The global community has enjoyed Scholarship@Western research papers to the tune of five million downloads – a remarkable achievement for the university’s institutional electronic repository.
“Five million downloads is pretty significant, especially in a decade. Its (use) has been exponentially increasing over the last little while,” Tom Adam, Western’s Copyright Librarian, said of Scholarship@Western.
The milestone five-millionth download from the repository was The Effects of Music on Memory for a Word List by Emily Konantz, BA’13, a Huron University College graduate. Initially published in 2012 in Huron’s Journal of Learning and Motivation, the paper was uploaded in 2014. Since then, it has been downloaded more than 22,000 times.
The repository administered through Western Libraries showcases, archives and preserves the intellectual output of Western’s research and scholarship, including electronic theses and dissertations. Its success is great news for Western researchers who are able, at no cost to them, to share their work with the world through Scholarship@Western, Adam said.
As impressive as the number of downloads is the global breadth of interest and exposure for the university’s researchers. Indexed by Google, the site receives hits and downloads from scores of countries across the world.
“By putting your research into Scholarship@Western, it is discoverable through Google and the hit rate is good – 90 per cent. You go directly to the article and it’s open, available 24/7, 365 days of the year, worldwide through just a web search.”
Beyond having an affiliation with Western, researchers have no restrictions on uploading a file. Uploading also satisfies conditions in the Canadian Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, which requires grant-funded research be shared on an open-access site.
Most universities have an institutional repository but Western was an early adapter. Adam said the intent now is to grow the repository to represent 10 to 20 per cent of Western’s intellectual output.
Recently Western Libraries expanded the scope of the repository to include material in multiple formats, a highlight of which is a selection of London Historical Maps from 1800 – 1900.
This recent addition has opened “a whole different way for people to see things, other than just on our library website,” said Cheryl Woods, a Map Librarian at D.B. Weldon Library.
The high-resolution map images, free for public use, are a fascinating glimpse into London’s past, she explained. They are being accessed by scholars at Ontario postsecondary institutions, boards of education, and local businesses. It has had hits and downloads from North America, Europe, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific.
“It’s nice to see it’s not just academics, but people that are just interested. It’s hitting a lot of different people for a variety of different reasons,” she said.