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Open Access Week Ideas from the Digital Commons Community

September 29, 2015

Are you still brainstorming ways to celebrate Open Access Week this October 19-25th? The Digital Commons community has set the bar pretty high in recent years, which means you have some great ideas to inspire you. The following examples show what a fantastic opportunity this annual event is to educate faculty, students and staff about ongoing scholarly communication initiatives and to highlight IR services that help promote sustainable scholarly communication.

Brianne Hagen explained their hands-on approach at Hope College where they had “an ‘Open Access Sit-in’ where faculty were invited to drop by with their scholarship and deposit it into the repository. Librarians were available to answer copyright questions and troubleshoot technical queries. We also provided food and OA swag with a prize for the department with the most deposits.”

The UMass library highlighted the key role that students play as advocates for OA. Peter Suber gave a powerful keynote address to round out a series of great events you can revisit on the IR, including talks on Open Educational Resources.

Cleveland State University held a joint conference in Ohio with Wright State in 2014, and the talks are available for you to see in each respective IR, such as here in WSU. Caroline Whitacre’s SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem) Keynote including streaming media is available in WSU’s CORE Scholar. We love the event’s motto from Cleveland State University: “If You Love Your Scholarship, Set It Free: Embracing Open Access at CSU.”

And, for a sweet finish, we can’t leave out the amazing OA logo cookies Janelle Wertzberger of Gettysburg College made with a cookie cutter printed on their 3D printer after Chip Wolfe at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University made an STL file for them. Janelle spearheaded OA Week talks and festivities including “Did I sign my rights away? Copyright for authors.”

We can’t wait to hear what you come up with for your Open Access Week celebration. Send us a note at and let us know how it goes!

Get Ready for Fall 2015 Webinars!

September 16, 2015

To kick off the new school year, we’d like to share our fall bepress Digital Commons 2015 line up of free webinars, covering topics from OER initiatives and supporting data to new trends in faculty scholarship. Libraries are constantly facing new challenges in serving their campuses; this series of webinars is designed to give you the knowledge and tools to proactively address these changing needs. Librarians using Digital Commons will share how they’ve utilized their repository initiatives to position the library as the solution to some of the most pressing needs in academia today.

To register, please click on the registration links below. For more information and for other upcoming events, please see our event calendar at If you have questions, please contact us at


Webinar: New Directions in Faculty Work and the Key Role of the Library

Date/time: 9/24/2015, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern

Register here:


Webinar: The Modern Repository: Aligning the Library with the University Mission

Date/time: 10/20/2015, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern

Register here:


Webinar: Inside an Open Educational Resource Initiative: PDX Open at Portland State University

Date/time: 11/5/2015, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern

Register here:


Webinar: Closing the Gaps in Faculty Services: Repository Innovations at EIU

Date/time: 12/3/2015, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern

Register here:


Webinar: Demystifying Data:  Five Easy Steps to Get Your Data Program Started Now

Date/time: 12/10/2015, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern

Register here:

If  you are unable to attend any of these, please contact and we’d be happy to follow up with a recording.  We hope you can join us!

Starting a Repository: Best Practices from Your Peers

September 10, 2015

The Google Group recently had a very productive thread and we’ve culled key suggestions from your peers to answer the critical question: “What do you wish you had known when you started your repository?”

Scott Frey at Western State College of Law began this fruitful query, and Paul Blobaum from Governors State University immediately answered with:

  •   Batch upload and batch revision.
  •   Uploading files stored in GoogleDrive. You can generate URLs in GoogleDocs spreadsheets with a script for batch uploading. Works like a charm.

Chip Wolfe at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University suggested:

  • Use the “bucket system” so that “all faculty submissions would go into the same ‘bucket’ regardless of their department”—this will help if you need to move things around later. “I would suggest discussing it with your rep from the very beginning.”

Carolyn Runyon at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga agreed:

  • I second the “bucket” idea. We corral our ETDs into a single series. It makes everything much easier for our submitters and we don’t have the problem of having empty series awaiting content. It’s also much easier to make batch updates since I can download the metadata in a single spreadsheet.

Emily Stenberg of Washington University in St. Louis qualified this suggestion:

  • We moved away from a bucket series for our ETDs to separate series for each College because the submission requirements and processes were just different enough. We collect into a larger bucket. I do agree about department name changes. This is also something to keep in mind when naming series and communities — don’t create more than you need (we had a bunch of named but empty series) and think about a naming convention to follow in the future that takes into account types of collections and not just department names.

Finally, Kim Myers of The College at Brockport (SUNY) added:

  • It is important to thoroughly understand the structure of your institution as it applies to graduate students. Our situation is exactly what Emily describes, so theses are uploaded to individual collections and then collected into the bucket series. Something that falls under “I am glad we went this way” … was our decision to grow our repository structure organically. We really wanted to avoid the “drill down to an empty series syndrome” that is common when you create your hierarchy in advance. My one “I wish” would be to have had policies in place from the beginning.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on “Starting a Repository: Rich Resources Available for You” on the DC Telegraph!

IR Publishing Program Gives DePaul University a Competitive Advantage

September 1, 2015

Why, in these hard economic times, would a primarily teaching-focused institution like DePaul University choose to invest resources in a robust publishing program? DePaul is finding that a publishing program can better support the university’s mission of student engagement and recruitment, faculty promotion and support, and help amplify the impact of DePaul-based publications—all offering DePaul a “competitive advantage.” At the helm of this initiative is Scott Walter, University Librarian at DePaul, who is actively extending the reach of their IR, Via Sapientiae, beyond ETDs to journals such as the DePaul Law Review and publications that previously existed only in print such as the Teaching with Primary Sources Program.

As Scott puts it,

“The institutional capacity to support publishing, and, to varying degrees open-access, digital publishing is being seen as a “competitive advantage” that we’ve added to the DePaul portfolio and that DePaul sees as valuable in the challenging market for students and faculty in Chicago. In addition, knowing what we do about the value of “student engagement” for the core concerns about recruitment, retention, and persistence to graduation, having another library tool in the mix that contributes to that “engagement” goal is seen by all as a benefit.”

Scott speaks eloquently to the ABC’s of enhancing the profile and competitiveness of a primarily teaching-focused institution, below.

How can a library publishing program help to meet traditional goals?

Scott: “DePaul has supported a number of departmental publications for years, and these have long been seen as a key component of the undergraduate and graduate education programs. A library publishing program helps to meet these traditional commitments more effectively by enhancing discoverability, extending range, providing tools for measuring impact, and ensuring a more consistent approach to preservation (or ‘durable access’).”

How can the IR promote student engagement and thus retention?

Scott: “DePaul recognizes that undergraduate research opportunities represent a ‘high-impact practice’ in terms of student engagement (a key component of retention and academic success) and the opportunity to have one’s work published is seen by students as a valuable addition to their online portfolio and presence, thus seen as a benefit to marketability, etc.”

How might a publishing program engage and recruit faculty?

Scott: “From the faculty point of view, access to a library publishing program provides an opportunity for faculty members or a department/school to have access to a marker of academic distinction that might have been more difficult to achieve in the past, whether this is support for launching a new journal or demonstration that the university can be a viable home for an existing journal, e.g., a society publication. In both cases, these are “quality markers” for faculty and access to a type of institutional support that might help recruit faculty just as access to a digital undergraduate research publication program might help to recruit students.”

A press release touting DePaul’s strong publishing initiative says it well:

“For those already digging through mounds of paperwork wondering where their latest work, dissertation, and journal ran off to, do not fear.  DePaul has an institutional repository for that …. [The IR] collects, organizes and provides open access to scholarly works produced by DePaul’s faculty, staff, students, centers and institutes.”

We hope that this interview with Scott will help inform and inspire our Digital Commons Community. Get in touch with your bepress Consultant to find out how you can publish a wide variety of materials in your IR.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Faculty’s SelectedWorks Profiles

August 25, 2015

We’ve already introduced you to SelectedWorks’s smooth new integration with DC, including full metadata migration from DC to SW. Now we have even more good news! Admins will be able to control and curate author profiles with greater ease and systemic support, so you can keep your eye on all SelectedWorks profiles at a glance.

The enhanced integration with Digital Commons includes two-way activity notifications between SelectedWorks authors and Digital Commons administrators.  The new Administrator Notification Center features live updates on new papers and profile changes. Admins will receive notifications when an author adds new work, removes work, edits work, creates a profile with the institution, or edits their profile.

The improved SelectedWorks will save you time as well. Automatically updated in-line editing will streamline your workflow as you polish various profiles. And, you’ll be able to navigate easily between sections using dynamic and responsive pages.

Stay tuned for more blogs this summer detailing the upcoming changes to SelectedWorks, including a sleek new design, support for multimedia files, and improved integration with DC.


Announcing the Teaching Commons: A Portal for Open Educational Resources

August 20, 2015

Bepress is thrilled to announce the Teaching Commons, a new discovery portal of open educational resources. This portal includes everything from open access textbooks, syllabi, course sites, videos of lectures, and even K-12 curricula! We hope this resource will directly support your conversations around OER.

It’s clear that educators are looking for new ways to publish, share, and author these materials. Driving factors include rising textbook costs and the desire to explore digital innovation in the classroom. The Teaching Commons is an outlet for faculty who are producing materials as well as for those readers who are looking to adapt materials created by others.

One of the biggest barriers to using open educational resources is the difficulty in locating high quality content. Curated by librarians from schools across the Digital Commons community, we hope the portal will address this challenge by making it easy to create, discover and share teaching materials.

The Teaching Commons includes everything from MOOCs and images to teaching tools such as videos—take a look at this database of Mineral Samples featuring a 3D video collection from the University of Dayton and the Biochemistry Lecture Videos from Utah State University. And, of course, textbooks are a great fit for Digital Commons repositories; this interactive itext on Cell and Molecular Biology from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee is just one example.

For more in-depth research on OER and strategies for faculty engagement, see the recent bepress webinar “Expanding the Classroom with Open Educational Resources.” Danielle Maestretti and Michelle Barron-Lutzross of bepress Consulting Services discuss ways to integrate OER into the institutional repository, a strategy that allows libraries to play a pivotal role in the success of OER on campus.

We’ve found a majority of the educational materials out there, but if you have items that you think would be a great fit, let us know and we’ll make sure they get considered for inclusion. This is a new endeavor, so we are eager to hear your feedback at!


Celebrating the Digital Commons Community! ‘It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3—As Simple as Do Re Mi…’

August 11, 2015

We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the Digital Commons Community in the DC Telegraph, and today we have important milestones to announce. The bepress Digital Commons Community is now at one thousand journals, two million submissions, and three hundred million downloads—“easy” as 1, 2, 3! Yet we are aware of all the hard work that went into creating these numbers and we salute you all!

As a tantalizing sliver of your DC Community’s impact on the scholarly communications world, below you’ll find the top six downloads of all time based on publication series across all Digital Commons repositories. They are:

  • The Faculty Scholarship Series from the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School Legal Scholarship (eYLS) Repository, winner of the American Association of Law Libraries Innovation in Technology Award, 2013. The series offers a bustling real-time Readership Map on its home page. 3,605,460 downloads
  • Graduate Theses and Dissertations at the University of South Florida, collected though the office of graduate studies and housed in USF’s IR, ScholarCommons. Readers can scroll through the entire collection by year or browse by college. 3,402,642 downloads
  • The Fordham Law Review is published in Fordham’s IR, the Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History (FLASH). According to the site, FLR “explores significant legal issues and examines challenging questions in the law. The Fordham Law Review is the ninth most cited student-edited journal in terms of court cases and the fifth most cited journal in terms of citations by other law journals.” The site offers an open access archive of the Fordham Law Review’s published content.   3,241,829 downloads
  • The Nebraska Tractor Tests series in DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska explains that “The mission of the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum is to collect, preserve, research and interpret the traditions and technologies of agriculture. The museum is housed in the original Nebraska Tractor Test facility on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln….Mr. Larsen (1908-2000) was instrumental in initiating the collection of historic tractor test equipment, as well as acquiring tractors that illustrate key developments in agricultural machinery over the decades.” 2,937,907 downloads
  • Theses and Dissertations in the University of Iowa’s IR, Iowa Research Online. This collection boasts a real-time Readership Map and states that there is now mandatory electronic submission of ETDs to the IR. 2,802,294 downloads
  • The Faculty Scholarship series from the Duke Law Scholarship Repository at Duke Law, where you can browse by year or search term. The Law School’s Faculty Scholarship series was launched in 2005 to maximize open access to the scholarly works of Duke Law faculty and affiliates. 2,553,825 downloads

Congratulations to the entire Digital Commons Community for your thriving scholarly contributions!


Development Sneak Preview: Readership Maps for Every Author!

August 4, 2015

The most popular enhancement to Digital Commons in years has been the addition of the Readership Activity Maps. They provide a quick and engaging way to see the global impact of a collection. Now we’re giving that insight to authors with a newly redesigned author dashboard. Authors will be able to use the map to explore where their works are being read.

author dash map

But the map is just part of the story. In anticipation of the new SelectedWorks upgrade scheduled for this fall, we’ve given the dashboard a complete overhaul with new, easy-to-read graphs, an export feature, and entirely new ways to explore the readership of your work. All of this will be included in the next release coming later this summer, so stay tuned for announcements with more details about these and other upcoming features.

Questions or comments? Contact us at!

Congratulations to the 2015 IR All-Stars!

July 28, 2015

We hope you will be as inspired as we are by the creativity and resourcefulness of our 2015 IR All-Stars! Together they offer helpful resources, educational presentations, and plenty of ideas ripe for the picking. Check out their individual stories in the linked blogs below: each admin exemplifies outstanding success in a particular slice of managing an IR.

We whole-heartedly congratulate them and our entire Digital Commons community on the hard work and ingenuity we are privileged to see day in and day out—well done all!

2015 IR All-Star: Janelle Wertzberger, Gettysburg College

July 23, 2015

janelle cropJanelle Wertzberger, Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications at Gettysburg College, is an IR All-Star because of her great success building a thriving repository on her small liberal arts campus. Under Janelle’s direction, The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College has become a space for Gettysburg to showcase exemplary student content. In addition to her efforts with undergraduate work, Janelle passionately educates faculty about copyright and open access, working to grow Gettysburg’s publishing program.

With Janelle’s leadership Gettysburg has been able to successfully publish a wide range of student work, including special projects, posters, audio & video work, artwork, and student journals. Bali Soundscapes is a particularly vibrant and unique example of Gettysburg’s undergraduate content: the collection compiles written reflections, audio essays, and images produced by students participating in a Balinese study abroad program. Another example of The Cupola’s diverse student content is Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African American Artifacts of the Civil War Era, in which special collections serve as a robust pedagogical tool. Janelle has also helped establish a rich collection of undergraduate journals in support of opportunities for students to publish.

Janelle’s leadership and success is largely rooted in her relationship with faculty, for whom she has provided several educational presentations, teaching them about copyright and IRs. She first delivered the presentation “Did I Sign My Rights Away? Copyright for Authors” during a 2014 Open Access week event she helped coordinate. Janelle is particularly proud of this opportunity to educate faculty and students around open access topics. Getting creative with the event, Janelle even made OA logo cookies with a cookie cutter that was created using Gettysburg’s 3D printer!

Janelle has also produced a number of publications and presentations outlining what it’s taken to build Gettysburg’s thriving repository. “Staffing a Library Publishing Program: The Whos, Hows, and Whens describes how to use existing staff resources to create a powerful publishing program and is a valuable resource for any fledgling repository. Janelle’s Digital Commons webinar “On with the Show! Open Access Publishing as a Local Production” suggests that a successful institutional repository manager at a smaller institution has to be something of an evangelist: someone who has a vision for the services the IR can provide and a gift for telling that story in a way that connects with faculty, administration, researchers—and also fellow librarians.

You can read more about Janelle and her contributions to the scholarly communications community on her SelectedWorks profile. Congratulations, Janelle!


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