Scholars Archive gives global access to OSU research

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series on open access in scholarly communications

Harvard University may have the cachet, but OSU has the cache—a digital archive for scholarly writings. Last year when Harvard passed a faculty mandate to deposit their articles in the university’s archive, there was just one problem: the archive hadn’t yet been created.

ScholarsArchive@OSU, launched in early 2005, is ranked among the top nationally and internationally by Web-o-Metrics on several indicators: total items deposited (more than 10,000), articles indexed by GoogleScholar, and Web links to archived articles. Only a handful of universities, including MIT (which designed the repository software), University of Michigan and University of Oregon, outrank Oregon State.

More than 2,500 visitors go to ScholarsArchive daily.

“We get a surprising number from the third world—India, Africa, places where they’re unable to access research if it’s only available through journals,” reports Michael Boock, head of technical services for the Valley Library.

The largest collections within the archive are in natural resources. Other hefty subject areas are oceanic and atmospheric sciences, agricultural research and forestry. To date, the most downloaded item during one six-month period was Ecology Effects of Wave Energy in the Pacific Northwest. Other popular titles include Harvesting and Marketing Edible Wild Plants, Applied Aerodynamics of Wind Power Machines, and Intertidal Invertebrates from Central California to Oregon.

Also in the archive are master’s theses and Ph.D. dissertations written by OSU students. “Many of the theses and dissertations have been downloaded more than 500 times,” Boock says. “The print versions rarely circulate, so ScholarsArchive is giving these papers broader exposure than ever before.”

The library has shared some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for those new to the Scholar’s Archive, which we’ve provided below. For more information, go to

What is a collection in Scholars Archive?

Collections belong to a community. Items are stored in collections. They cannot be stored in communities. Collections are ordinarily based on the type of material being collected: e.g. Research Publications; Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research Papers; Presentations; Conference Papers.

Who can submit an item to ScholarsArchive?

OSU faculty, staff and students may deposit items once they are affiliated with a collection in ScholarsArchive. Contact Michael Boock for assistance if you wish to deposit scholarly material.

What can be submitted to ScholarsArchive?

1. The work must be produced, submitted or sponsored by OSU faculty. Examples include published research, conference papers, technical reports, working papers, white papers, classroom resources, theses, dissertations, journals, newsletters, creative works, and other scholarly material.
2. The work must be in digital form. OSU Libraries can digitize print materials for inclusion. Contact Sue Kunda if you are interested in the Libraries’ digitization services.
3. The author/sponsor of each work must be willing and able to grant to Oregon State University the non-exclusive right to preserve and distribute the work.

Can Authors Legally Deposit Scholarly Articles in ScholarsArchive@OSU?

If scholars retain the copyright to their articles, they can deposit any version of them wherever they wish. However, most scholars transfer their article rights to a journal publisher as part of the publication process and, consequently, it is the publisher’s policies that govern deposit. For example, a publisher may permit deposit of a preprint to ScholarsArchive@OSU, but not the final published article file. Many publisher policies are available from a Publisher Policies and Self-Archiving web site. If you have any trouble finding out what you can and can’t deposit, contact your research librarian.

The History of ScholarsArchive:

The OSU Libraries implemented this digital repository service upon the recommendation of a 2004 Task Force report. We use it as one tool in our suite of services that comprise the OSU Digital Libraries. ScholarsArchive@OSU is a permanent repository for the university’s digital research and educational output.

~ Lee Sherman

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