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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Scholars Commons @ Laurier provides public access to Laurier's academic work
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Wilfrid Laurier University has launched Scholars Commons @ Laurier – a digital repository of academic work that serves as both a research tool and a showcase for faculty and graduate students.
Scholars Commons provides free, public access to the intellectual, creative and academic work of the Laurier community, including graduate theses and dissertations, conference and symposium materials and online journals.
“Digital repositories are designed to supplement, not replace, academic journals,” said Deborah MacLatchy, vice-president: academic. “By becoming part of Scholars Commons, faculty and graduate students’ academic work can become publicly available, which not only makes knowledge more accessible for students and community members conducting research, but also increases exposure for Laurier scholars and their research efforts.”
Launched in September, Scholars Commons is a third-party hosted site, maintained by the Wilfrid Laurier University Library and WLU Press. The project received Strategic Investment Funding, and has ties to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Office of Research, and the Office of the Vice-President Academic.
Digital repositories are used by a large number of universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. In Ontario alone, McMaster University, Ryerson University and the University of Western Ontario all have digital repositories hosted by the Berkeley Electronic Press, the electronic publishing firm chosen for the Scholars Commons initiative.
“Scholars Commons already contains over 1,200 existing documents from the Library’s archives, and we are working to make the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies’ academic journal available electronically,” said Caitlin Bakker, digital content projects coordinator. “We will begin to request research from faculty members in November, which we expect to upload beginning in December.”
Faculty members interested in submitting research before November are welcome to contact Bakker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coinciding with Laurier’s centennial year, Scholars Commons will also feature archival issues of The Cord on the site, dating back to 1926.
“Scholars Commons serves as a public gallery of Laurier’s academic work,” says Bakker. “Current and future researchers can now preserve, share and promote their work worldwide for years to come.”
Authors will receive monthly download reports and a permanent URL for each of their items featured in the repository, which can be included on CVs and blogs. Scholars Commons will also be fully searchable through search engines like Google, and entries can include multimedia and supplemental data files.
Beyond the benefits of promoting research through digital repositories, a growing number of funding agencies are adopting policies that require that research be publicly accessible.
All graduate students in the departments of Biology and Chemistry must now submit their theses through Scholars Commons @ Laurier, with other departments and faculties expected to follow in the future.
Ultimately, the electronic submission process will be less time consuming and less expensive for students and administrators than the current paper process which requires students to pay for four bound printed copies of their theses or dissertation.
Laurier’s library will work closely with researchers and academic journals regarding copyright agreements. Authors retain all rights to their work, which means that no transfer of copyright will occur by depositing research in Scholars Commons.
For more information about the project, please contact Caitlin Bakker at email@example.com or visit http://scholars.wlu.ca.