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ScholarWorks offers access to campus expertise

January 26, 2016

ScholarWorks defined

ScholarWorks is making the thoughts, ideas and achievements of IUPUI faculty, staff and students within reach of scholars and community leaders locally and around the world. | COURTESY OF CENTER FOR DIGITAL SCHOLARSHIP

Putting scholarship to work on the IUPUI campus is an important function for University Library, but according to University Dean David Lewis, it's just step one in an open-access process in which he takes pride.

ScholarWorks is another vital tool in IUPUI's efforts to ensure faculty, staff and students that their work will make a difference in their professional and personal lives, a process that Lewis and the library experts consider part of their responsibility. "Our goal is to support the scholarship done on campus by faculty and students, and ScholarWorks is one of the major ways we do it," Lewis said.

University Library access

University Library is the home of IUPUI's open-access efforts, including ScholarWorks. | PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

The ScholarWorks repository makes library expertise readily available to IUPUI authors that want to share their published and unpublished works with a large reading audience. Librarians help them upload works to the repository, helping users benefit from reliable metadata practices, stable hyperlinks, preservation plans and increased exposure.

"Even on items available from multiple websites, the IUPUI ScholarWorks version is often at the top of the results in common search engines," Lewis said. The repository provides free access to nearly 7,000 items submitted by faculty, staff and students.

"Although some items in the repository are embargoed for a brief time, all works are expected to become available to any reader with Internet access," Lewis noted. That’s a vital role for a public institution, he added. "Indiana teachers, employers and scholars benefit from free access to works created by the IUPUI community, and readers from around the world discover, use and cite items that they found on ScholarWorks."

The site annually receives visitors from every Indiana county and more than 190 countries. It averages 68,000 downloads per month, testimony to the repository's reputation.

"For faculty and student authors, this exposure to their works increases their prestige as scholars," he added, noting that ScholarWorks also includes theses and dissertations.

The repository was launched in 2003 by another name, IUPUI Digital Archive. It predates Indiana University's statewide preservation efforts, but preservation has always been a leading reason for faculty, staff and student participation, Lewis said: "It is a great way for authors to ensure that their works will be available on a stable site long after other websites succumb to corporate buyouts, link rot and neglect."

While university preservation efforts are constantly being updated and refined, ScholarWorks items are backed up in a variety of places and are more secure than items on an individual's computer, the dean noted.

The library's Center for Digital Scholarship leads the ScholarWorks service, and Lewis calls ScholarWorks one of several efforts to support open access to scholarship for the campus and community.

The Center for Digital Scholarship also manages IUPUI’s Open Access Policy, an open-access journal-publishing service, an open-access publishing fund and a research data-sharing service, Lewis said. The center has become known for its community support as well, creating open-access digital libraries for Indianapolis community organizations.

Lewis expects ScholarWorks to continue its growth and influence through open access to IUPUI expertise.

"Submissions have increased rapidly since October 2014, when the campus faculty adopted an open-access policy," he said. "It gives open access to dissertations and master’s theses written by our students, and more than 1,000 articles published in scholarly journals and conference proceedings."

Note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting IUPUI's Strategic Plan initiatives.

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