Friday, December 14, 2012

Open Access at Penn State: Scholarsphere

 (Pix from

I was pleased to note that Penn State has been moving to embrace open access. 
"ScholarSphere is a secure repository service enabling the Penn State community to share its research and scholarly work with a worldwide audience. Faculty, staff, and students can use ScholarSphere to collect their work in one location and create a durable and citeable record of their papers, presentations, publications, data sets, or other scholarly creations. Through this service, Penn State researchers can also comply with grant-funding-agency requirements for sharing and managing research data. " (Penn State, What is Scholarsphere))
Set our below is a draft of an Informational Report recently repared by our Penn State University Facult Senate Committee on Libraries, Information Systems and Technology discussing Penn State's Scholarsphere. Please cionsider sending comments and suggestions.  In any case I  hope our community takes advantage of the opportunity and provides the sort of feedback necessary to make it better.



“ScholarSphere will allow users to securely collect, preserve, and share scholarly works such as research data sets, working papers, reports, posters, and video and image collections with the Penn State community and the world.” (Taken from ScholarSphere Web Site:
On September 24, 2012, University Libraries and ITS Digital Library Technologies launched the ScholarSphere repository, which enables research sharing and discovery.  The new service is open to faculty, staff, students, librarians, and researchers who have a Penn State Access account.
At the October 16, 2012 Senate Committee on Research meeting, Patricia Hswe digital collections curator at Penn State University Libraries, Dan Coughlin,  lead developer of ScholarSphere,  Mike Giarlo, digital library architect and Linda Friend, head, Scholarly Publishing Services of University Libraries were present.  Patricia Hswe, digital content strategist and head, ScholarSphere User Services, at Penn State University Libraries, made a presentation.  She said, “ScholarSphere will create a community for accessing and discovering content across a wide array of academic disciplines and digital file types.”   Hswe noted that ScholarSphere is part of a third or fourth generation of repository services that is built on the Hydra framework:  flexible, open-source community development.    Other institutions that are partners in the Hydra Project include Stanford, University of Virginia, University of Hull, Indiana, Notre Dame, Columbia, Northwestern, and DuraSpace.
Hswe noted that ScholarSphere is a trusted institutional service, the repository application will ensure safe, long-term storage for content, enable data to be linked to journal publications, create a citable durable record of an individual’s scholarship, track versions of deposited content, and provide flexible access controls to content, enabling researchers to openly share or restrict access to certain users.  Anyone can search and browse content in ScholarSphere. “Penn State is a student-centered institution and this repository also stores student work that will allow future employers to access and cite student work,” said Hswe, She also stated that the work deposited can be found by major Internet search engines.
The presentation at the SCoR committee also included a demonstration of the service by Dan Coughlin.  He showed his recent deposits to the repository and demonstrated the search feature of the Web-based tool.  He noted the log-in feature, the feature that allows data to be posted to social network sites and privacy settings.  He demonstrated the download feature, how to search your dashboard and other abilities of the system.
Information sessions and demonstrations have taken place throughout September, 2012 and are ongoing at campuses and at departments.  The Libraries and ITS are also responsive to requests from researchers to get their content into the service, particularly if they have special data needs, such as large data sets that cannot be transferred via the Web.   Researchers or any unit interested in a demonstration or assistance are asked to complete the contact form (URL listed below).
 Overview of the features of SholarSphere:
      Creates a citable, durable record of one’s scholarship - your files are accessible via the Web with stable and short URLs.
      Has flexible access controls for sharing scholarly content - you decide how and with whom you wish to make available your research.
      Allows for deposit of any file format.
      Ensures secure, safe, long-term storage.
      Provides deposits adhering to the top two levels of the new data categorization standard at Penn State (AD71,
      Meets requirements for sharing and preserving research data - as mandated by funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment of the Humanities.
      Facilitates collection of “grey literature,” such as technical reports, learning objects, departmental newsletters, symposia and conference proceedings, PowerPoint presentations, etc., all under the PSU domain.
      Integrates CreativeCommons license options - you choose the rights level for your content; whether it can be used for non-commercial, or commercial purposes; and whether derivatives may be created from it. More about Creative Commons licenses:
      Enables data to be linked to journal publications - a common requirement for many science journals.
      Offers export options to a variety of citation management tools for easy sharing of your research.
      Tracks versions of uploaded content (with the option to revert to earlier versions).

The Web Site for ScholarSphere is
The Library and ITS welcome suggestions for new features and other improvements to the service - submit these via the ScholarSphere Contact Form:
 ScoR Members:

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