to

improve their work and to give back to the research community that provides so much for them.”


    – Robert DeAbreu, GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award Winner, April 2013


While the Award officially ended on 1 May 2017, the Award collection was aptly renamed and became the new UBC Graduate Research collection in cIRcle, UBC’s digital repository which now incorporates exemplary non-thesis research work from UBC Okanagan graduate students too. Hooray!


The UBC Graduate Research collection welcomes exemplary graduate student non-thesis research such as the following:

  • Essays or papers
  • Graduating papers or projects (Capstone, etc.)
  • Manuscripts
  • Presentations (including research posters)
  • Publisher-permitted versions of journal articles, conference papers, etc. based on course-related research
  • Software code
  • Technical reports
  • Video and audio based projects


With too many benefits to list, below are just a sampling of such when making your UBC graduate student non-thesis research openly accessible via cIRcle:

  • Create/enhance your academic and professional scholarly profile
  • Track views and downloads from cities and countries around the world
  • Openly disseminate your UBC research with scholars locally and globally
  • Your work is regularly indexed by web search engines (Google, Google Scholar, etc.)
  • Preserve your UBC scholarly legacy with a DOI (persistent link)


UBC graduate students are encouraged to upload their own work (subject to course instructor or supervisor approval) to the UBC Graduate Research collection anytime.






There is excitement among researchers both nationally and internationally on the recent U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities’ statement. Why? It focuses on sustainable publishing.


As a collaborative body of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities’ works to “foster the development and delivery of long-term, sustainable higher education and research policy, in Canada and around the world”.  These Canadian universities are “home to world-class researchers using state-of-the-art research infrastructure to make ground-breaking discoveries” as they “train tomorrow’s citizens, entrepreneurs and leaders, and work with partners from the public, private and government sectors to mobilize knowledge and capitalize on it”.


The message by Suzanne Corbeil, U15 Executive Director, states in part that “[w]e know investing in research and science pays dividends for all Canadians. It spurs innovation and fosters the curiosity and creativity that our best and brightest minds direct towards solving society’s greatest challenges. It also enables us to ensure we are developing the best and brightest talent for the workforce of tomorrow, and are able to conduct research in world-class facilities that can drive growth of innovative companies.“


In its preamble, the U15 Statement on Sustainable Publishing emphasizes that, “Access to research and scholarly outputs is essential for scientific discovery, innovation, and education. To maximize knowledge transfer and impact, our researchers’ work must be made readily available around the globe. Research-intensive universities also require timely and continuing access to international research results and scholarship in order to advance and disseminate knowledge, and to develop the next generation of researchers.”


The five key principles and their highlights found in the U15 statement are briefly listed directly below:


  1. Open Access – a necessity for an accessible and sustainable model of scholarly publishing
  2. Public Interest – disseminating scholarly publications and other research outputs as widely as possible
  3. Quality – rigorous peer review processes and effective research impact measures in all forms of academic publishing
  4. Accountability – highest possible proportion of public dollars invested in research and education
  5. Innovation – collaborative development of new models of scholarly communications benefit the academy and the public in the digital age


Download the full U15 Statement on Sustainable Publishing here


Explore Open Access and more at UBC


Browse UBC’s digital repository for research and teaching materials



Above logo is courtesy of U15


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