May 02, 2011

Master's research papers are popular downloads

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In just two months, there have been 1,800 downloads of research papers written by Southern Illinois University Carbondale master's students.

The SIUC Graduate Council adopted a policy in 2010 requiring all master’s students to submit their research papers, written in lieu of a master’s thesis, to OpenSIUC, the University’s online institutional repository, as part of their graduate degree completion obligations. The new policy took effect last fall and the first papers became freely accessible online in February, according to Jonathan Nabe, coordinator for OpenSIUC at Morris Library.

OpenSIUC is essentially an online collection of scholarly materials written by faculty and students at SIUC. The collection is accessible all over the world via an Internet connection. Published and unpublished materials are available, including journal articles, conference papers and proceedings, technical reports, posters, videos, audios, data sets, working papers, theses and dissertations, honors theses, REACH posters, and now, the masters’ research papers.

He said on average, students write about 150 master’s research papers each year and there are currently 37 full text papers online, “vastly increasing their visibility to the outside world.”

“Prior to the new arrangement, the papers came to Morris Library irregularly for cataloging and shelving. Only those who searched the library catalog knew of their existence. Now, because they are all collected and available via OpenSIUC, the major search engines, including Google, all index the papers. The result is an exponential increase in the potential audience. While it may seem that the demand for these papers is small, the usage numbers show otherwise. In just two months, the 37 papers have been downloaded more than 1,800 times,” Nabe said.

The move online is also in keeping with SIUC’s expanding green initiatives. According to Nancy Vorhees, records officer and research papers reviewer in the Graduate School, having online access to the papers reduces paper consumption considerably as it increases access to the research.

You can find the master’s research papers at For more information about OpenSIUC, look online at or email