UBC Library users can now benefit from unlimited access to Covidence, a web-based systematic review management software platform. With a new institutional subscription to Covidence, the library has made it possible for faculty, staff and student researchers at UBC to significantly cut down on the time it takes to complete a systematic or other comprehensive literature review.

In a systematic review, researchers set out to address a clearly defined question by consolidating all available evidence. The process involves multiple stages, including preparing the research question; searching for studies that relate to the question; screening those studies to see how well they match the question and assessing the quality of the studies; extracting the data; analyzing and synthesizing the results; and reporting on the findings.

Typically, systematic reviews will include published studies from electronic databases, as well as unpublished research and what’s commonly known as ‘grey literature,’ which are non-commercially published works like government reports, conference presentations and industry whitepapers. Sorting through the vast plethora of studies that are found during the search phase of a systematic review can be a daunting task. Not surprisingly, this type of review is time intensive, sometimes taking up to 18 months or longer to complete. Covidence can help speed up the process by streamlining citation screening, full-text review, risk of bias assessments, quality appraisal and data extraction. The software can also be useful in other types of comprehensive literature reviews, such as scoping reviews.

Screenshot of Covidence title and abstract screening page.

The systematic review methodology first started appearing in medical research publications during the 1970s and 1980s, gaining popularity into the 1990s as use became widespread across the health sciences. Since then, the methodology has found a place in many other fields including education, social sciences, psychology, forestry, engineering and more.

In the midst of the current COVID-19 situation, many research projects are being put on hold or delayed as UBC labs remain closed and fieldwork is not possible because of the need for physical distancing. “Researchers in healthcare are now focussing on systematic reviews or other knowledge synthesis projects,” notes Charlotte Beck, Reference Librarian at UBC’s Woodward Library and an administrator for UBC Library’s Covidence account. Beck says students who were set to embark on practica are bringing their Capstone projects forward this summer and revising their research topics accordingly. With this new tool available to all UBC faculty, staff and students, the review process can not only be accelerated, but the overall experience can be improved, particularly for users undertaking their very first review.

Get started by connecting to Covidence, or visit the library website for more information.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to advance research, learning and scholarship.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.

 

As the UBC community transitions online courses and a period of remote work due to the COVID-19 situation, UBC librarians and library staff have been working to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are getting the support they need to continue their research, teaching and learning while physical locations are closed.

Increase in demand for support from subject librarians

UBC subject librarians, who are available via email and for online consultations, have seen an increase in demand for support. For Bianca Chui, a UBC History honours student in her third year, Japanese Studies Librarian, Tomoko Kitayama Yen was particularly helpful in helping to find resources for research, “Librarians are like wizards in finding information – I was struggling to do research on a project and Tomoko was so helpful in helping me to comb one of the databases. Librarians have also helped answer my questions about returning books during this time and about resources available for streaming through the AskAway chat app and I am very grateful to them for their help.”

Librarians supporting students, faculty and staff in the Medical and Allied Health Sciences are seeing an increase in demand for their expertise as researchers move away from lab or practice-based research to systematic and literature reviews. Librarians are also working to provide asynchronous and synchronous lectures to support research courses which have been moved ahead in the academic year.

Providing timely support to make course materials available online

As courses transition online, the library is providing support in making course materials available through the Library Online Course Reserves system, which is integrated with Canvas, ensuring appropriate copyright considerations and licensing permissions.

Dr. Kim Snowden, Instructor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice utilized library support while transitioning her classes online. “I had to scramble to find readings that would normally be found in a course pack and to find online media to stream. The library has been so fast in helping me get those materials online and providing guidance about what I can do in terms of copyright, which can be a minefield.” Dr. Snowden is also exploring alternative Open Access options for course materials, “Erin Fields (Liaison Librarian and Flexible Learning Coordinator) has helped me to think a little differently about accessibility and pivoting into blended learning in my classes.  The support has been enormously helpful and I don’t think I could function without the upkeep that is happening behind the scenes at the library to ensure everything runs smoothly.”

Transitioning to online programming

Both the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication and the Research Commons are now offering online programming, from one-on-one consultations to workshops and webinars. “We are seeing a huge surge in attendance in our online workshops,” says Eugene Barsky, Head, Research Commons. “We have gone from an average of about 10 attendees per workshop to about 60.” UBC students and researchers can take advantage of workshops on developing foundational digital and computer literacy skills to mastering Data Analysis and management software tools.

The Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication continues to offer online one-on-one writing consultations and workshops and has launched two new online writing communities to help mitigate social isolation and help the UBC community stay motivated and connected. Every week, students, researchers and faculty gather for a few hours to write alone—together.

Increase in demand for web archiving and deposits into cIRcle

As information on the COVID-19 situation floods our online environment, librarians in Digital Initiatives are working with researchers to identify sources of web content that are important to retain for research purposes. This includes health, news, and policy information for communities throughout British Columbia as well as information specific to the UBC community.

There has also been a significant increase in requests to deposit material into cIRcle, UBC’s digital repository for research and teaching materials. For, Dr. Benjamin Cheung a Lecturer at UBC’s Department of Psychology and faculty supervisor to the Psychology Student Association’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, cIRcle has allowed him to help students showcase their research during this unprecedented time. “PURC is a major annual event and features the work of almost 100 students,” he explains, “We’re immensely proud of all the work they have done and wanted to find a way to showcase it. Many of them are applying for grad school and so cancelling the physical conference meant that some presenters were concerned about its implications for listing the event on their CV.” 

Cheung reached out to his subject librarian Sheryl Adams and connected with Tara Stephen-Kyte, Digital Repository Librarian who facilitated the depositing into cIRcle. “Making the research available through cIRcle means that it has a DOI (Digital object identifier) and this allows students to include it on a CV so that adjudicators are able to access and evaluate it,” says Chung who plans to incorporate this as part of PURC moving forward, “Without Sheryl and Tara’s guidance, there is no way I or the PSA would have figured this out on our own.”

Working to supplement the library’s robust electronic collections

While physical branches are temporarily closed, making the print collection inaccessible, the library is working to source electronic versions of print materials for teaching and research to supplement its already robust e-collections. “We have been moving towards an e-preferred model for ebooks since 2015 and have been at the forefront in finding workable solutions with publishers,” says Ellen George, Humanities and Social Sciences/Collections (Monographs) and Acquisitions Librarian. “We purchase large e-book packages from some publishers and with others use an Evidence-Based Acquisitions (EBA) demand or patron driven acquisition model which provides access to a deep collection of content and allows us to purchase e-books based on usage data.” The EBA model also enables libraries more control over and knowledge of anticipated costs. “This approach helps us better forecast and plan our budgets,” says Kat McGrath, Renewals & Collections Librarian, “It has also helped us maintain a balance between acquiring e-journals and monographs so that our collections are balanced and cross-disciplinary.”

“The Library has already been investing for some time in many of the tools, resources and services that are helping support the transition to online teaching and learning,” says Dr. Susan E. Parker, University Librarian, “The past weeks have demonstrated how university libraries are prepared to flex in order to support student, faculty and staff in their work during this challenging time.”

Get the latest updates about UBC Library services and spaces.

We are a globally influential research library, leading and partnering with the University and communities in the creation, stewardship, exploration and discovery of knowledge.

To learn more about our Strategic Framework, click here.

The UBC Library Research Commons has launched Geodisy, an open-source tool that allows users to search online for Canadian research data through map-based discovery. After UBC Library was named the successful recipient for the Research Data Management (RDM) funding call from CANARIE in November 2018, the team at the Research Commons worked in collaboration with partners at UBC Advanced Research Computing (ARC), McMaster University, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, Scholars Portal, University of Saskatchewan, and Portage Network to create a more robust version of their originally proposed federated geospatial data discovery tool.

The resulting software is an innovative solution to a unique problem faced by researchers across disciplines. “There is an increasing demand for geographic components in research, but most repositories allow for only text-based searching. We realized that discovery could be improved by providing a map-based search alternative,” says Mark Goodwin, Geospatial Metadata Coordinator at the Research Commons and core member of the Geodisy team.

“Visualizing data is being recognized as a powerful form of discovery. While map-based search portals are becoming common, most are focused on a particular domain or subject area. Geodisy is intended to be useful to a wide variety of users in different subject areas, including climate change, public health, community development, conservation, or any other research area that is tied to geographic location,” says Eugene Barsky, Principal Investigator for Geodisy and Head of the Research Commons.

Answering more complex research questions in a fraction of the time

As a current doctoral student in the UBC Faculty of Forestry, Ira Sutherland has already found Geodisy helpful in his work, which uses GIS and historical analysis to investigate critical sustainability questions. His research focuses on how the historical management of environments in British Columbia have contributed to problems seen today, like wildfires, collapsing salmon stocks and the depletion of First Nations cultural resources. “Compiling large amounts of historical spatial data, as I do, would not be possible without tools like Geodisy and open data initiatives,” says Sutherland. “With increased data availability, researchers like me will be able to answer more complex questions concerning sustainability and do it in a fraction of the time.”

Screenshot of Geodisy results page.

With Geodisy, users can simply adjust the map or draw a box directly it to bring up relevant records in an area of interest. Currently, Geodisy users have access to content from Scholars Portal Dataverse, a publicly accessible data repository platform, which houses data from dozens of Canadian institutions. Thanks to additional funding from Canada’s New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO), the Research Commons will be working with the team at the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) to expand Geodisy’s content and further integrate it with the FRDR national discovery service.

“This impressive tool is an example of one of the many ways UBC Library and academic libraries in general are playing a critical role in the development of a national digital research infrastructure ecosystem,” says Dr. Susan E. Parker, University Librarian. “Through our work with bodies like the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) and The Portage Network, the library and the expertise we offer is making a deep impact in the Canadian post-secondary research landscape.”

Get started using Geodisy by visiting geo.frdr.ca or download the software from UBC Library GitHub. You can also learn more about the benefits of Geodisy through an upcoming webinar, hosted by Portage Network. Register now for “Introduction to Geodisy an Open-source Spatial Discovery Platform” on May 5, 2020, at 10 a.m. (PDT).

_

The UBC Library Research Commons is a multidisciplinary hub that supports research endeavours and provides training in research-enabling skills. We embrace both new and traditional exploratory scholarship and provide services, software, and expertise. Our services include expertise in digital scholarship, including geospatial and data services; welcoming space for projects and presentations; digital Scholarship Lab with powerful computers, for research, experimentation, collaboration, and work with big data; and consultations and workshops for UBC researchers.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to advance research, learning and scholarship.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.

Public Knowledge Project

 

UBC Library is playing a pivotal role in improving the quality and reach of scholarly publishing, serving as one of six development partners in the Public Knowledge Project, a not-for-profit multi-university initiative that develops (free) open source software and services to make open access a viable option for journals.

Founded in 1998 and currently based out of Simon Fraser University, the Public Knowledge Project is perhaps best known for its Open Journal Systems (OJS) software, currently used to publish over 10,000 open access journals around the world. The free journal management and publishing system assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. The project is supported by a group of librarians, scholars and developers in various capacities at a number of universities worldwide. 

“We feel the work PKP does is so important, that it is worth investing both our money and our time,” says Bronwen Sprout, Head, Digital Programs and Services at UBC Library who serves as PKP Preservation Network (PKP PN) Coordinator, providing guidance and leadership relating to PKP’s digital preservation service for OJS journals. The PKP Preservation Network is a critical complement to the OJS software that works with a network of partners to create a “dark archive” of journals distributed across the globe. In order to ensure that journals preserved in the network are available to the reading public long after their original website is gone, a network of eight partners stores identical copies of each issue, mitigating against loss from natural disaster or human activity.

A critical platform in open scholarly communications infrastructure.

In addition to OJS, PKP develops Open Monograph Press, a management system for peer-reviewed scholarly monographs, the Open Conference system, a free online publishing tool that allows researchers to host conference websites, manage submissions and post conference proceedings, and Open Harvester Systems, a free metadata system that allows researchers to create searchable online databases. PKP also supports research that explores broader areas of scholarly communications and training services to help new publishers build their skills and knowledge in the PKP software.

Allan Bell, Associate University Librarian, Digital programs and services at UBC Library, chairs the PKP Advisory Committee, which oversees the project’s finances and strategic directions. “What started out as a small research project at UBC has grown into one of the most important platforms in the international, open scholarly communications infrastructure.  As a non-profit, university based academic-led project, PKP needs to demonstrate that it operates efficiently, effectively and responsibly, and the Advisory Committee ensures that happens.”

The Public Knowledge Project was most recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award, part of the Open Publishing Awards at #Force2019.

Learn more about the Public Knowledge Project.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to advance research, learning and scholarship.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.

UBC Library’s annual Senate Report (2018/19) is now available. Read our highlights from the past fiscal year which include advancing research, learning and scholarship, engaging with communities, creating and delivering responsive collections, inspiring with innovative spaces and services, and stewarding the organization.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet