Part of Open Access involves building structural equity in OA venues. To this end, the Libraries have created The Collective, an initiative to uplift BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) faculty and staff at UofL by highlighting their research and providing open-access to BIPOC-produced scholarship on ThinkIR, the University’s digital institutional repository.
Hosted and managed by the University Libraries, ThinkIR promotes genuine open access and sustainable scholarship by making the work of UofL researchers freely available to a global audience without requiring costly and unsustainable access to journal subscriptions. “The Collective” was initiated in response to research showing that faculty who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color are underrepresented and marginalized in academia. According to the Higher Education Research Institute’s 2016-2017 faculty survey, there were large gaps between white and BIPOC scholars feeling a need to work harder to be perceived as a legitimate scholar. “Substantially more Black (72.2%), Asian (70.7%), Latino/a (70.6%), and Native American (66.7%) faculty perceived a need to work harder than their peers to gain legitimacy compared to just 46.8% of White faculty who felt similarly.”
By featuring a BIPOC scholars research collection in our institutional repository, we hope to encourage scholars of all disciplines to intentionally seek out the research and scholarship of their colleagues of color.
Helpful Links and Resources
International Open Access Week (IOAW), held this year from October 25-21, advocates for the right to use and access knowledge freely and without subscription and copyright limitations. Every year, IOAW attempts to raise awareness of the potential disparities that arise when some scholarship is made more exclusive and less accessible to the public.
The theme for this year’s IOAW is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” This theme was created to align with the recently released UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science:
Open Science should embrace a diversity of knowledge, practices, workflows, languages, research outputs and research topics that support the needs and epistemic pluralism of the scientific community as a whole, diverse research communities and scholars, as well as the wider public and knowledge holders beyond the traditional scientific community, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and social actors from different countries and regions, as appropriate. (UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, Page 7)
Often large publishers force academics to sign contracts limiting publication of their work to a single journal, and then charge high subscription fees for access to the work. This creates a disparity in who can access the knowledge.
ThinkIR, UofL’s Digital Institutional Repository, offers an online venue for sharing the work of our researchers, making it free, open, and accessible to a wide audience. There are no paywalls, no copyright contracts. ThinkIR is managed and hosted by the University Libraries.
Helpful Links and Resources
ThinkIR, University of Louisville’s institutional repository, will host a new peer-reviewed journal launched by a student group to highlight undergraduate research and scholarship across all disciplines, from astrophysics to art history
The journal, The Cardinal Edge, will publish its first annual issue in the spring of 2021. Jahnavi Sunkara, a joint chief editor, said the goal is to help UofL undergraduates share their work.
“The point of research is to communicate it,” said Sunkara, a junior biology major and Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) student. “We wanted to create an opportunity for undergraduate students at UofL to do that, because they’re doing some really amazing research in lots of different fields.”
The Cardinal Edge editorial team worked with UofL Libraries to develop an open-access portal on ThinkIR, the university’s institutional research database, where students can submit their work and read the journal. The University Libraries hosts and manages ThinkIR. The first issue will be completely digital — and free — but the team plans to print physical copies of future issues.
Students can submit their full-length manuscripts, abstracts and brief reports through December for the spring issue. The journal also will focus on the research culture at UofL with spotlight articles on student researchers and current topics in research, such as diversity and COVID-19’s impact.
Currently, only UofL students can submit articles to the journal, but there is a possibility that the team may accept work from other universities in the future. Submitted papers will be evaluated by faculty and students through a single-blind peer review, in which the identities of reviewers are kept hidden.
“It was important to us to have students involved in every single aspect of the process,” said Betty Ngo, a sophomore psychology major, Grawemeyer Scholar and joint chief editor. “It’s a research journal by students, for students. Students are our authors, reviewers, staffers and readers.”
Priyadarshini Chandrashekhar, a junior biology major, Vogt Scholar and a joint chief editor, said the goal is to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to share ideas and gain experience, whether conducting research, publishing their findings or working on an editorial board.
Aside from faculty advisers Mark Running, Ph.D., and Shira Rabin, Ph.D., of the Department of Biology, and their journal sponsor, Charlie Leonard, Ph.D., executive director of the UofL Grawemeyer Awards, every member of the 14-person editorial staff is an undergraduate student.
“They’re all students,” Chandrashekhar said. “And they can participate in everything — design, review, outreach. It’s a great experience.”
For Ngo’s part, working for and publishing in The Cardinal Edge could show graduate school admissions reviewers that she has research experience and is familiar with the publication process. Chandrashekhar and Sunkara have their eyes on medical school.
“This will help me later in my career,” Sunkara said. “It’s such a unique experience and I really feel we’re building something special here that can contribute to the long-term growth of UofL’s research culture.”
Exploring digital content from the University of Louisville just got easier. The new portal provides an easy way to access faculty scholarship, theses and dissertations, UofL and student-produced publications, as well as archival photographs and newspapers, digitized interviews, and more.
The portal includes search boxes that make it simple to dive right in and explore. Visit it at https://library.louisville.edu/digital-content.
UofL’s annual Undergraduate Arts & Research Showcase brings together students from a variety of disciplines to make presentations on their research and creative projects; students are selected by faculty to create large-scale academic posters, defend their work, answer challenging questions and criticism, and in the process connect with a community of scholars.
However, with this year’s event disrupted by COVID-19, organizers had to decide whether to host a virtual event, and if so, how and where. Could they make a virtual event as meaningful to students?
The answer is largely yes, said Linda Fuselier, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Associate Professor of Biology. Not only was this year’s event well-attended and well-reviewed, the process of judging was smoother, creating posters was vastly less expensive, and because it was hosted by the University’s institutional repository ThinkIR, the students’ scholarship will be preserved on a free and open access site, said Fuselier.
Research projects included a study of the Belknap Campus’ heat island effect, an analysis of an opioid alternative and its potential abuse, and research on the influence of Social Appearance Anxiety on Eating Disorders (EDs) across age groups.
“One of the nice things about using ThinkIR is the visibility that the student work will receive, since it is searchable and publically available. ThinkIR is what made this possible. Also, because these are archived in ThinkIR, we have a ready source of documentation and a way to ‘count’ research that we did not have before,” Fuselier said in an email exchange.
Sponsored and managed by the University Libraries, ThinkIR is an open-access platform for the scholarship and research of the UofL academic community.
“I’ve been promoting ThinkIR for these sorts of events in the future and I can see how ThinkIR and the library could be instrumental in promoting student research at UL (this is in the strategic plan!),” Fuselier said.
While students attending the April 15 event remotely didn’t have a chance to defend their work orally and participate in a question and answer session with faculty, Fuselier said there were “advantages to moving to a virtual setting. It is less expensive for both the event planners and the students. Students do not have to print posters but they still have the experience of making professional posters.”
Whereas before, judging took place within a short timeframe while students were present, this year, judges could review posters “at their leisure rather than having authors and judges be in the same place at the same time.”
“The library was EXCELLENT in being willing to work with us at the last minute, make changes to poster submission, and work with the vendor to create a great platform within ThinkIR to showcase student work.”
“We received lots of positive feedback for getting the event online given all else that was happening. People really liked how the posters and abstracts looked online and that they were easily accessible on ThinkIR without too much searching.”
Unfortunately, technical challenges impeded the planned addition of the annual Celebration of Student Writing to the event this year, said Fuselier. “Using ThinkIR was a two-step process that worked well enough but, we definitely have a few things to improve upon,” she said.
When asked whether the event would move to a virtual format permanently, Fuselier said “Good question. It went well enough that it is certainly a possibility.”
The winners of the UAR Showcase are below:
Humanities/Music – Elaine Slusser
Diversity in Music Therapy: A Treatment Model for LBGTQ+ Affirming Care
Social Sciences – Rebekah Cook & Alexandra DuCloux
That’s IrrELEPHANT: Children’s Judgements of Relevant and Irrelevant Animal Observations
Natural Sciences – Madeleine Shelton
Conspecifics and Familiar Odors Alter Movement Patterns in a Land Snail, Cepaea Hortensis
UofL scholarship is having an impact on the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic. Two studies on the novel coronavirus COVID19 have been downloaded hundreds of times from UofL’s institutional repository, ThinkIR. Community-Acquired Pneumonia due to Endemic Human Coronaviruses compared to 2019 Novel Coronavirus: A Review and Endemic Human Coronaviruses in Hospitalized Adults with Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Results from the Louisville Pneumonia Study are posted in the Journal of Respiratory Infections, an open access journal hosted by ThinkIR. Because the journal is open access and has no paywall, anyone may access this information from anywhere across the globe with an internet link.
ThinkIR is an open-access digital repository that provides worldwide access to the scholarship of the University of Louisville community. Through ThinkIR, faculty and graduates can highlight their scholarship, accomplishments, and successes as researchers for a global audience, increasing their visibility and making new connections. As a core commitment of University Libraries, ThinkIR also preserves that scholarship for future researchers. ThinkIR currently includes student dissertations, theses, faculty publications, and freestanding open access journals produced at or hosted by the University of Louisville.
In addition to this research, Kornhauser Health Sciences Library has created a Library Guide on the Novel Coronavirus that offers a variety of information related to COVID19, including curated scholarship, links to national, local and regional resources, tips and other sources of information: https://library.louisville.edu/kornhauser/covid19.
UofL’s Institutional Repository, ThinkIR – a digital platform which hosts and offers open access to scholarship of UofL’s faculty, researchers and students – has passed the one-million mark for downloaded scholarship. As of March 12, some 5,136 research papers, thesis and dissertations have been downloaded by a worldwide audience.
Since launching in 2015, ThinkIR has become a major open-access source for scholarship from UofL faculty and graduates, averaging more than 1,000 downloads per day, reaching world-wide audiences, and increasing UofL scholars’ visibility.
“This milestone represents the 1 million people who have been able to access scholarship at UofL from all over the world, for free,” said Bob Fox, dean of the University Libraries, which sponsored and funded the creation of the institutional repository.
“You can see by looking at the world map on the site where all the scholarship is being downloaded,” said Sarah Frankel, Open Access and Repository Coordinator for the University Libraries. “The dots on the map represent real-time downloads, so we know who is interested in our scholars’ research.
“The scholarship is much more discoverable through Google searches if it is hosted on ThinkIR; the search engine optimization ensures that items appear near the top of search results,” Frankel continued.
Formerly a Technical Services staff member, Frankel as OAR coordinator assists faculty in depositing their scholarship into ThinkIR and oversees the approval and publishing of graduate and undergraduate student self-submitted theses and dissertations. She creates profiles for each faculty scholar, helping them post biographical information and navigating copyright restrictions relating to their scholarship.
The repository’s name evokes the Rodin statue that graces the front steps of Grawemeyer Hall.
Currently, the top downloaded work is a 2012 Master’s Thesis from the Department of Pan African Studies: “The hidden help : black domestic workers in the civil rights movement” by Trena Easley Armstrong, followed closely by another Master’s Thesis from 2012, from the Sociology Department: “An analysis of Hindi women-centric films in India” by Srijita Sarkar – both titles have been downloaded more than 11,000 times since February 12, 2015!
In addition to providing access to UofL scholarship, ThinkIR also hosts peer-reviewed open-access journals. These journals are managed by UofL faculty and staff with support from Libraries staff. While most peer-reviewed academic journals are subscription-based, requiring high fees from hosting institutions, these journals are free and open to the public.