Tag Archives: Digital Commons

Bringing IWU Scholarship to the World

As we have become ever more dependent on access to digital scholarship during the coronavirus pandemic, it is worth celebrating the long-time commitment that the Ames Library has shown to promoting open access to the scholarly and creative work completed by Illinois Wesleyan’s students and faculty, especially through our institutional repository, Digital Commons.

Launched in 2008, Digital Commons provides open access to scholarly and creative work produced by members of the IWU community, including journal articles, book chapters, conference presentations, undergraduate honors research, undergraduate research journals, and records of the university.  On May 27, 2020, we recorded the 4,000,000th download of IWU content from Digital Commons, for an average of more than 333,000 downloads by users around the world each year. This is an extraordinary achievement for a small liberal arts college, and evidence of the global impact of the research conducted each year by members of the IWU community.

The 4,000,000th download, Adnan Filipovic’s “Impact of Privatization on Economic Growth” (2006), is a study of “the relationship between growth and privatization from an incentives perspective,” and has been downloaded more than 7,000 times since 2008. The article was originally published in IWU’s Undergraduate Economic Review, an open-access, peer-reviewed, undergraduate research journal. While many IWU undergraduate research journals feature the work of our own students, the UER features the work of students from around the world, and is peer-reviewed and edited by IWU students under the faculty mentorship of Professor Michael Seeborg (Economics) and Professor Stephanie Davis-Kahl (The Ames Library). IWU students also have the opportunity to publish their own research through the Park Place Economist, another open-access undergraduate research journal available through Digital Commons. On the role that publishing opportunities such as these play in undergraduate education at IWU, Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee Chair Todd Fuist (Sociology) said: “We pride ourselves on providing the kind of innovative and transformative research experiences for students that help them grow their skills and build their credentials. This milestone is illustrative of the caliber of work we help to guide students through as they conduct research at IWU.”

The 4,000,000th download was to a Digital Commons user from the University of Cambridge in England. On the importance of open access to scholarly work in Economics, Professor Seeborg said: “Open access publishing is a significant part of the economics program. We incentivize quality undergraduate research by allowing students to participate in the editorial process and submit their papers for publication …. I firmly believe that the best way to learn economics is to do economics. Our partnership with the Ames Library, and Digital Commons, promotes an active learning environment and is very important to the economics program.”

The Undergraduate Economic Review, and other undergraduate research journals, are available through Digital Commons. If you would like to learn more about open-access initiatives or library publishing, please contact Stephanie Davis-Kahl, Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Best Gateway Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the annual Best Gateway Essay Contest, Aaron Manuel, Kalen Gray, and Haley Steward!

Each year, Gateway instructors are invited to nominate up to three student essays from their Gateway sections. The papers submitted by students for the contest were evaluated first by teams of Writing Center tutors. The Writing Committee then reviewed these and selected a winner and two runners-up. The winner will receive $150, and the runners-up will receive $75 each. Associate Dean of Curricular and Faculty Development Kevin Sullivan provides the funds for these awards.

The 2016-17 Winners are:
Winner: Aaron Manuel, for his essay, “Goldman’s Paradox: Imperfect Perfection,” nominated by Prof. Mark Criley from his Gateway section, “Punishment.”

Runner-up: Kalen Gray, for his essay, “The New Face of Civil Revolution,” nominated by Prof. Nawaraj Chaulagain from his Gateway section, “Peace and War.”

Runner-up: Haley Steward, for her essay, “Mary Tyler Moore and her role in the feminist movement,” nominated by Prof. Jim Plath from his Gateway section, “Sitcoms and Society.”

Source: https://www.iwu.edu/news/2018/gateway-essay-winners.html

The winning essays are now available and free to download through the Digital Commons @ IWU. We encourage you to take some time out to read them!

Student Scholarship at IWU Earns Millions of Downloads!

You may have noticed a headline in the October 23rd Campus Weekly reading “Digital Commons @ IWU Exceeds 3 Million Downloads.” Digital Commons is Illinois Wesleyan University’s institutional repository, and it is here that students can deposit faculty- or peer-reviewed research. Additionally, Digital Commons also contains selected works from faculty, staff, and university departments, offices, and programs.

So what kinds of materials are available for download through Digital Commons?

“Student work deemed outstanding will be included in DC@IWU. These include honors theses, work presented at the John Wesley Powell Undergraduate Research Conference, works published in peer-reviewed IWU student journals and outstanding creative works as determined by faculty in a sponsoring department. Acceptable formats include text, images, video and audio files.”


“The DC@IWU accepts a wide range of materials including text, images, video and audio files. Examples of content include, but are not limited to:

  • Articles, pre-prints and post-prints (distribution rights permitting; please see SHERPA/RoMEO for more information
  • Book chapters (distribution rights permitting; please contact publisher for permission. Templates with suggested language for communicating with publishers are available for your convenience.)
  • Audio files
  • Conference papers
  • Dance performances
  • Datasets
  • Faculty course related output
  • Musical scores and composition recordings
  • Poetry and creative writing
  • University produced journals
  • Video files”


Student work has comprised much of the 3 million downloads between 2008 and 2017. If you’re interested in making your own research available through Digital Commons, you can find the guidelines for submission here.

A live map of the downloads in real time is located at the bottom of the Digital Commons homepage: http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/. In the past week alone, users from places as far-flung as India, China, Africa, Finland, and Australia have downloaded IWU student research!

Read more about the 3-million download milestone here: https://www.iwu.edu/news/2017/digital-commons-at-iwu-exceeds-3-million-downloads.html