PHILADELPHIA, PA ScholarlyCommons (repository.upenn.edu), an online, open-access collection of the scholarship produced by University of Pennsylvania students and faculty, has just celebrated its ten-year anniversary. The repository was created by the Penn Libraries in response to the desire expressed by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to showcase its academic output. With over seven million downloads in its first decade, ScholarlyCommons has far exceeded its initial role and has been welcomed with open arms by the international research community.
“ScholarlyCommons filled a void and made Penn scholarship—in all disciplines and particularly research not formally published in journals—easier to disseminate online,” said Shawn Martin, Scholarly Communication Librarian and a coordinator of ScholarlyCommons. “It helped transform the landscape of readily available information for those at Penn and also for the international online community as a whole.”
Over the past ten years, the reach of ScholarlyCommons has spread, and it has become a service for all of Penn’s twelve schools. Now, with over 14,000 items and nearly 2 million downloads of ScholarlyCommons content in the last year alone, the Penn Libraries plans to continue developing and expanding the platform’s capabilities and add new features, including the ability to publish raw research data, images, and online teaching materials.
“I was one of the ‘early adopters’ among faculty as the idea of the ScholarlyCommons took shape, and was very pleased to participate in this initiative. By now there are also other methods of disseminating knowledge on the Internet, but there is unique value in a service that bundles research by institution, as Penn’s ScholarlyCommons has done,” said Ralph Rosen, Vartan Gregorian Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Classical Studies.
The Penn Libraries is also developing a full suite of services to aid researchers as a complement to ScholarlyCommons. Soon, faculty at all of Penn’s schools will be able to create a complete profile of their research, teaching, and professional activities through Expertise@Penn and they will be able to create websites that publicize their scholarship with PennVIVO.
“Expertise@Penn and PennVIVO exemplify how the Penn Libraries are helping faculty navigate an increasingly complex and cross-institutional research landscape. These services are wonderful tools for investigators, both inside and outside of the Penn community, who wish to forge collaborations,” said Garret FitzGerald, McNeil Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and Associate Dean for Translational Research.
ScholarlyCommons’ depth of content and open nature has helped open up global channels of communication between researchers at Penn and elsewhere. The first ten years of ScholarlyCommons’ existence has helped advance Penn’s research profile locally and globally. Scholarship in the digital age continues to evolve, and Penn Libraries remains committed to providing cutting edge services that support the needs of a research-intensive university.