Three Liberal Arts Departments using IUPUI ScholarWorks: Why Open Access?

Note: To mark OA Week 2017, we have invited Kacie Hardin, a graduate student in our Department of Library and Information Science, to share a recent analysis of benefits of the institutional repository to faculty authors. [J.O.]

IUPUI ScholarWorks is an institutional repository that shares thousands of articles, posters, reports, theses, educational materials, and historical documents that the members of Indianapolis University – Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) submit. ScholarWorks makes it easier for the School of Liberal Arts to share research online. Of the many departments in the School of Liberal Arts collections (, this analysis focusses on three: Political Science (, Sociology (, and Anthropology ( Each participates in ScholarWorks and sees the many benefits of open access. These benefits can include quicker research dissemination to a worldwide audience, providing free access to scholarly works, showcasing students' works, and so much more.

IUPUI ScholarWorks infographic for School of Liberal ArtsWeb statistics for the IUPUI ScholarWorks site show that all time downloads from the three departments (Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology) is in the thousands. Political Science has 2,757 downloads so far, Sociology has 4,827 downloads, and Anthropology has 1,686 downloads. ScholarWorks also tracks downloads for each department per month; last month (8/17 - /9/17) Political Science received 66, Sociology received 51, and Anthropology has received 55 downloads. These download counts reflect the findings of a Wellcome Trust report: open access articles had 89% more downloads than articles published in pay-walled publications (2013). The increased downloads that departments in the School of Liberal Arts receive from the institutional repository may result in more citations than if the works were only accessed from subscription sources.

Open access to these articles provides for greater knowledge to a wider audience and should be attractive to authors, but research has also shown that open access results in citation increases. For example, Eyensbach found that "OA articles compared to non-OA articles remained twice as likely to be cited in the first 4-10 months after publication, with the odds ratio increasing to 2.9 ten to sixteen months after publication" (Eyensbach 2006, 0692).  Similarly, a study using Google, found that citations of OA articles were much higher than those of non-OA articles. Lee concluded that "citation counts of OA articles were 51% to 91% higher than those of non-OA articles" (Lee 2015). Likewise, Atchison found "that OA is beneficial to Political Scientists; when researchers find the full-text version of a high-quality article without being prompted for payment, they are more likely to use it in their own research" (2015, 128). Those who do not have to pay for research will find it easier to download and use these pieces of work than works that are not free. This increase in citation and use provides authors with greater exposure for their work. That’s a powerful incentive for participating in the institutional repository.

Chan observes that open access “is no longer a marginal, scholar-driven initiative, but a mainstream movement that is receiving worldwide attention from researchers, institutional leaders, policymakers, and funding bodies, as well as commercial publishers” (Chan 2004, 280).  This worldwide growth is due to the many benefits of open access, many of which are demonstrated by usage statistics from the School of Liberal Arts departments.  Members of the School of Liberal Arts and the entire campus of IUPUI should participate in ScholarWorks to increase the visibility of their work.  As stated, open access helps to produce more downloads and citations, speeds dissemination, and creates a potential worldwide audience for your work.  The School of Liberal Arts and its departments of Political Science, Anthropology, and Sociology are already benefiting from ScholarWorks and as a member of IUPUI, you should as well.

Works Cited

Atchison, A., & Bull, J. (2015). Will Open Access Get Me Cited? An Analysis of the Efficacy of Open Access Publishing in Political Science. PS: Political Science 48(1): 129-137.

Chan, Leslie. Supporting and Enhancing Scholarship in the Digital Age: The Role of Open-Access Institutional Repositories. Canadian Journal of Communication, 29(2004): 277-300.

Eyensbach, Gunther. Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles. (2004). PLoS Biology, 4(5): 0692-0698.

Lee, J., Burnett, G.., Vandergrift, M., Hoon Baeg, J., & Morris, R. (2015). Availability and accessibility in an open access institutional repository: a case study. Information Research, 20(1): 334-349. Retrieved from

Wellcome Trust. (2013). Wellcome Trust submission to House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Open Access.  Retrieved from


Kacie Hardin, graduate student
Department of Library and Information Science
IU School of Informatics and Computing

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Scholarly Communication
Updated Oct 26, 2017 by Scholarly Communications Librarian