Seton Hall University (SHU) serves diverse stakeholders across its three New Jersey campuses by publishing a wide array of academic materials in its institutional repository (IR). From student-led journals, to theses (which currently have 1,467,560 downloads across 192 countries), to campus-wide events such as the Petersheim Academic Exposition, the eRepository @ Seton Hall University seeks to meet faculty and student publishing needs.
We are excited that the number of downloads from the IR is fast approaching 3 million. According to Sebastian Derry, Assistant Dean for Public Services at Seton Hall University Libraries, the eRepository reflects the library’s mission by providing access to theses and dissertations as well as supporting faculty’s interdisciplinary approach to research. Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) are the most frequently downloaded documents from the repository, with 216,000 downloads from 30,877 institutions in 226 countries. SHU’s press release about reaching the milestone of 2 million downloads in 2017 underlined Derry’s point: “This is significant for the fact that the eRepository allows the University’s research to become a viable worldwide resource.”
Our institution-led publishing program, managed by the SHU Libraries, includes a journal publishing program for the law school and the wider university. In fall 2018, Locus, a new undergraduate research journal created to feature excellent examples of undergraduate scholarship, was launched by the College of Arts & Sciences. The journal has since been viewed by 52 institutions in 43 countries. This is terrific exposure for students who want to build a digital portfolio, and it gives the editors valuable metrics to better understand their readership. Faculty advisor Nathan Kahl, PhD, Associate Professor of Mathematics, was delighted with the process and has become a fan of the institution-led publishing platform.
SHU is a private Roman Catholic University, and the repository also ties into the Catholic mission, which focuses on community service and servant leadership. The open nature of the repository is a great service to the campus, local, and global communities. SHU believes that getting involved in the community teaches lessons that can’t be taught in any classroom. The use of the repository, whether for a student-run journal or a campus-wide event such as the Petersheim Exposition, allows SHU to share scholarship and campus resources. SHU’s commitment to the study of theology is also important. In additional to departmental collections, religion-focused journals include Arcadia: A Student Journal for Faith and Culture and Vocations – A Publication of the Center for Vocation & Servant Leadership. The Catholic Advocate, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Newark from 1951 to 1987, is currently being uploaded into the repository’s digital collections to preserve our institutional history.
Open access journals
Open access journals are available to student organizations, academic and campus centers and administrative departments. We have had great success with Political Analysis, a student-run journal which added an online presence to its printed issues in 2016 and has over 15,000 downloads globally. The editors and authors find the dashboard metrics very helpful to determine the global reach of student scholarship.
For more information about creating online journals, see Starting, Publishing, and Sustaining an Online Journal: Beginner’s Workshop which was presented at the Digital Commons Conference at The College at Brockport in 2016. This presentation can help other institutions create a framework to launch open access journals.
Open educational resources
To promote sharing among faculty, we created an Open Educational Resources collection on the repository to highlight projects from our Digital Humanities Committee, which sponsors multiple faculty programs per year. We have also added faculty assignments that utilized PolicyMap, a GIS Lite mapping tool, from disciplines including anthropology, political science and health care administration. Many of the faculty from these different departments had not met prior to the PolicyMap rollout. Now, because of eRepository, they can track each other’s mapping assignments in their classes. PolicyMap continues to be a thread between departments to improve digital literacy among students and faculty communication through the IR.
The eRepository partners with diverse stakeholders to support faculty and student needs. The next planned project is a syllabi repository for the School of Diplomacy and International Relations that will reduce paper storage and allow virtual sharing of syllabi. We are also excited to be taking in programs from the History Department’s symposia and more academic materials from across our campuses. We will continue to work with the Office of Research and Grant Services (OGRS) to promote scholarship output and results for Seton Hall faculty, administrative departments and students. Regular distribution of IR statistics are sent to university deans in an annual report. These reports showcase the excellent global maps that are created by the Digital Commons dashboard.