Tag Archives: Scholarly Communication

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.

Ames Library Joins Scholarly Publishing Grant Project

IMLS logo

Illinois Wesleyan University is one of 12 partner libraries, including the Claremont Colleges, University of Alberta, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, and others, joining the Library Publishing Coalition and the Educopia Institute to explore best practice in scholarly journal publishing as part of library publishing programs.

IMLS logo

The Ames Library has long been a leader in exploring the potential for academic libraries to serve as a platform for open access scholarly publishing, primarily through the use of our Digital Commons repository to provide access to a wide range of scholarly and creative works produced by IWU students, faculty and staff, including undergraduate research journals. By participating in this project, funded through a US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grant, IWU will contribute to a critical discussion of workflow practices, scalability, and sustainability for open access library publishing services, including those designed to extend the reach and impact of undergraduate research programs in liberal arts colleges.

In the contemporary information environment, students must learn not only how to discover, access, and evaluate the work of others, but also about their own opportunities (and responsibilities) as content creators. Ames Library faculty collaborate with colleagues across the university to find opportunities to integrate scholarly communications education with information literacy instruction as part of teaching, learning, and scholarship in all fields.

Illinois Wesleyan University is an Initial Contributing Member of the Library Publishing Coalition, and Digital Commons has become an integral component of undergraduate research programs at the university, including the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference (with contributed posters available here). Scholarly and creative works published through Digital Commons have been downloaded by users around the world over 350,000 times in the past year alone. If you would like to know more about open access initiatives and scholarly communications education at Illinois Wesleyan, or would like to discuss opportunities to publish your work through Digital Commons, please contact Stephanie Davis-Kahl, Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian.