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SIUE to save money by ‘taking back’ research

From Illinois Business Journal news services

EDWARDSVILLE – The implementation of a publishing platform at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is allowing the university to preserve and provide access to more of its faculty’s research.

The initiative will also aid in reducing the ongoing million-dollar expense of gaining access to research that’s been conducted at SIUE, but published by an outside company, officials say.

SPARK, Scholarly Publications and Repository of Knowledge, is an institutional repository that provides a central location to gather the research, creative activity and other work that comes out of the university and the community. The open access, publishing platform complies with the State of Illinois Open Access to Research Articles Act, signed into law in August 2013.

“This is an extremely rich resource for the university and for scholars,” said Regina McBride, dean of Library and Information Services at SIUE. “We are dedicated to taking back and maintaining our authors, our researchers, to have more authority and access and to keep more of their copyrighted rights to their own work.

“This will also be a cost-savings for the institution, which is ultimately our students.”

The central gathering place will store everything from image galleries and research papers to conference proceedings, journals and magazines. The educational research will be free and open access, so anyone around the world can view it.

“There’s no master’s level institution in this country that has the mix of professional schools that we have,” said McBride. “We are unique. This will enhance the visibility of the University and its stature within these research areas.”

“This is a concerted effort. Thousands of institutions across the world are doing this as well,” added Steven Pryor, director of digital initiatives and technologies at SIUE. “It is search engine optimized for Google Scholar and similar applications.”

The introduction of SPARK will not require SIUE faculty to only publish within the university’s publishing platform. McBride says LIS will also work with faculty to help negotiate favorable license agreements.

“We are not saying, and the law does not say, you must publish here, or you cannot publish there,” explained McBride. “But you must be proactive in seeking to either publish in an open source publication, or seek favorable licensing from traditional publishers to release a version of your research to our repository, which is open access.”

According to McBride, the launch of the institutional repository is an adaptation to the digital environment in which we now live and work.

“If it’s in open access, your research is cited more and scholarship moves much more quickly,” said McBride. “Your next cure for something may be sitting out there, locked up by a major publisher, and that slows down scholarship, creativity and innovation.

“Currently, we pay for the research to be done, and then we have to pay to gain access to it. We cannot have the information we produce be held hostage.”

Workshops are being held throughout the spring semester to help SIUE faculty better understand SPARK and the Open Access policy and procedure approved by the board of trustees.

For more information contact or call (618) 650-2712.

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