Higher Education and Technology

College passes 2M global downloads of scholarly papers

October 23, 2015
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GVSU ScholarWorks@GVSU
Black circles on a world map indicate in real-time the cities where people are reading online-based papers from ScholarWork@GVSU. Courtesy GVSU

An open digital platform showcasing the scholarly work of a university’s faculty, students and staff has gained the attention of readers from all over the world.

Grand Valley State University said this week that ScholarWorks@GVSU by the school's University Libraries reached a milestone when it surpassed having more than two-million downloads by researchers and scholars from across the globe.


Matt Ruen, scholarly communications outreach coordinator for University Libraries, said reaching the number of downloads presents an opportunity to celebrate the global reach of GVSU’s scholarship.

“The most impressive aspect of this milestone is its speed,” Ruen said. “University Libraries established ScholarWorks in 2008, and it took about five years to reach our first million downloads. That number doubled in less than two years.”

ScholarWorks@GVSU also has nearly 820,000 full-text downloads in the past year.

Open repository

The ScholarWorks@GVSU repository has more than 9,600 documents to date, representing scholarly work in nearly 330 disciplines.

The collection maintains and showcases scholarly work created by the GVSU community.

Ruen said as an alternative model, the open-access publishing makes research available to the world, so everyone can benefit from the work.

“We create and share knowledge, ideas and culture, because we believe it makes the world a better, richer place and because we know others will build on that scholarship to achieve things we can’t imagine,” Ruen said. “Much of the world’s scholarship is locked behind paywalls, available only to those who can afford the cost of subscriptions.”

The work

The ScholarWorks@GVSU collection ranges from topics such as big data and occupational therapy graduate research to peer-reviewed articles on motion science and publications on philanthropy.

Several pieces stand out as the most popular in the collection: “Online Readings in Psychology and Culture,” with 500,000 downloads; “GVSU Masters Theses,” with nearly 200,000 downloads; and “The Language Arts Journal of Michigan,” with about 350,000 downloads. 

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