October 18, 2010

OpenSIUC reaches milestone with downloads

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- With users from all over the world, OpenSIUC hit the 100,000 mark recently and the downloads from the popular Southern Illinois University Carbondale institutional repository just keep adding up.

OpenSIUC is essentially an online collection of scholarly materials that faculty and students produce. It hosts published and unpublished material including journal articles, conference papers and proceedings, technical reports, working papers, posters, videos, audios, data sets, theses and dissertations, honors theses, REACH posters and much more.

“If not for OpenSIUC, much of the material would be hidden or only available to a limited audience, restricted to paying subscribers -- in the case of journal articles, or to those physically close to the University for thesis and dissertations, for example,” said Jonathan Nabe, coordinator of OpenSIUC for Library Affairs. “By placing the content in OpenSIUC, where it is freely available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection, the visibility and reach of the research produced at SIUC vastly expands.”

The most popular downloads of the repository that began in September 2008 are a diverse mixture of subject matter and content. Among the documents most frequently downloaded are automotive technology presentations, an honor’s thesis about Nazi medical experimentation, ethnobotanical studies of Indian plants and electrical engineering articles about sensor technology, according to Nabe. More than 1,000 of the 3,400 documents currently featured within OpenSIUC have logged at least 20 downloads.

Moreover, you’ll find OpenSIUC users the world over, with content downloaded in Argentina, Zimbabwe and countless countries in between. Anyone can access the site and the content by visiting http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu.

The publication of journals is one area where OpenSIUC is particularly seeing growth, Nabe said. OpenSIUC features a full suite of journal publishing tools and the repository now hosts seven journals that SIUC faculty or students produce. The most recent addition to the OpenSIUC repertoire is the “Psychological Record,” a journal dating to 1937 with B.F. Skinner as one of its first editors. SIUC currently edits the publication and OpenSIUC publishes the online version.

The Faculty Senate and the Graduate Council each passed resolutions in spring 2010 in support of OpenSIUC and asking faculty to post their research in the repository. The response has been positive. In addition, a recent request from Library Affairs also encouraged faculty to submit their curriculum vitae to the OpenSIUC staff who can then check faculty publication lists to determine which articles are eligible for submission. Nabe said most publishers allow writers to post their journal articles in institutional repositories.

“We did this to make it as easy as possible for faculty to contribute their writings,” Nabe said. “As soon as they indicate their willingness to participate, we can verify publisher policy. If the publisher allowed posting in a repository, we can do the submission for the faculty member. It’s painless for the faculty and the benefits are clear and immediate -- which is what this recent 100,000 download milestone shows!”

For more information about OpenSIUC or to inquire about making a content contribution, contact the staff, which includes Nabe and librarians Julie Arendt and Andrea Imre, at opensiuc@lib.siu.edu.